The impulsive snacker

I have a confession to make.  I love snacking. I love the crispy, salty crunch of tortilla chips and the creamy taste of peanut butter on my tongue at 4:00pm in the afternoon. I love the midnight trip down to the fridge when everyone else is sleeping and I have the kitchen all to myself. 

But the other day I came to a startling realization when I walked on the scale.  I could no longer avoid the fact that I had gained weight since the school year.  I cringed at the number I saw on the scale. This number in itself is not a bad number.  I will admit I am in shape and I eat healthy on a regular basis.  However I also believe you have to have an understanding about what weight makes you feel your healthiest.   I felt I was 12 pounds short of my healthiest weight. So if I workout every day, have a fast metabolism, and am a healthy eater why am I currently over my ideal weight?

The answer could be that  I am an impulsive snacker.  I snack when I'm bored or upset.  I snack when I am tired and stressed out.   I snack when I am with friends at a social gathering.  Sometimes I snack for no reason at all.  I think its fair to say if I would start eliminating the kitchen grazing during the afternoon and late evening, I could easily burn off the extra weight.

Here are a couple steps I've begun to take to remedy my snack attacks.

1) Awareness- Before I reach for those tortilla chips I take three deep breaths and then ask myself if I'm really hungry.  I find that breathing helps me to become more in touch with the needs of my body.  9/10 times when this happens I realise that snacking is just a distraction from something else that I am craving ( non-food related).

2) Healthy subsitutes-Instead of going peanut butter and chocolate I go afor a handfull of nuts.  The protein is more filling and less likely to lead to over snacking. Instead of a bagel and cream cheese I go for a piece of whole wheat toast with strawberries or bannana. 

3) Smaller meals- I've begun to eat 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day.  According to Womens Health having more frequent, small meals speeds up the metabolism.  I also find that it keeps my blood sugar from getting too low, which often leads to an increase in my cravings for unhealthy snacks.

4) Eliminate multi-tasking- Its hard for me to be on my computer and be a hundred percent aware of the amount of calories I am consuming.  So I've started to implement a sitting down rule when it comes to snacking.  If I really want a snack I give my self permission to take a break from what I am doing so that I can be present with my food while I eat.

5) Drink more water- Did you know that our bodies can confuse hunger with thirst?  Before eating a snack I make sure to drink water.  If I'm still hungry afterwards  I know that I actually need food.

Its important to understand that snacking is all about moderation.   So be healthy, present, and smart about your snacking habits and you'll be sure to see some positive results.

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