Beating Boredom Snacking - Part 1
Ellis Clewes, a Reed Wellbeing Health Coach, writes:
There are many different reasons that people gain weight. But for many people it’s a combination of under activity and over-eating. This means that we end up eating more calories than we need – and the excess is stored as weight on our bodies.
One way that people can over-eat is by snacking.
As with everything else in nutrition, people feel the need to label things as good or bad, with no in-between.
One thing people forget to mention is the context.
Snacking in the right context (using the right types of food, amounts and at the correct time) is a great tool to stave off hunger or fuel your body for your daily activity.
But bad snacks (the wrong type of food, bad portion control and bad timing) often contribute to weight gain.
Boredom is a very common reason for people reaching for the snacks. With the current COVID-19 lockdown situation, many of us are spending more times in doors, with fewer distractions. Now, more than ever, is the time to think about how to prevent boredom snacking and keep fit and well.
There are a range of different ways you can address boredom snacking. Here is one of our favourites.
Make the unconscious conscious
Example: Reflecting on when we were more freely able to commute to work, try to remember how often you would actively think about driving to work. Generally you don’t – you’re on autopilot and it’s a route you’ve taken hundreds of times. So much so that it has become engrained in your mind.
There is an old saying in neuroscience “neurons that fire together, wire together.” This means the more you perform a certain act or habit, the stronger that pathway of thought becomes in the brain (making it easier and or more likely to occur).
This is good news when we are developing good habits, such as exercising after work or taking the bins out before bed. But it has the power to make bad actions, bad habits.
One way we can undo this process is by making snacking a conscious act.
This means we think more actively about why and what we’re doing.
You can start this process by developing a snacking diary. It’s such a simple tool: write down the day, the time, the snack, your hunger levels at that time.
After a week or two, you can review what you’ve recorded. Are there times when you eat without needing to? Are you hungrier at certain parts of the day? Could you swap what you’ve eaten for healthier options?
By thinking more consciously about what you’re doing, you can start the process of unpicking bad habits and making better decisions.
Give it a go and let us know how you get on.
In Part 2 next week we’ll unpick more methods overcoming needless snacking.
Until then, stay inside and stay safe!