Do you ever seem to just grab one little piece of candy here, a few grapes there, slice of cheese out the fridge, even though you aren’t hungry? At the end of the day when you add up all the little things and see the calorie total it might not be alarming. Only an extra 300-500 calories a day is no big deal, right?
What if I told you 500 calories a day for seven straight days leads to 1lb of fat. So if you go over by this much each day you can gain weight very quickly. A pound of fat is 3500 extra calories, so those little nibbles don’t seem so little after all. If you only over eat by 100 calories a day it would take a month to put on a pound but when you add that up over a year that’s an extra 12 pounds in a year just from eating slightly more than needed each week.
Maybe you aren’t a snacker but possibly could be eating a little extra at meals. A little dessert every day, extra pop, one more sweet tea at dinner, an extra helping of rice or pasta. Does this sound familiar? Often we eat even though we are aware we aren’t hungry. Besides the extra calories, it can cause your blood sugar to rise and alter your hormone levels in a way that accelerates aging.
How do you combat this problem? Here are some quick solution to help your mind shift its focus.
- Don’t snack in between meals
- Use mouthwash and tooth brushing between meals to tell your mind your done eating
- Sugar free gum or breath mints
- Do 5 pushups every time you think about snacking between planned meals
- Plan out your meals and follow that strictly
- Measure out your food so you know the portion size needed
- Don’t put food at easy access points, such as candy jars, bowls, etc sitting in a place where you can see them
- Drink water way more often and always have a water bottle close
The tips above are ways to retrain your habit loop. Doing this trains your brain to start thinking about other things than eating when you’re full. Use these tips and start monitoring how much extra food you intake for a good starting point.
Action Steps Moving Forward:
- Find your basal metabolic rate (BMR), a simple close calculation is your weight x100. This will tell you roughly how much food you should intake in a day that way when you are tracking you know how much you have gone over.
- Do a 3 day food log: you can either do it on Myfitnesspal or just on paper. You need to get a good idea of what you are taking in your diet currently.
- Eliminate easy to access food at home and at work. Get rid of all jars, bowls, and snack areas.
- Chew gum while prepping food so you don’t snack and take in extra calories while cooking.
- Brush your teeth after breakfast and dinner. As soon as you get done so you don’t have that taste of food lingering that makes you hungry for more.
- Always be present with food. Try to think about food whenever you are eating it. Mindless eating leads to extra calories.
- Whenever you catch yourself reaching for some food when you aren’t really needing food, lean against the counter, do 20 incline pushups. This will work on the habit loop of positive enforcement.