OPINION – One reason for unnecessary weight gain is mindless eating. We have a tendency to eat even when we are not hungry. We get theses cravings for sugar, salt, and fatty foods. Many times these cravings come as a result of other vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Making sure you have an overall healthy diet of organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains goes a long way in helping with unhealthy cravings.
If you follow the six rules below you can avoid mindless eating and curb caloric intake.
- When it’s snack time, measure out a serving size from the package and put the package away. When at work, in a restaurant or another’s home stay away from bowls of candy and snacks like chips and pretzels.
- Brush your teeth after you eat dinner to tell your brain that you’re done eating. During the day you can chew a sugarless mint or gum to remind yourself that you are finished eating.
- At the end of the day, close down the kitchen, turn off the lights, and put all food away. Keeping a tidy kitchen (food is out of sight, except a bowl of fresh fruit) follows the rule out of sight out of mind.
- Fight boredom, which encourages snacking, by taking a walk, doing a puzzle, Sudoku or playing a game with a family member. When watching TV, lift hand weights or stretch during TV commercials, especially the ones about food. Read a good book, but sip at a bottle of water to prevent eating.
- If you have to snack before bed (people with diabetes often need a night time snack), go for fresh fruits and veggies—foods with high water content. This keeps calories down and deals with thirst, which is often confused with hunger. Fill your belly with water, not calories and hit the hay for a good night’s rest. When asleep you can’t think about food.
Tell your family and friends about your plan to curb mindless eating. Ask them to help you, kindly remind you. If a friend or family member wants to lose weight, joining your plan is a great way to start.