I usually place a huge emphasis on nutrition in my posts and with my clients, mainly due to the fact that many people struggle with how to eat healthy--what to eat and what types of snacks are recommended. The real struggle though, is finding out WHY we feel so hungry, all the time, or during certain times of the day. What is your relationship with food?
Do you stress eat or binge mindlessly? Do you have sugar cravings? Do you experience an afternoon energy crash?
Despite all these questions, if you're not balancing out your meals with a moderate-intense exercise routine, there won't be any snack that will satisfy you.
When I ask my clients what is their "relationship with food", I often get a puzzled look. They don't know how to answer that question because most of them don't realize that they are IN a relationship with food. Here's what I mean: We use food as a pacifier, an emotional comfort for stress, sadness, anger, or frustration. When this happens, snacking becomes a mindless act of pacifying our emotions -- which usually comes from feeling a lack of control.
Once we discover the association, we can now look at some causes. There are a few reasons as to WHY we stress eat or snack. I've listed a few of the major factors, below:
-lack of enough sleep or deep sleep
-feeling a lack of control
-lack of exercise
-lack of balanced nutrition and too many small meals (or, what I call "grazing")
After I experienced most of the above symptoms, I started to switch up my routine. I replaced my "snacks" with 3 healthy meals, each consisting of a portion of protein, carbs and fats. I then started to realize how much more intentional I was being around food. I had gotten into such a habit of eating snacks at certain times of the day that it started to feel like a mindless act. The switch allowed me to tune into my body’s hunger cues. This can happen when our brains associate food with the environment or time and we act out of instinct.
I’ll be the first to say that becoming more intentional around eating (especially snacking!) is not easy. It’s hard to curb mindless snacking and it takes practice, but I have some practical tips to share to assist you in the right direction!
1. Plan Your Meals
Meal prepping is an excellent way to avoid unnecessary snacking. Not only does preparing your meals on a weekly basis assist with time, it's also a great way to keep you on a feeding schedule so that when it's usually time for a snack, you will be fully armed with essential and healthy snacks. When your brain knows there’s a plan, you’re more likely to be mindful around food. If you plan for a nutrient dense lunch, it will keep you satiated by the time your usual snack time rolls around and if you plan to snack, think about when you usually get the most hungry and have a pre-portioned snack with you.
2. Stay Hydrated
We often mistake thirst for hunger. We tend to eat, instead of drinking, when we're actually thirsty. Thirst occurs when your body needs water. When we DON'T drink enough water, your body receives mixed signals on hunger. Keep a refillable bottle with you or drink some herbal teas. My rule of thumb is: try to drink at least 2.5-3L (>1/2 gal) of water, per day.
3. Reduce Stress
We hear this one a lot and I coach all my clients on: how to reduce the levels of stress. Here are a few methods I use with my clients in order to first "recognize" their levels and then take action:
If you really want to cut down and make those changes, Apple Cider Vinegar will stop those snack attacks DEAD in their tracks, while offering a ton of other benefits!
Regardless of how many meals or snacks you incorporate throughout your day, it's important to be mindful of your intention and listen to what your body needs!
To learn more about meal planning and nutritional guidelines, check out my Nutrition Plans or set up a consultation and we can discuss some ideas and a plan of action that's best suited for you!