Mindless eating habits. Admit it, at some point and time we have all dealt with or are in the process of dealing with mindless eating habits. Whether it be, late night snacking, convenience of vending machine junk food temptations, or just mindless nibbling throughout the day, it happens to the best of us. We start the day off with the best intentions and as soon as the first craving comes we are rounding third into junk food mania. These little trips to mania land soon end up messing with our health and fitness goals and suddenly the scale is moving up instead of down. Here are three mindless eating habits to ditch now to get back on track and how to cope with them.
Mindless Eating Habit #1 - The Convenience Snacker:
Ahhh, convenient snacking is an inevitable slippery slope of temptations from vending machine candy bars, chips and crackers, to the office offering of bagels and doughnuts. The convenience and ready availability of these foods and the temptations and cravings they can cause can derail any weight loss journey before it has even had a chance to get going. To combat the convenient snacker trap, it is best to plan ahead to keep temptations at bay, your appetite appeased and your waistline thankful. Try eating fruit or cut up vegetables in place of the processed, fat loaded convenience foods. Make yourself up a batch of homemade trail mix to indulge your sweet tooth once in a while. Hunger cravings can hit at all times of day and what we reach for to appease that appetite has the greatest impact on our success or failures. Sticking with whole unprocessed foods will not only help your overall health but it will also retrain your body in what to crave. It is ok to snack throughout the day in between meals but breaking the convenience snacker habit is a must.
Mindless Eating Habit #2 - Not Staying Hydrated:
Now, you might be asking yourself, what does staying hydrated have to do with mindless eating? The answer is everything! Keeping your body hydrated is one of the best ways to make sure you are actually fueling your body when it needs food. When the body is dehydrated it will start looking for ways to rehydrate. The rehydration signals could come in the form of overwhelming dry mouth, cramps, food cravings, and hunger pains. In many cases we mistake a rehydrate signal for being hungry and start reaching for food instead of good ole water. Staying hydrated throughout the day helps combat mindless eating on many levels. It will not only help keep your appetite in check but will also keep your body running smooth and efficiently. Always keep a glass or bottle of water nearby and when a craving hits, drink up and wait 10 minutes. If the craving dissipates, chances are you were just thirsty. If the hunger cravings continue after rehydrating it might be time to grab a nice healthy snack. Stay hydrated my friends!
Mindless Eating Habit #3 - Portions, Portions, Portions!:
In today's day and age portion sizes have gotten out of control. When you actually properly portion out your food it is pretty easy to see where all the access calories and fat are coming from. Most people don't realise that the snack option might only have 160 calories per serving BUT the package usually includes more than one serving and we usually eat the entire package in one sitting. This can easily double or triple that 160 calories we thought we were eating. When starting out it is a really good habit to weigh and portion all of your food so you can start to easily identify what an actual serving of what you are eating looks like. Eating out is especially tricky since most restaurants servings are double or triple what a real serving is. It is hard to imagine mindless eating coming into play during your dinner time rituals but if you are used to eating more than double what you should be eating it can become a slippery slope. Refueling your body throughout the day is key to not binge eating later. If your body is sending signals that it is "starving", chances are a big binge-fest is about to happen and before you know it, you have polished off your entire plate and a second or third is on its way. Take the time to really enjoy your meals. Eat in a slow and controlled manner. This will allow your body to assimilate your food properly and also give signals from your brain when you are no longer hungry. The average size of a stomach is about the size of a balled up fist. It doesn't take massive amounts of food to fill it.
Mindless eating habits can come in many forms but these three areas are common areas that many people struggle with when trying to lose weight. Remember that losing weight is about 80% diet and about 20% fitness and exercise. Fitness and exercise play a crucial role in any weight loss journey but the biggest impact will come from what you are feeding your body. Feed your body right and it will treat you right and get you to your goals that much quicker. Balancing out food and exercise together will get you there even quicker. Enjoy the journey and start breaking those mindless eating habits and start replacing them with new healthy habits and you will be amazed by the results.