The good news: After a tough year and a half, many people find their way back to something called “normal” (even if it is a new normal).
The bad news: We have developed some not-so-helpful habits during our time underground. You are not alone when you emerge from your cocoon and feel a little worse!
There is no better time than now to get rid of those bad habits so you can be the glorious butterfly you are supposed to be again. Getting their diet back on track is the number one priority for many people.
“Help, I can’t stop snacking!”
I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this in the past few months. Are we surprised Since we were all bored, overwhelmed and stuck in the immediate vicinity of the kitchen at home, there were inevitable snack attacks.
Let me put it on the record that I don’t think snacking is always an issue. Yes, we are big fans of intermittent fasting in these areas, and snacking is widely maligned in the ancestral health world. I haven’t forgotten that Mark’s newest book is called Two meals a day!
It cannot be denied that some people can make significant health gains when they eat less frequently. At the same time, the empirical evidence for or against snacking is decidedly mixed. Some studies show that frequent small meals or snacks can affect weight loss, glycemic control, appetite regulation, and various health markers. Others find that snacking is neutral or even beneficial for these parameters.
As for the “humans aren’t for snacking” argument, depending on their feeding environment, our Paleolithic ancestors likely got “naked” when looking for plants that didn’t need to be cooked. You tell me that each of those delicious berries made it back to camp? I do not think so. But that’s not what snacking looks like today. Where modern man gets into trouble is the overconsumption of excessively tasty, inferior, inflammatory foods. This concept would have been completely alien to our ancestors, but it is what most people mean when they say they “can’t stop snacking”.
If you get stuck on a round of snacking, here are six things to keep in mind:
Stop snacking strategies
Set up your environment for success
The lowest of the low hanging fruits is to get rid of the snacks around you. By “snacks” I mean those that are difficult to avoid, even when you are not hungry. The ones that you eat out of boredom or that you consume thoughtlessly. Foods That Make You Ask, “Why Do I Still Eat This?” even if you keep putting more and more in your mouth.
This can be a challenge when you live with people who disagree with the way you eat. Family members and roommates might say they support them. When the rubber hits the road and you try to throw away all of the chips, suddenly you’re less enthusiastic. If you can’t get rid of non-supportive foods, the next best thing is to get them out of sight. Name a “Not for Me” closet and don’t open it. Ask roommates to keep certain groceries in their room. Put a snack shelf in the garage instead of the pantry.
If snacks mysteriously end up in your shopping cart while shopping, Take advantage of online grocery shopping and roadside pickup. You are less likely to make impulse purchases this way. Don’t try to shop when you’re hungry or feeling emotionally vulnerable.
Practice mindful snacking
At its core, mindful eating is about attuning to what you are eating. As with any mindfulness practice, the goal is non-judgmental awareness. When you eat mindfully, you pay attention to the tastes and flavors of your food, the enjoyment (or lack of it) you are experiencing in the moment, and the feeling of satiety. These observations will help you choose foods that make you feel good and eat the appropriate amount of food for your body.
When it comes to curbing pointless snacking, the first step can be as simple as asking yourself: “Do I really want that?” If the answer is anything other than “Definitely!” Take a break.
Mindless snacking has a lot to do with cravings in that both are usually driven by motivations other than hunger. Understand Why You’ve wandered into the kitchen allows you to make an informed decision. Are you really hungry or do you need exercise, spiritual stimulation, rest or comfort? A handful of salty trail mix is delicious, but it’s not the solution if your problem is you slept for four hours last night, your boss just scolded you on a Zoom call, or you got rid of the boredom of life with one global pandemic.
Maybe you are just a little hungry. In this case, enjoy the trail mix without rating and without distraction. Get away from your laptop and give yourself a few minutes to concentrate on the food. Enjoy your snack, then stop when you’ve had enough. But if not what? to do Need to fill the void you wanted to fill with snacks?
Restructure your meals Me
If you find yourself hungry frequently between meals, the chances are that you simply are not eating enough with meals.
People who practice intermittent fasting can be particularly prone to malnutrition. Based on the questions we receive on our Facebook communities, many people struggle to get enough calories and especially enough protein in a compressed eating window. Eating with a slight calorie deficit may not be a problem depending on your goals. However, if you’re not getting enough protein, you’ll stumble when you don’t feel full for any other reason (and other reasons too).
Meal frequency (how many meals?) And meal timing (when do you eat them?) Are both important to health, but not as important as eating adequately nutritious foods. That means that if you’re struggling to keep yourself fed with one or two meals a day, a third meal or a hearty snack between meals is likely the right choice. Yes, even if you need to extend your meal window.
Likewise, if you postpone your first meal until you are completely starved, you may be digging yourself into a starvation hole that you won’t get out of no matter how much you eat later in the day. Consider eating earlier in the day and make sure your first meal is a hearty one. I like the taste of fatty coffee as much as anyone, but it’s not a meal.
Choose supportive snacks
If you want to have a snack, opt for your typical Primal tariff as opposed to “snack foods”. Based on the studies that found snacking is beneficial, it’s best to eat whole foods instead of highly processed foods – no surprise – and add some protein or fiber for satiety.
If possible, treat snacks more like small meals. Choose the same foods that you would eat with one meal, just fewer of them. Primal-friendly grab-and-go options include:
- Beef Jerky, Biltong
- Greek yogurt
- Full-fat cottage cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Vegetables and dip
Check out these previous posts for more ideas:
Try “exercise snacks”
Try moving your body for a few minutes before having a snack. Taking a short break from training can dampen food cravings and distract you when you’re feeling bored or uncomfortable about a snack. If you want another snack after you finish, hey, at least you have a quick workout.
When you think about it Microworkouts are like exercise snacks – quick, bite-sized and filling.
Take a nap
Every time I write about hunger or cravings, I urge people to get more sleep. Today is no different. Sleep deprivation increases the craving for snacks. And when you’re tired, you’ll be less inclined to the supportive snack options listed above. You will be attracted to higher energy, higher carbohydrate foods.
The bottom line is that if you are chronically tired or otherwise unable to eat – literally or figuratively – it will be difficult to quit your snacking habit.
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