We all have moments where we’re driven to eat by hunger. We might have skipped or skimped on a meal and our brain sends out “I’M HUNGRY! EAT NOW!” signals that drive us to the cupboard. This is perfectly natural and has been instrumental in keeping humans alive for hundreds of thousands of years.
What is less natural is our inclination to eat when we’re not hungry. We pass through the kitchen after a meal to take care of this or that and we grab whatever treat is handy as we pass the cupboard. We help ourselves to that extra scoop at the end of a meal, even though our stomachs are sending “NO THANKS, I’M GOOD” messages.
When we finally get a chance to relax for a few minutes in front of the TV, we steadily devour whatever snack is at hand until we’re left with an empty bowl in our hands.
Try these 17 tips instead next time you want to eat when you’re not really hungry:
1. Go for a short walk to clear your mind.
Walking provides exercise and fresh air that can clear your mind and offset hunger. But an even bigger benefit can be in breaking a habit. Do you routinely snack after certain activities? You may not even be hungry but you’ve developed a habit of having a treat after doing something (the vacuuming, dropping kids off, etc.). Break that habit and replace it with a short walk.
2. Take a break with a ‘water cocktail’ (water and sliced fruit) or a cup of herbal tea.
Our bodies often mistake mild dehydration for hunger. Offset any mistaken hunger pangs with the most weight-friendly of drinks!
3. Organise your nappy bag so it’s all packed and ready to go for your next outing.
This will save you last minute stresses and you’re less likely to forget something!
4. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while and get out of the kitchen while you talk!
Grab the phone and reach out to a friend. Put your mouth to work on catching up rather than hoovering up!
5. Read for 15 minutes – book, magazine, newspaper – anything!
Pick up something quick to read and stay out of the kitchen while you do it! Get your mind off food and break those snacking habits.
6. Write down goals for yourself for the coming year.
Writing down goals is a great way to move your mental focus from the immediate to the long term. Stop thinking about how good that treat would taste and focus your mind on what you want to be in a year. Visualise what success would look like to make it even more effective.
7. Turn on your favourite music and dance with your baby or catch up on housework.
Music makes you move, improves your mood and will burn calories in the process. Talk about “win – win”!!!
8. Organise photos and start putting them in albums.
Most mums have mountains of photos of our kids and for many of us, this is an ongoing task that we always seem behind on. When you feel like snacking, jump in and chip away at your photo organising. Every bit you get done should give you a sense of accomplishment which will only strengthen your weight loss resolve.
9. Take some photographs of your baby.
Almost all smartphones have quality cameras these days and many have funny effects you can apply. Have some fun with your baby and create even more moments to show their friends on their 21st!
10. Pay your bills.
You’ll feel better when you have it done. We’re not always conscious of our outstanding tasks, but they are always there. We're often not even aware of how much unfinished tasks weigh on us. Sorting them out brings a sense of relief and satisfaction.
11. Go online and get ahead on birthday shopping gifts.
How much time and money have you wasted in the past rushing around at the last minute for gifts that you pay top dollar for. When you feel like eating, look for deals on gifts that you can buy so you don’t have to rush at the last minute. Look to buy more than one at a time to save even more time. Get ahead, get some deals and get some time back!
12. Make a list of the times you feel stressed or bored and need to eat and make a list of things you can do to conquer this.
Don’t wait until the moment hits to think of what you’re going to do. Do the thinking ahead of time and do it just once. Write your list and keep it close to hand. Feeling stressed, reach for the list. Feeling bored, reach for the list. Feel like eating, reach for the list.
13. Take a shower or bubble bath.
When the little one is awake, a quick shower can be a good option. If you get a chance at the end of the day, a bubble bath can be a rare indulgence! Make the time if you can, you deserve it!
14. Start a jigsaw puzzle that you can work on when you feel bored or stressed.
If you have space, a jigsaw puzzle can be a great bit of fun. Popping over to a half-finished puzzle for 10 minutes can be a great way to break the food habit and it can give your mind a much needed reprieve.
15. Google and write out inspirational quotes to put on your fridge.
The greatest experts in motivation all rely heavily on the work of others. Look for funny, quirky or motivational quotes that will help drive you to be your best. Put them on the fridge so you can read them over and over, day after day. If it works for the masters, why not for you?!
16. Make the decision to be happy and not perfect.
We all aspire for our own personal ideal version of ourselves. The reality is that none of us are ever going to be perfect. No one ever has. Make the decision to not be perfect and be happy in the aspiration of being just a little bit better! Be kind to yourself and enjoy the journey!
17. If you’re really stuck, try eating a piece of fruit, veggie sticks or an In Shape Mummy Health Shake
If you must consume something, opt for a snack that’s low in calories and packed with fibre and nutrients to fill you up you quickly. Fruit and veggie sticks with hummus are great options, as is the Chocolate Brownie, Caramel Fudge and Vanilla flavoured In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. The In Shape Mummy Health Shake is high in protein which keeps you feeling full and helps to bust cravings.