Imagine this scenario: You’re sitting on your comfy couch watching some mindless TV and all of a sudden you’re thinking of that bag of Doritos that’s sitting in your cupboard. You beeline it to the kitchen during the next commercial break, promising yourself that you’re only going to grab a small serving. But half an hour later, your TV show is over and you reached the bottom of the Doritos bag about 15 minutes ago.
Sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. Americans do a lot of mindless snacking and it definitely shows. So how do you stop yourself from reaching for the chips and sweets next time a craving hits? Here are some sneaky tricks to help you get a handle on that mindless snacking.
Yes, that means turning off the TV. You won’t die from missing an episode Real Housewives of New York City and who knows, you could actually learn something. Instead of zoning out in front of the TV try doing something that requires more brain power. Puzzles are a great choice – whether it’s a crossword puzzle or Sudoku. Read one of the classics like Jane Austen. Dust off your “Learn Italian” CDs and pop them into your CD player. Or call a friend that you’ve lost touch with. All these activities require you to be present and not just zone out which means you’ll be less likely to reach for a snack out of boredom.
Invest in quality food-scented candles
It may sound silly, but it’s true that getting a whiff of the aroma of food can actually cause you to eat less. That’s right, I said, eat less. So next time you’re in Target, head over to the candle section and scoop up a chocolate or vanilla scented candle. Then plant that baby right next to the living room couch and light it up next time you’re vegging out on the couch. There, now you can watch “Make Me A Supermodel” without worrying that it’s going to make you want to eat an entire package of Oreos.
It sounds so simple, but the truth is that we are one wired up society. When we live in a constant state of stress can make us do things that we know aren’t good for our bodies – like mindlessly snacking on nutritionally void snacks like cheese doodles. By learning to relax, you’ll automatically improve conditions inside your body, including stabilizing cortisol levels which can actually make you crave foods.
Figure out what activity causes you to go from frazzled to calm and dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to it. Whether it’s learning a breathing relaxation technique, meditating, praying or just getting away for a few moments of quiet in your scenic backyard.