I recently asked members of my Facebook group what topics they’d like to hear from me on, and this was the top voted one of them, so clearly it’s a big issue that you’d like me cover.
This is going to form the first in a four part series tackling the subject in which i will also cover examples of healthy snacks , how to avoid the 4pm slump plus the triggers that cause us to eat when we’re not actually hungry, (check out my other blog posts for these!)
So how do we avoid snacking?
When it comes to snacking too much, the first question you have to ask yourself is – am i snacking because I am hungry or not? This is a big one; firstly, do you actually stop to work out if you are hungry or not before you put food in your mouth? So many of us have kind of lost this ability to tune into our hunger, and this is actually something that we’re born with. My son’s just turned three, and he knows exactly when he is hungry because he asks for food, and exactly when he is full, you will see this in babies too.
But as adults we’ve over ridden these signals, so start tuning into your hunger signals can be a great place to begin.
Work out are you hungry or not? If you are hungry, great! Snacking isn’t a bad thing, it sees you through between one meal and the next, but it’s worth assessing why you are hungry before you dive into snacking.
Ideally we should go about four to six hours without eating, so if you have breakfast at say 7 o’clock in the morning and your lunch break isn’t until 1, then it’s quite likely you’ll need a snack. But, actually quite often we can get hungry because we haven’t eaten enough food in our last meal, the portion was too small, or actually we’ve eaten the wrong combination of food.
One of the things i work with clients on is actually figuring out which combinations of food keeps them full and gives the enough energy to keep going between meals. So why not try this yourself? Play around with your proteins, your carbs, your fats and your veggie portions, work out what keeps you full the longest.
But, it is more likely the reason this topic was popular is that the nature of the snacking you’re doing isn’t related to hunger. So the question arises, why are you snacking?
It could be several factors
- Are you tired?
- Are you using food to perk you up?
- Are you bored?
- Fed up?
The reasons are, actually it’s actually quite common, especially in women, who use food as a go to when we have had an emotional day. In this series what I will do is another video on triggers and things that aren’t related to hunger, so it can kind of help you to start recognising them.
So why don’t you today, start to recognise when you’re doing this. When you’re emotional eating, are there are any patterns to what you are doing? For example, i realized that when i used to eat chocolate every day when my son was born, it was because i was bored. I had gone from a challenging corporate career to suddenly looking after a tiny baby and my brain wasn’t stimulated so I took to eating chocolate.
What is your emotional reason?
How else can you deal with that emotion?
Is there something else that might suffice that you could do instead? Could you distract yourself somehow? Could you go for a walk? Ring a friend for a chat? Buy yourself some flowers? Often something as simple as drinking a cold glass of water can work.
The last thing to think about is could it be a deeper reason? Often when an area of our life is out of alignment, such as our career isn’t where we want it to be, our relationship might not be what we desire, or our social life might be on hold due to kids, whatever it is for you, often this could be a deeper reason as to why we reach for snacks to console ourselves – to temporarily make ourselves feel better while giving ourselves more guilt in the long term.
There are lots of reasons why we could be snacking, genuine hunger is great, but remember it cold also be,
- hunger between meals because we haven’t eaten enough
- we’ve eaten the wrong kinds of foods,
- emotional eating reasons such as stress or boredom
- or something deeper that is out of alignment in your life,
Start paying attention to what is going on with you. I teach my clients to start becoming aware of their behaviour and what is going on, awareness is the first thing before you can start to change your habits for the better! Check out my other blogs for more in this series, and if you’d like information like this sent directly to your inbox, make sure to sign up to my mailing list, accessible from the homepage of my website.