How to Stop Mindless Eating

Losing weight and maintaining it is so hard as we all know it. We’re getting larger, fatter, and obesity rates are growing, studies show that India has 5.3% of global obese population, and this is set to grow in the coming years.

This growing epidemic is due to the influence of the food industry with its powerful advertising, the availability of cheap ready meals and unhealthy snacks that makes us lazy from shopping for food and cooking for ourselves, thereby forcing ourselves to eat out.

We are always surrounded by opportunities to eat and drink, most of the times we can’t resist a good snack and give in to the temptation, so how do we Stop Mindless Eating?, how to stare at the face of a good snack and still stay strong and keep calm our inner demons?, though I am kidding, this is the real scenario for most of us.

Factors that Influence Mindless Eating

Physical

Coincidentally, most of the triggers for overeating are physical, overstocked fridge, carefully positioned snacks to bait us into buying those junks in supermarkets, All of these trigger the mindless buying and mindless eating, this becomes a repetitive cycle which turns into a habit.

Environment

Environments restrict our activity levels, we have become too sedentary, we depend on technology for transport and stay indoors using computers or watching TV. We avoid stairs and use escalators and lifts, we rely on some medium of transport and walk less. Living in such conditions, it’s easy to gain weight.

Easy Steps to Stop Mindless Eating

Follow a fixed time

Always fix a specific time to eat your meals, and if you follow your own time, then stick to that time table always. If you are an early bird who had never skipped your breakfast, then sudden change in your schedule forcing you to skip breakfast will leave you craving for food. So you will be forcing yourself to eat mindlessly to satiate for time being.

It’s usual to rely on junk foods, when you don’t eat a balanced breakfast. The lack of enough calories from your previous meal will force you to eat snacks between meals. It’s ok to feel hungry, give your body a chance to burn the calories between meals, instead of eating snacks and slowing down the fat burning process.

Do not Buy Unhealthy Foods

Plan ahead and make a shopping list and just stick to the list. Remember that if the snack is not there, then you won’t have the temptation to eat it. Always avoid buying stuffs with fat content of more than 5%. Replace foods high in fat content with healthier alternatives and low in sodium.

If you think it’s not good for health then don’t buy it. Avoid the supermarket aisles filled with soft drinks, sweets, cakes and chocolates. Avoid taking little kids to the supermarket.

Meal or Snack?

Perception plays a huge role in when where and what you eat. Studies have shown that calling a meal a “snack” will result in distracting us on how much we eat, We usually consider snack more like an afterthought, less serious than the usual meal, this results in eating more than sitting down for a real meal.1)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666317310590?via%3Dihub

This happens with our lives getting fast and busy that we tend to label the food we eat on the go to be “Snacks”, and usually people who think they are eating snacks tend to overeat than those who consider it to be a meal.

Always choose a specific place

Research shows that eating on the go(while walking), standing up, watching TV or driving will make you eat more, as you are not mindful of what and how much you are eating, so it won’t make you feel full, and the chances of food not being processed properly. Always pick a specific spot, relax and often eat with others so you will consider it as usual meal.

Eat slowly

Eating mindlessly will result in eating too much, this happens when you are in a hurry, lack of time or focusing on something else instead of concentrating on your meal. Eating slowly helps you in better digestion and greater satisfaction.

Eating too fast will result in taking too many calories even before you realize that you have eaten enough, because it takes around 20 mins for the brain to send out signals of fullness.

Manage your emotions

We tend to eat a lot when we are angry, fed up or stressed, and usually happens if you are surrounded with chances of grabbing a snack easily. First remove the foods that tempt you and find ways to manage your emotions by listening to music, dancing, talking to a friend or activities that will keep you away from food. Research shows that emotional eating is highly related to weight gain2)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1098-108X(198602)5:2%3C295::AID-EAT2260050209%3E3.0.CO;2-T,3)https://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2011/11000/Emotional_Eating,_Rather_Than_Lifestyle_Behavior,.14.aspx

Portion Size makes the difference.

We live in a time where restaurants offer larger portions of food with little extra cost, psychologically tricking us to believe that we get more quantity for the money we spent. Increased serving resulted in the increased level of obesity and it’s constantly rising all around the world. Paired with our sedentary lifestyle, leads to weight gain so fast and easily.

Research shows that people will end up eating, when they are not aware that they have been provided with larger portions than usual. Restaurants often serve large meals, and many don’t even know what a healthy portion size is.4)https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/tip-portion-size.pdf

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References   [ + ]

1.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666317310590?via%3Dihub
2.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1098-108X(198602)5:2%3C295::AID-EAT2260050209%3E3.0.CO;2-T
3.https://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2011/11000/Emotional_Eating,_Rather_Than_Lifestyle_Behavior,.14.aspx
4.https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/tip-portion-size.pdf

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