As the name suggests, mindless eating is when we eat without thinking. When we are busy, stressed, or distracted, our brains don’t give us the memo that we need to stop eating and start chewing.
Instead, we just keep shoving food into our mouths until our plates are clean. This type of behavior has been linked to obesity as a result of it being a source of additional calories without providing any nutritional benefits.
Mindless eating is a widespread issue that affects a significant portion of the population worldwide.
When you consider how many people in society are overweight and obese, it’s not surprising that this topic has attracted so much attention.
Luckily for us, multiple strategies can be used to avoid falling victim to this behavior. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can prevent yourself from mindlessly eating again…
Pay Attention to Your Body
One of the best ways to stop mindlessly eating is to pay attention to your body. When we eat, our bodies release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of reward and pleasure. This is why it feels so good to eat chocolate after a long day of work.
This is also what causes us to overeat, even when we are full. If we are fully aware of this, we can stop it from happening and prevent ourselves from overeating and mindless eating. If you’re eating a meal and you feel full, don’t keep eating. Put your fork down. If you are eating a meal and you have no desire to eat it, don’t force yourself. You don’t need it and it will just lead to unnecessary calories.
Set Realistic Goals
If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of the month, you are setting yourself up for failure. This is setting you up for a goal that is almost impossible to achieve, and it leaves very little room for slacking off.
Instead, set an attainable goal, one can reach without overdoing it or feeling like you are depriving yourself.
For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of the month, try setting a more realistic goal of losing 2 pounds each week.
This will allow you to make slow but steady progress, and you won’t end up feeling sad for yourself which is important for your mental health.
Take a Break
If you find yourself going through a stressful time, you might fall into the habit of mindless eating without even realizing it. This is because stress activates our reward system, which can cause us to eat without thinking about it.
We all have done it – whether it’s while we are studying, while we’re watching TV, or even while we’re on the phone with our friends and family. It’s a normal stress response, but it can also lead to excessive calorie consumption, which eventually can lead to weight gain.
If you find yourself falling into this pit, take a break from eating. Take a breather, and get your mind off of whatever stressful event you might be going through.
Don’t Go to the Fridge
Seriously, don’t go to the fridge. This is easier said than done, but the first step to avoiding this bad habit is simply not going there.
If you find yourself hungry, but not really in the mood for a full meal, try a snack instead. If you go for an apple, a handful of nuts, or yogurt, you will save yourself from eating until your next meal.
Try Something New
This is an easy way to break the monotony of your diet without having to introduce any radical changes. If you are eating the same foods over and over again, you are more likely to fall into the habit of mindless eating.
This is because you don’t look forward to eating the same foods every day, which makes it more likely that you will binge eat under stress. Try to change your diet to avoid falling into this trap.
Keep a Food Journal
If you keep a log of everything you eat, you will quickly see a pattern emerge in your behavior. If you eat the same foods every day, you will see what you are eating and when you are eating it.
This will allow you to catch yourself before you fall into the habit of mindless eating. If you see that you are eating the same thing too often, you will be able to switch it up and make healthier choices that you look forward to eating.
When you keep a food journal, you will be able to see what foods you are consuming frequently, which will help you make informed decisions about what you should be eating more of and what you should be eating less of.
If you want to avoid falling victim to mindless eating, you need to avoid letting yourself get too stressed out, pay attention to your body, set realistic goals, take a break when you need to, avoid going to the fridge, try something new, keeping a food journal, and making informed decisions. That sounds like a lot, but once you get into the habit of doing all of these things, it will become second nature. So, what are you waiting for? Start implementing these strategies today and you will start to see results before you know it.