We’re all guilty of mindless snacking that results in over consumption and lack of self-control. Whether it’s because we kept that bag of M&M’s at our desks or can’t stop dipping into the french onion dip at our book club, everyone does it at some point. The question is – why? Here are some of the reasons why we eat for no reason and tips for stopping.
When you’re stressed, the glucose your brain needs in order to fuel smart decision making is depleted, leaving you with less will-power to resist snacks and sweets. In order to combat this, a good exercise is to close your eyes and take some deep breaths. As silly as you might think it is, try doing a Downward Dog pose in your office to reduce tension long-term. Yoga poses help to cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol to make you feel more relaxed and replenish your decision making hormones.
Lack of sleep can have a negative impact on your body and mind. When it comes to food, skimping on sleep takes a toll on your brain region that helps you with decision making in relation to food. This means that when you don’t sleep enough, you have little control over what you end up eating throughout they. Believe it or not, people who sleep only four hours or less a night eat about 500 more calories the next day than those who sleep for a full eight hours.
The best way to make sure you’re capable of the best decisions is to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. While this might be difficult to do, it’s critical for your health. Not only does getting adequate sleep help with decision making but it also helps your body function better overall.
Temptations are all around us, especially when it comes to food choices. Cupcakes, cookies and fast food is so readily available, it’s difficult to pass up every time we have the opportunity to indulge. In fact, when we use our will-power to say no to something the first time, the second time we are faced with a temptation, we’re more likely to cave.
To strengthen your will-power and resist temptation throughout the day, it’s best to plan ahead. If you anticipate the temptations that your day might hold and make a plan for how to resist, you’ll be much better off. Say it’s your co-workers birthday, for example. If you know your company is going to be offering cake or treats, tell yourself that you don’t need it and remember it throughout the day. This way you won’t be caught off guard and you’ll be able to say no thank you with certainty.
Who would have thought that being charitable can be related to your self control with food? Those who donate or are charitable actually have a stronger food resolution than those who don’t. If you think about it, the idea that those who are charitable have more willpower than others isn’t so far-fetched since many of us thought that way already.
Don’t think that you have to donate to every charity in order to be charitable. Just doing little things can help strengthen your food resolution, such as giving up your seat on the bus or holding a door open for someone. Whatever you do, remember that a giving and selfless attitude can greatly help you in the long run when it comes to saying no to snacking.
While mindless eating affects all of us, it doesn’t have to. By being educated and knowing what causes it, we can improve our ability to say no and resist whatever temptation comes our way. Just remember these simple tips and you’ll see a difference in your will-power in no time!
Becky Karn is a freelance writer and health advocate. She’s always looking for tips for nutrition and diet. As part of her research, she’s looking into several master of health administration online programs to get a better idea of what else there is to learn in the field.