We’ve all been there. Whether it is boredom, anxiety, stress, or distraction, we’ve all experienced a time when we seem to keep stuffing our mouths with bite-sized chocolate bits or super buttery popcorn, until – oops – the 10-serving bag is completely gone.
This is what we call “mindless eating.” It is when we eat without being aware of what, or how much, we are putting into our bodies. As a result, we tend to overeat, leading to weight gain and other adopt potentially dangerous habits.
What are some things you can do to keep yourself from mindlessly eating?
- During mealtime, add 20% more veggies to your plate. When you add more veggies, your plate looks fuller and the additional volume will also make you feel fuller.
- Turn off all electronics. When our mind is focused on our latest TV show, rather than on the food we are eating, it is harder to tell when we are full. If you focus only on the food you are eating, you experience the tastes and smells more thoroughly and as a result you enjoy your food more. Studies show that mindfulness – being aware of changes in our body as they happen – lead us to eat less.
- If you feel like a snack, don’t straight out of the bag. Opening a huge back of pretzels and munching as you study or watch a movie will give you a completely warped idea of how much you are actually eating. You can’t see through the bag of pretzels, and it certainly doesn’t tell you how many servings you’ve wolfed down. Instead, read the nutritional chard on the back for how many servings are in each bag, and estimate a serving size poured out onto a plate or into a bowl. When you’ve reached the bottom of the bowl, you know you’ve eaten your share.
You can break bad eating habits by making small changes in how you eat. Changes in how you eat will help you to control what and how much you eat, and will result in greater meal satisfaction and will help keep you from eating mindlessly.