Have you ever found yourself in front of an open fridge and didn’t know how the heck you got there? Ever looked down and saw your hand in a bag of chips and wondered why? Ever had your lunch break roll around and realized you had absolutely no idea what you were going to eat?
These are all perfect – and common – examples of not eating on purpose. It sounds like a basic habit, but it’s rarely a habit that people truly follow. Not paying attention to your eating, or eating for the wrong reasons, can sabotage momentum, leave you confused, and ruin any progress you’ve made on the scale. The really frustrating part is that you may not even know you’re doing it.
Emotional eating is a problem for a lot of people. Mindless eating may actually be worse. In a poll of SparkPeople.com members, 33% said they eat most often when they’re bored. Only 13% eat most often at the more appropriate time: when they’re hungry.
We’re surrounded by eat-for-tainment options, where eating becomes a leisure activity. Weddings, themed restaurants, dinner theaters, ceremonies, receptions, reunions, parties – wherever there’s food, there’s fun. It’s easy to see why aimless eating is so common – it’s something to do.
It’s time to wake up from being a food zombie. Take control of your eating habits. Here are some tactics you can use to adopt this habit:
Stop skipping meals
A regular eating routine keeps you balanced and helps you digest food more efficiently. Plus it helps eliminate the starve-starve-starve-binge cycle many dieters suffer throughout the day.
Eat only when hungry
Not when you’re bored, sad, nervous, angry, upset or stressed. If you’re at a party with an appetizer buffet, socialize on the other side of the room, so you don’t habitually graze while talking. Listen to your body, not your mind or emotions.
Cut back on late night snacking
Prime time for television is also prime time for calorie-heavy comfort foods. Snacking at night is often another example of eating to relax or as something to do.
Plan for snacks
If you’re going to get the munchies – and you will – you might as well make the best of it. Keep raisins, carrot sticks, granola bars, and other healthy snacks within arms’ reach wherever you are.
Have a purposeful eating environment
This is especially important at home. Choose a regular time and place for your meals. Cut out distractions, take a little extra time preparing and pay attention to your meal. Don’t eat over the counter, while watching TV or while on the phone.
By paying more attention to what and how you’re eating, you’ll not only have more control over what goes in your mouth, but you’ll also notice how often you previously ate and didn’t even realize it. The best part is that you’ll naturally start to make better choices.
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkTeams, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.