Stop. Drop. Step AWAY from the pantry!
Do you ever feel like you just need to eat all the THINGS IMMEDIATELY? Yeah, me too.
Sometimes though, if I DO choose to just go to town and fill an immediate 'hunger', I don't feel so hot a few minutes afterward. It turns out, that there are huge benefits to taking a moment, before we devour the contents of our pantry.
This is based on the H.A.L.T. principle. That's Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
Let's break this down:
Symptom: You've gone too long between meals and your blood sugar has plummeted. Your body is sending distress signals to your brain to find food and FAST.
Action: Take a deep breath, and get yourself some tea or water. While you are drinking, portion out a BALANCED meal then check in again to assess your hunger level. You may be surprised to see that you don't feel quite as ravenous. I'd also suggest eating smaller meals every 2-2.5 hours. This is a key principle of Clean Eating and I've found it to be such a lifesaver because it's very rare now that I experience the blood sugar crashes.
Symptom: Stress and frustration have triggered your instincts toward aggression. With no enemy in sight, your brain is pointing to food to help serve as a release and source of comfort to get a chemical release.
Action: Lace up! Working out is an AMAZING way to burn off stress and calories. Much better than eating mindlessly! Just move your body - dance, sing, go for a walk or go for a long run but just get those endorphins going to distract yourself and burn off some of that stress.
Symptom: I can really relate to this as a stay at home mom, especially after the birth of my three children. It can be so easy to get lonely during the day, when your companion(s) are not able to have adult conversation! I certainly found myself wandering over the the panty WAY more often during this time as a source of comfort and frankly to help break up the boredom of those early days.
Action: Call a friend, and connect with the people who care. Food will never really solve boredom or loneliness in the way that even a quick conversation can!
Symptom: Moms..I know you feel me on this one. When you are sleep deprived, the chemicals in your body are completely out of whack and your body may try to compensate for lack of energy by sending signals for lots of quick sugars.
Action: The BEST way to address this is to get some sleep. If at all possible, try to get some help if your children are not sleeping through the night. Have your partner pitch in, or try to get some help even an hour or two during the day so that you can catch a quick nap. Sleep deprivation is truly punishing, and the body reacts in many strange ways - one of which is a constant craving for sugar and "quick fix" foods. If you cannot get more sleep, try to have healthy snacks around instead of sugar. If the sugar is not accessible, you will be much less likely to reach for it!
So, the next time you are ready to mindlessly eat, think about a few of these points! We also cover many of these techniques in more in my health and fitness challenge group. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!