Regular snacking - How to keep a lid on it (and the cookie jar)

Time to cover the third and final subject in the top 3 struggles most people have to deal with on a daily basis. And its a tough one to overcome.

When trying to defeat the snacking bug, there are two things you need to consider. Dealing with one often isn’t enough so you need to take a look at both, head on.

The first is the emotional/habit/behavioural side. And being aware of the difference between physical hunger and appetite mind games.

Eating and food choices for many many people are an emotional response. That’s important because I couldn't imagine going through life not enjoying food - one of life's greatest pleasures I reckon - what do you think?

So to switch off completely from your emotional side is not good, but you have to find your balancing point.

Another red flag is the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacking zone. I hear this a lot from clients, that they feel hungry around 10.30/11am and 3pm.

This is usually due to an automatic response or feeling based on what you’ve always done in the past (maybe even from childhood). But can also be due to your carbohydrate intake being too high at breakfast and lunch, causing your blood sugar to dive bomb a couple of hours after that main meal.

The best way to distinguish between hunger and appetite is when you get to the point of thinking you need some munchies, ask yourself how hungry you actually are, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the hungriest you've ever been). If you're less than 7, try putting it off by 15 minutes. The feeling might pass.

The second consideration is environment. The things that you choose to have around you. And yes, I say ‘choose’ because you can do a lot to influence the snacking choices you have to hand.

Plus what you choose to eat is entirely up to you. No one is forcing you to eat those highly processed, high fat, high carb snacks you like to indulge yourself with (truth hurts I know).

So if you're going to snack then at least do it with something which is less processed, more nutrient dense and lower in calories (if weight loss is your aim).

Having things ready prepared in smaller portion sizes can really help. This makes it more difficult to get your hands on another portion by forcing you to take another action. Like walking to the kitchen or just not having more than a couple of small portions in the house/office/car/wherever you are.

You can consider healthy snack options to be anything which is a whole food, is as natural as it can be and is in a smaller portion size than you’re used to (another challenge for you to deal with - this is tough!).

Personally and with coaching clients, I find that a portion of protein and healthy fats keeps someone full for longer. But of course fruit is nutrient dense, largely unprocessed and portion controlled for you - very convenient.

Still stuck on what to do to solve your snacking issues? Keep a food diary for a week. Its a great way of making you more mindful about what you're eating and when. Making notes on how you're feeling around the time of cravings and what may have triggered them will really help you out.

I would always encourage someone to take small steps at first but make them count with consistency. The stresses and strains of life are ever present. So is it a surprise that we default to past habits, snack regularly and ultimately overeat when things get uncomfortable?

Try some of these ideas and find out what works for you. Having a few strategies in your back pocket just might make those jeans fit you better……..

Until next time,
Coach Ben