This may seem like an obvious answer, but it’s called a practice for a reason. Mindfulness is a way of maintaining awareness in the present moment to thoughtfully acknowledge and accept current thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, and surroundings. Using this technique while eating will give you a new way to connect to food, and to notice your cues of satisfaction, fullness, and hunger.
The more you practice this skill, the less likely you are to snack mindlessly. It’s okay if you aren’t perfect; that’s not the goal. Life gets busy and sometimes multitasking while eating is necessary or even enjoyable. Try to be mindful of your actions and your physical sensations of hunger and fullness throughout the day so that snacking can be a more deliberate choice.
You might be absentmindedly reaching for snacks because your body is operating at a caloric deficit (meaning you’re not eating enough). Your body responds to food restriction with urgent and consistent hunger. You may experience a biological drive to eat that quietly whispers behind the loud voices of daily life. If you follow a strict diet, don’t eat to fullness, or routinely skip meals, this may be a reality in your body.
Try increasing how much you eat and see how this affects your tendency to snack.
It’s human nature to desire what you deny, especially when it comes to food. If you’ve decided that snacking is shameful and that certain foods are off-limits, you might crave these foods even more than if you decided they were acceptable. You may reach for them more often because they feel comforting or have gained special meaning for you
If you classify snacking as normal and all foods as neutral, they’ll lose some power over you. You’ll feel less tempted to snack, because it’s no big deal, and yesterday’s treats become today’s acceptable food.
What do you think is causing you to mindlessly snack? It may not be what you think. In fact, you might be labelling yourself as an emotional eater or someone who has no self-control. This is a harmful judgment that isn’t conducive to positive behaviors.
With compassion, explore t what triggers you to snack. It could be any of the following reasons, or something else entirely:
Once you identify your triggers, you’ll be more equipped to identify them and to choose how you respond.
If you find that you snack more frequently and mindlessly when you have strong feelings, you might be trying to substitute eating for emotional processing. We tend to view emotional eating as negative and then beat ourselves up for having any emotion while eating.
Like many things, this behavior occurs on a spectrum. If you only feel your feelings with food, then you’re not actually processing your emotions. This becomes an issue when your emotions start to control your food choices or when food is your only coping mechanism.
It’s okay to eat for emotional and biological reasons, and it’s not always possible to tell the difference when hunger strikes. Remember, though, that eating cannot solve deep-seated or overwhelming emotions. You can only placate a persistent emotion for so long.
Beating yourself up for mindlessly snacking is not going to help the situation. Feelings of guilt, shame, or regret will only fuel a destructive cycle that will probably lead you to cope with more food. Humans are meant to eat, and the concept of “snacking” is merely a label that we’ve applied to eating at certain times of day.
There is nothing wrong with snacking, just as there is nothing wrong with breathing. If your body is asking for snacks, listen. What is it asking for – nourishment, comfort, or energy? Are any of these reasons really so bad? Forgive yourself for snacking, first and foremost, and then question if or how you’d like to change your personal behaviors.
Mindless snacking is a complex issue, and there are solutions that may work for you that don’t work for others. Consider what triggers your mindless snacking, and question whether you’re meeting your body’s nutritional needs. Extend compassion to yourself as you explore any eating behaviors that you’d like to change. Self-awareness is vital to this process, and Savor is here to get you started. To begin now, download Savor today from the App Store or Google Play.