How can I curb my snacking?

The Summer is just around the corner and many of us are trying to think of ways of losing the extra pounds we gained over winter.

doughnuts

The advice is always to move more and reduce our calorie intake.  But how?  Before we look at reducing the calories intake of our meals we should first think about limiting the amount we snack.

It is not really our fault that we snack – it is the way we were designed!

As human beings we did not evolve to face an environment where food is abundant.  The signal from the brain to say we are hungry is not always 100% clear and sometimes we mistake signals from our brain, thinking we are hungry when we are not.

Here are a few techniques which will help to get more in tune with the signals from our brain and what they really mean.

Calm down – Sometimes the signals from our brain make us think we are hungry when really what we need to do is calm down.  We may reach for a snack to get away from the ‘fight and flight’ instinct and replace it with ‘rest and digest.’  this is learned behaviour and often we do this sort of thing because it has worked for us in the past.  Instead of reaching for food when you are felling stressed, try some exercise. or some relaxation.  Once you have calmed your mind through other means, you can then get a clearer picture of whether you are actually hungry or not.

Distract yourself – We have all eaten when we are bored, just as something nice to fill up the time.  Our brain signals something is amiss because it isn’t otherwise occupied, so we reach for a snack.  Instead try some form of distraction and once you are absorbed in the task you will quickly forget about snacking.  Tell yourself ‘ I will do this for 10 minutes and then I will snack if I want too.” The discipline and distraction of a new exercise routine will certainly help you to forget about your cravings for food.

Don’t put temptation in your path! – This one is simple but it works!  When we reach the end of the day and we have used up our willpower we often reach for a snack and if there is an unhealthy convenient snack available, we will take it.  Next time you are in the supermarket just opt not to out the unhealthy snack In your basket.  If it isn’t in the house you can’t reach for it.  Another tip here is to always plan your shopping so that it will be carried out on a full stomach, this makes you far less inclined to add unhealthy snacks to your shop.

You could be thirsty?! – Your brain could be alerting you to the fact that your body needs water.  Drink one or 2 glasses of water before you reach for a snack and you may find that the feeling of fullness from the water will make the craving for a snack go away.