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Stop Mindless Munching – 9 Tips for Healthy, Mindful Eating

It’s easier than you think to stop mindless munching – but you do have to think! Chew on these tips for mindful eating; you’ll slim down and feel great about your size and shape.

Before the tips, a quip:

“Obstacles are those things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.” ~ Hannah More.

Instead of thinking about how hard it is to lose weight or how unsuccessful you’ve been in the past, try identifying what stopped you from losing weight. If you’re like me, mindless munching is your downfall. Instead of focusing on food, we need to shift our focus to better, healthier, more fulfilling enterprises.

To learn more about mindless or emotional eating, read Brian Wansink’s Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

And, here are some tips for mindful eating…

Stop Mindless Munching – 9 Tips for Healthy, Mindful Eating

1. Identify your eating triggers — and find out what works for you. I tend to munch mindlessly right after lunch, especially when I feel anxious or scared about work (I’m a full-time freelance writer and blogger, and I get stressed!). I could sit in front of Judge Marilyn and eat granola, nuts, popcorn, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips for hours — especially if I have a difficult article assignment. But I’ve achieved my weight loss goals by finding my own best ways to lose weight. Over time I’ve learned what does and does not work for me, and I keep doing what works.

2. Savor an indulgence (such as a piece of gourmet chocolate) every second day. I love my homemade chocolate chip cookies, and I have to keep making them because my husband (and now my friends!) demand them. Instead of denying myself (or others), I taught myself to enjoy a cookie or two every second day. I savor it and don’t do anything else while eating it — that’s what mindful eating is. I don’t eat cookies every day, and not every hour. Knowing that tomorrow I will indulge helps me resist my craving today. It also helps to bury those cookies in the freezer, so I don’t see them very often.

3. Walk around the block before you eat a snack. Before you grab one of those mouth-watering mini chocolate bars or chocolate chip cookies, walk around the block FIRST. This is a great way to distract yourself from the urge to eat mindlessly — and it’s one of the most effective, easiest ways to lose weight. By the time you get back from your walk, the urge to munch may have passed. This way, you don’t just sit there, fighting the urge to eat…instead, you’re being mindful and healthy.

4. Count the empty chocolate wrappers or potato chip bags. This weight loss tip is based on Wansink’s research: keeping the empty wrappers right in front of you will remind you of how many treats you ate, which will encourage you to stop eating sooner than if you weren’t keeping track. It’s easy to keep mindlessly munching the mini chocolate bars and bags of potato chips — and forget how quickly the calories are add up! Keep the evidence of your snacking in plain view, and you’ll eat more mindfully.

5. Chew sugarless gum. This is one of my best tips for losing weight. If I’m craving cookies, I go for the gum. In fact, I’m chewing a wad of Bubblemint Extra right now! It satisfies both my sweet tooth and my urge to put stuff in my mouth. This tip is almost as effective as working out with Pilates fitness DVDs (which is another way I achieved my weight loss goals).

6. Buy snacks that don’t tempt you. If those mini chocolate treats are your weakness, then don’t buy them (they will sabotage your weight loss goals every time!). Leave your biggest temptations in the store; instead, make yourself healthy snack packs. Raisons, nuts, and dark chocolate chips will stabilize your blood sugars and increase feelings of satiety, which will help prevent you from overeating at meal times.

7. If you have to buy treats for your family, hide them from yourself. Instead of keeping a big bowl of chocolate or sugar treats on your desk or within arm’s reach in the kitchen, stash your treats in the top shelf or a desk in a land far, far away. To achieve your goals, you need to keep temptations out of sight. “Don’t get sucked into the ‘see food diet’ mentality that makes you want to eat the candy simply because you see it and not because you are hungry,” says Wansink. “We eat more of visible foods because it causes us to think about it more.”

8. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. I like to let myself get hungry, even though the weight loss and diet experts say to eat small meals constantly. But I never starve myself because it’s bad for my brain and metabolism! To lose weight, keep your blood sugar level and your hunger pangs at bay by eating regular treat that are good for you. This way, you won’t find yourself munching mindlessly. If you’re part of a couple who wants to lose weight together, keep each other focused on fat loss and healthy eating.

9. Drink tea with sweetener or diet drinks. I don’t want to push aspartame or artificial sweeteners because the jury is still out on the health risks, but I find that a cup of tea with milk and Splenda helps to curb my craving for sweets. Diet drinks can also fill you up, so you don’t end up binging on unhealthy foods. I drink a can of diet Dr Pepper, diet root beer, or diet Pepsi almost every day.

If you tend to overeat, read How to Stop Compulsive Eating – From All Alone to Passionate.

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7 thoughts on “Stop Mindless Munching – 9 Tips for Healthy, Mindful Eating”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Karla,

    Thanks for your comment — it’s great to know that I’m not the only one who lets herself get too hungry and then overeats!

    Achieving your weight loss goals is easier when you’re surrounded by people who make healthy food and exercise choices. It’s been said countless times, because it’s TRUE. I think.
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …How to be Lucky – 10 Ways to Get Luckier in Life and Love =-.

  2. I used to have terrible issues with starving myself. It was not that I did it on purpose but more so that I got so busy and forgot to eat. The next thing you know I had a massive meal. Then I felt horrible and ate chocolate! The bad getting badder! (I don’t think that is even a word, hahahah)Now I make my lunch when I make lunch for my kids in the morning. Having healthier choices works for me! Cheers Karla 🙂
    .-= Karla´s last blog post …Champion c9 Cardio Jacket =-.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I think you’re right: aspartame isn’t great for your health. But, Stevia (a natural sugar substitute) or sucralose (Splenda) haven’t been found to be detrimental. I think the jury’s still out on the effects of sucralose….but probably it’s better to be safe than sorry!

    Nobody should put their health at risk when they’re trying to achieve their weight loss goals….though I admit I use Splenda every day….I need to learn to take my own advice!
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …Money Skills – Tips for Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids =-.

  4. i read somewhere on the internet that long term consumption of Aspartame is not really good for the health. ~~*

  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for being here, Susan, it’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

    Pamela, I know exactly what you mean: my husband can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce. But, I’m lucky because he doesn’t overeat. In fact, he eats less than I do half the time, and I think he’s partly responsible for me achieving my weight loss goals. I hope you try some of these tips to curb mindless munching…and that you figure out how to stay focused on your goals even if your husband eats a ton of food!

    All good things,

  6. That’s a great idea, to drink a glass of water when you want to eat. I really struggle with mindless eating, and I will try your tips. It’s difficult when you have a husband who can eat a horse and not gain a pound! I think he sabotages my weight loss goals, but not because he tries. He can just eat whatever he wants.

    Thanks for your tips.

  7. Great topic, Laurie!

    What I do when I’m hungry and want a snack…?
    I down a big glass of water!
    If I’m still hungry 15 minutes later, I know that I need to eat somethin.
    Otherwise, if after 15 minutes I’m no longer hungry, I know that I was actually thirsty!

    🙂 Susan