Is it hunger?
Like, real hunger?
Or is it boredom…
And cue the old:
Stress ==> tiredness ==> less prefrontal cortex activation which ==> poor dietary decisions and craving that sugary pick me up to give you that ‘feel good’ hormone boost!
Food for thought, right?
So – anyway – here’s 16 ways to beat your hunger pangs / boredom / emotional eating habits (and I’ve saved the best until last for you):
1) Drink more water – Are you mistaking hunger for thirst?
2) Chew gum after a meal – You’ll be surprised at just how often you THINK you’re still hungry but just want something to ‘chew’ after a meal. It will also give you some time for your ‘keeping you full’ hormones to kick in!
3) Get out of the kitchen – For every 4 minutes EXTRA spent in the kitchen, you’ll eat an extra 80 calories of food (just from picking and staring at leftovers and food out on the side!)
4) Eat your protein – Protein is THE most filling nutrient. Are you eating enough? Meats, eggs, fish, dairy and beans can all be good sources
5) Try sugar free carbonated drinks – Now, I’m not saying fizzy drinks are great for you, but pick your ‘poison’. If having a diet coke stops you going for the cake every night (or afternoon), then it’s probably going to be better for you! Want a better option? Try sparkling water with a slice of lemon!
6) Eat your veggies – They’re full of fibre which keeps you full. Plus, the antioxidants boost your immune system, give you more energy and help you fight off common illnesses!
7) Have a coffee – Yep, I said it. Drink coffee. Preferably only 1-2 caffeinated ones per day as I don’t want you wired on caffeine all of the time and struggling to sleep. BUT, coffee – both decaf and caffeinated – can be a great way to suppress hunger and overcome ‘habitual eating’ <<< where you eat when you're bored / emotionally stressed!
8) Jelly in your belly makes your feet go smelly – Sugar free jelly – once again – may be a calorie free way to curb your sweet tooth. Given the amount of water in it, it’s likely to fill you up as well! Again, moderation … pick your ‘poison’!
9) Look at what times you get cravings and alter the times you eat so you have food ready for when you’re most vulnerable to biscuit tin binge – Do you find yourself binging later at night? Well, perhaps eat lighter earlier in the day so you can eat more later.
10) PLAN AHEAD – do you find yourself getting home and having nothing in the fridge? Sit down on a Sunday and plan your meals for the week ahead. Yes, this may take half an hour of your day. BUT, it will save you so much time and STRESS during the week and prevent you finding filled pockets of sweet wrappers the next day! Plus, the whole family will know what’s for dinner and MAY even help you out!
11) Cook in bulk – Why not cook up extra meat from your Sunday meal so you have a ‘main’ for the first half of the week ahead? Chicken fajitas, Roast chicken, Sandwiches etc. can all be put together in no time…preventing that YOU vs WILLPOWER moment at 9pm when the pizza looks good and the milk choc buttons are shouting your name!
12) Are you eating too little, too often? You may never be satisfied when leaving the kitchen table. Perhaps try eating bigger meals, less often.
13) “I want something to snack on in-between meals” – Now, I can pretty much guarantee that this is habitual. BUT, try some houmous / guacamole / peanut butter with some celery sticks / carrot sticks / cut peppers!
14) Are you eating ENOUGH? You might simply not be eating enough so – surprise, surprise – you feel hungry. Perhaps you need a diet break? If you’ve never written down how much you eat before, try doing this and you may be surprised at how little you eat (or even the opposite…)
15) Go for a walk – this not only makes you feel better (because you get outside and away from all of those pointless emails…), it can also stop you from feeling hungry and give your hunger hormones time to go down after eating a meal! It’s also a great way to catch up with a friend.
16) Know that YOU are in control of your hands – It’s your choice. Everything you do is your choice. No matter what Coca Cola say, how many times you’re offered the £1 chocolate bar at the petrol station, or how many times you hear the McDonald’s whistle in-between Justin Bieber on the radio…
It’s your choice!
Do you do any of these yourself?
Is it hunger?