How to Stop Mindless Eating
One of the number one things I hear my clients tell me is that they often eat mindlessly, when they’re not hungry and often because the food is “just there.”
Raise your hand if you too have fallen prey to the “If it’s there you’ll eat it” syndrome. Brian Wansink of the book Mindless Eating (which I highly recommend by the way!) discusses this phenomenon a lot. The simple act of having food in front of you makes you far more likely to eat it, even when physically our bodies do not need food.
This fact can benefit us or be to our detriment. How can it help you ask?
Well, making sure there are fruits and vegetables in ample supply in your fridge and countertop, for instance, can make it more likely that you eat those foods. When I have cut up cukes and red peppers on the counter when my kiddos get home from school this is what they eat! If I have crackers and chips out, well…you can guess what they’re snacking on.
It can be a detriment to us, however, when we are attempting to make more balanced or healthier choices in our diets but end up snacking on “whatever’s around” just because it’s easy and in front of us. Then we overeat, almost without awareness, feel frustrated and question whether we can ever sustain these newer behaviors for the long haul.
When I talk about eating empowerment, this is exactly what I mean. We can take the reigns and plan for steps in our environment that will honor our hunger and prevent us from being in situations where we feel powerless around the foods that are in front of us.
I call this type of eating empowerment – Location Organization.
>>>> Download my 11 page workbook on Location Organization and set yourself up strong to avoid mindless eating. <<<<<
What this is is actually structuring our environments (home, work, car, travel) to have us feeling in control and with a thoughtful plan with respect to eating. Will it always work? No, of course not. But, with time, persistence and practice, we can begin to detect patterns in our eating habits and especially when we feel vulnerable to mindless eating to short circuit what we’ve always done and replace these outdated, unsupportive behaviors with more intentional healthy ones.
Here are just a few ways to do this:
- Have baggies of cut up veggies or melon prepped and in the fridge
- Keep foods that you tend to snack endlessly and mindlessly on more out of reach.
- Avoid the kitchen when you know you’re not hungry, move into a different space of your home
- Ask if you can utilize a fridge or rent one for your office to keep fresh snacks in.
- Plan to eat beforehand with what you had already decided to eat before joining co-workers for pizza.
- Keep nuts, bananas, dried fruits, baby carrots at your desk.
In your Car
I don’t usually advocate to people to eat in their cars it can be unavoidable at times and I’d rather a client feel full and grounded than walk in the door completely starving at their destination and feeling less in control. Here are some ideas.
- Keep a cooler filled with snacks you enjoy and that are filling and balanced to avoid the ravenous cabinet raid when you get home.
- Bring a thermos with a pre-made smoothie with you.
- Keep trail mix and other non-perishable healthy snacks in the car as an emergency stash.
Also, with all of these situations, I want you to bring intention and mindfulness to your eating experience, whenever possible. Limit distractions like eating in front of the TV or computer and check in with yourself. Are you eating out of boredom? Because it’s there? Because other people around you are picking? If at a restaurant could you ask the waiter to take away the leftovers or pack them up? Can you move into the living room where there is less an association with eating? Bringing awareness to what is happening around you and inside you will help you take a stop, look and listen approach to eating in general which will mitigate the mindless eating loop.
Good luck and be sure to download this free supplementary 11-page workbook to help you more carefully plan out your eating environments for greater empowerment and peace surrounding your eating episodes.
Join me LIVE on Wednesday, September 13th at 4:30pm eastern on my Wellness warriors page and again at 5pm eastern on my business Facebook page for an interactive workshop on 7 pillars to eating empowerment. See you there!