Sunday, 5 April 2020

Are you snacking too much? How can we stop?

Conventional Snacking | Gnome Stew

As many know, I have had lots of issues over weight in the last few years, and am back losing weight at the moment - March was tough, but I am determined.

Snacking is definitely the problem for me - especially at night. In January I cut snacking completely and lost a stone. I know it crept back in March, so I thought I should look into just why I was doing it, and are there some things I can do to stop it.

Why? That's easy. It comes from boredom, it comes from stress, and I also love food. That combination can be a killer. I have used it to comfort me for a while. And I even tell myself off as I am preparing and eating a nibble!!!

So what can I do?  I have scoured online and have come up with a few ideas. Naturally, these only work if you choose to push yourself.


EAT PROPER MEALS

If you want to snack less it is super important that you eat enough. If you don’t eat enough to fill yourself, the cravings for snacks will keep coming. Make sure you eat the fats and carbs your body requires to function properly, but also the protein and sugars too - and the essential nutrients. This is different for everybody. People with a more active lifestyle will require more food than people with a passive lifestyle and a sitting job.

SPREAD YOUR MEALS OVER THE DAY

It is better to have multiple eating moments during the day in which you eat a bit less, than just two or three moments in which you eat a lot. This will help you control your blood sugar and avoid big peaks and lows. The peaks and lows in your blood sugar are the main reason you feel like snacking. It will also keep your metabolism active all day.
Fun fact: eating more smaller portions decreases the chance of getting stomach acid, something I suffer with as I have a hernia (operation after the virus lockdown, yay!!!)

PLAN WHEN YOU EAT

Create a plan for yourself: when do you eat? Prepare your snacks so you have decent portions, and temptations to get more will be smaller. When you have your snacks planned in advance you’re way more likely to eat only that and you have something to look forward to.

DRINK WATER, LOTS OF IT!

Of course you heard it a million times before: drink water. It’s true though, it really works. Often when you think you’re hungry and go looking for a snack, you’re actually just thirsty. Drink a glass of water, wait for 15 minutes and ask yourself if you still want to get that snack. Chances are that your cravings are gone.

REPLACE CANDY FOR FRUIT

Whenever you do crave something sweet and can’t stop yourself, replace your candy by something healthier. Take a few grapes, an apple or a banana. This will get your blood sugar up again. You can also choose something that contains some healthy fats like half an avocado or a handful of nuts.

ASK YOURSELF: AM I ACTUALLY HUNGRY OR JUST BORED?

This is a very valid question. We have a tendency to start snacking when we are not doing anything else. Ask yourself this question and give a honest reply. If you’re just bored: distract yourself.

DISTRACT YOURSELF

Whenever you feel the urge to take a snack, go do something else. Go for a walk, clean your kitchen, start reading a book, anything. But whenever you distract yourself from your cravings, they are most likely to go away.

MEASURE WHAT YOU EAT

It is proven that whenever you keep track of the amount of calories you eat on a day, you eat less. This is mainly because it makes you very conscious of what you eats. It can also be confronting to see how much you’ve already eaten. So keep a diary and write down everything you eat and drink.  And look at portion size.

PUT YOUR SNACKS OUT OF REACH

Whenever your snacks are within reach, you will more easily grab them. Make sure you put yours out of reach. Preferably use something to store your snacks in. Research showed that if you have to open a bag or box to get to your snack, you will less likely go back for it, because it requires a more conscious action. This prevents you from having a ´snaccident´, like eating an entire family-sized bag of crisps in one go (or entire packet of biscuits - we have all done it).

DON’T COMPLETELY DENY YOURSELF ANYTHING

Last but not least: treat yourself every once in a while. If you really love chocolate reward yourself with a little piece every once in a while. This way you have something to look forward to. If you completely deny yourself something, chances are that at some point you will crack and eat the whole chocolate bar. So don’t completely deny yourself anything, but simply limit it.

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