For some of you, the biggest challenge on your weight loss journey isn't getting up before the kids to work out or preparing meals you can be sure don't go above your caloric limit. Maybe your biggest downfall is snacking. It's easy to do throughout the day, whether you're munching on a bag of chips at your desk at work or finishing a bag of pistachios while you catch up on your TV show. It's a bad habit to get into and a hard habit to break, but do not fear. Here are some tips to help you resist the urge to satisfy those emotional cravings.
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Learn to detect true hunger. Oftentimes, true hunger can be satisfied with food in general. It's when you start craving specific foods that a warning flag should go up. Feelings of guilt are also an indicator that you aren't really hungry, you just really want those salty chips. Physical symptoms like pangs, growling and an empty stomach are telling you to eat. (via Women's Health)
Learn your cues. According to Healthy Eating, keeping a food diary will help you to recognize situations and reasons that cause you to overeat. If you write down what you eat, what you were doing and how you felt, you can see where you overate and why and focus on changing those habits.
Take a timeout before you eat. Make it a habit to pause whenever you feel the urge to eat. When you're standing there in front of the pantry or the fridge, take a second to read the signs of hunger. While you shouldn't let yourself get to the point of being famished, you shouldn't be eating every hour either. Take this moment to think about when you ate last and whether or not you're really hungry or if you just need a little comfort. If it's the latter, seek comfort elsewhere like the sun coming through the window with a good book or a nice, ice cold glass of water.
Sit down to eat. When you stand to eat, your food becomes less of a meal and certainly more of a habitual action. You need to define times to eat and letting those times become nonchalant allows you to be lenient with your meals. According to Livestrong, when you sit to eat, you are more likely to take your time, recognize exactly what is going in your mouth and ultimately consume less.
>> Read more: 20 Best Appetite Suppressants
Chew slowly. When it's time to sit down to eat, take your time. Feelings of being full take about 20 minutes to go from your tummy to your brain, so imagine eating as fast as you possibly can for 20 minutes and suddenly realizing you've eaten enough to feed two people! One way to force yourself to slow down is to focus on your senses as you take a bite. Focus on the smell as you chew and the taste before you swallow. Do the same thing even if you're just craving something sweet during the day. Go ahead and take a bite of your chocolate, but take your sweet time to relish the flavor. Then, when you've finished that bite, decide if you still want more. If you don't, save it for later. If you just can't stop, continue taking small bites slowly.
Drink water. Oftentimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger. When you're starting to feel those little stabs in your tummy, drink a glass of water before satisfying any cravings with food. You'll be hydrated and it will help you hold off until dinner because your stomach will be more full. (via Shape)
>> Read more: Why Drinking Water Will Help You Lose Weight
Don't sabotage your progress towards a healthy lifestyle. Mindless eating can be a huge habit to overcome, but when you do, you'll feel better and not feel so guilty. It goes beyond physical obstacles and forces you to become mentally strong, choosing not to eat every time your tummy grumbles and your mind asks for salt or chocolate. When you simply can't resist, try these snacks that won't break your caloric limit.
>> Check out these great weight loss apps to help you track your food and fitness.