8 Ways to Banish the Mindless Munchies
02 Dec 2014

8 Ways to Banish the Mindless Munchies

Have you ever finished a candy bar and wished you had just one more bite? Are you surprised when your hand hits the bottom of the popcorn bucket at the movies? Do you ever feel completely stuffed and miserable after you eat (hello Thanksgiving)?

These are all symptoms of mindless or unconscious eating.

In the land of “holiday crazy-busy”, we’re grabbing meals while we’re shopping, wrapping and baking…maybe all at once! But eating and multitasking are a bad marriage. We’re so busy doing other things that we don’t notice anything about the food we’re cramming down. Since your brain can really focus on only one thing at a time, you miss the subtle signs of fullness.

Hello, weight gain.

Many of my clients want to lose weight. As you’d expect, diet and exercise always come into our initial conversation. But the other thing we talk about is eating habits. This conversation is usually very revealing, because it’s not something people give a lot of thought to…until they’re asked about it. Noticing these habits is key to weight loss because without awareness, mindless behavior persists.

Once my client has an awareness that she’s eating for sport and not because she’s hungry, powerful shifts can happen with simple changes. Here are some quick tips for giving bad habits the boot:

  • No eating in front of anything with an on/off switch (TV, computer, iPad, phone).
  • Make your meal an event. Set the table, sit down and enjoy your food.
  • Slow down. Put your fork down between bites.
  • Pay attention to smell, taste and texture.
  • Stop eating when you’re 80% full.
  • Drink more water. Thirst often shows up as hunger.
  • Sleep. It’s harder to make good, conscious decisions when you’re sleep-deprived and you’ll be more likely to miss “I’m full” signals.
  • If you catch yourself at the beginning of an emotional eating blow-out, ask yourself these 3 questions:
  • Am I hungry? (and assuming the answer is no….)
  • What do I really want right now?
  • Is this the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?

Once you’ve experienced the increased pleasure from mindful eating, you may be motivated to become more mindful during other activities too. Living “in the moment” and becoming more aware can increase your enjoyment and effectiveness in everything you do.


Dr. Anna Garrett

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