Habitual Eating

Do you eat when you’re not hungry?

How often do you find yourself rummaging through the pantry or fridge looking for a snack? How often do you find yourself hitting the mid-afternoon slump and raiding the office lolly jar or even the vending machine for a pick-me-up? No matter who you are, we have all, at some stage, been in that position where we feel like eating something whilst not actually being hungry. This can lead to over eating and can spell disaster for weight management and overall health.

Having a balanced diet is crucial to attaining and maintaining good health so take a look at this list of 9 reasons of why people eat when they’re not hungry and some tips to overcome them.

1)     You’re Bored! – Sometimes we graze at home or at the office because we subconsciously want to break up the monotony or simply want something to do other than writing that report or doing the ironing. A great strategy to combat this is to make this craving a queue to go out and exercise! Go for a walk or do a body weight strength session. Take your mind off food with activity.

2)      Because food is there! – Sometimes it’s as simple as eating it because it’s in front of you, even if you have already eaten. The lolly jar at the office or the party or event where there’s plate after plate of finger food. It’s there, it looks good, you like it, what could be the harm? The answer, remove temptation. Don’t stand around the food table at a party, converse outside away from the kitchen. If you have control of what food is served then ensure plenty of health alternatives are available so you can still eat without binging on junk.

3)      Because you’re tired! – The dreaded mid-afternoon lull can drive even the most motivated people to crack their nutrition routine. Your body is looking for a pick-me-up and the nearest vending machine begins to look appealing. Sometimes all it takes is a walk out of the office. Get some fresh air and sun to freshen you up. Drink a cold glass of water or a cup of coffee to wake you up.

4)      Because it’s free! (or cheap) – Think free samples at the grocery store, buffet at the hotel or special 2-for-1 deals at Woolies. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean you need it. Make sure you keep tabs on your daily caloric intake and keep within those bounds.

5)      Because you suffer from clean plate syndrome! – We have all grown up with parents saying things like “finish all your dinner or you won’t get dessert” or “there are starving kids who would love to have a dinner like you, finish your broccoli!” This leads to the perception that if you don’t finish EVERYTHING on your plate then it’s a waste. These days portion control and meal sizes are out of control, way too big for the average person, and when you’re paying top dollar at a restaurant for a huge meal you feel ripped off if you don’t finish it all. The solution, Tupperware containers! Just because you didn’t finish it doesn’t mean its wasted, take the leftovers and store it in the fridge for lunch or a snack the next day (provided it’s a healthy meal of course).

6)      Because of your emotions! – Your mental state is a common trigger for eating. Happiness is celebrated with food, sadness is covered with food and anger is taken out on a knife and fork. Try to cope by tracking your eating habits in a journal so you can adhere to good eating patterns. Sad, depressed or lonely, find a friend or colleague who you can call or hang out with to cheer you up. Angry? Take it out on a punching bag or boxing session rather than the plate.

7)      Because other people are eating! – When everyone around you is chowing down on dinner and caught up in conversation it is easy to lose track of how much you’ve eaten. When they go to order dessert or a second helping of wine don’t automatically follow suit. Take time out to assess if you are actually hungry or just going with the crowd.

8)      Because it’s a special occasion! – Office party, birthday, big family get together or anniversary. Whatever the event there always seems to be a few common factors. Food and alcohol. Just because it’s your boss’ birthday doesn’t mean you must have a piece of cake and a wine. Celebrations are about people not food so be committed and learn not to rely on food and alcohol to have a good time.

9)      Because you struggle to say “NO!” – Sometimes we come across people who absolutely insist you “eat more” or “try some” or make you feel rude for not eating. Understand that you are in control of what you eat and don’t let others dictate what you eat. At a pinch have a pre-planned list of reasons to give to those “food pushers”. “I’m not hungry” always works well and “I’m trying to eat healthy and lose weight” is rarely scoffed at but best of all is a simple and effective “no”.

One of the most important factors for living a healthy lifestyle is eating right. At Optimum Health Solutions we place a high emphasis on correcting poor nutrition and building positive eating habits. The Exercise Physiologists and Dietitians at each studio are experts in their field so if you can relate to this article then don’t hesitate to give them a call and book a session in today.

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