Want to be a fat burner? This will help break your mindless snacking habit today
“All of life is a continuous state of wonder interrupted by bedtime and light snacks.”
― Joyce Rachelle
If you’re still living by the outdated advice to eat 4-6 small meals a day, or 3 meals with snacks in between, you’re setting yourself up for weight gain, energy crashes and digestive distress.
But why do we REALLY snack??
In this article you will learn:
· Why we snack (and it’s not because we want to boost our metabolism)
· Why you need to stop (the mental AND physical reasons)
· How to break the habit (in 8 steps)
Why we reach for food
We are living in a time of high anxiety, busyness and stress. Life is moving faster than ever and shows no signs of slowing down. As a culture we are overstimulated, over-scheduled and overtired.
When you eat a few things happen:
· Your nervous system settles down
· You feel more grounded
· You distract yourself from your feelings and get temporary relief
This is great when we are overcome with negative emotions that we don’t want to feel. Grabbing a quick snack is an easy (although temporary) way to numb ourselves. It works in a pinch.
Another reason we have been conditioned to use food to cope with undesired feelings is that as a kid, we were given a treat to “feel better”. As an adult we treat ourselves with food, drinks and presents as a way to provide comfort and reward.
The problem with mindless snacking
There are three problems with continuing to snack between meals:
1. Every time you eat you increase your blood sugar/insulin levels (which prevents your body from burning fat)
2. Every time you eat you get a hit of dopamine (which keeps you in the addictive cycle because your brain always wants more)
3. If you use food to cope with your emotions, you never learn how to fully process them (what you resist persists)
If you want to start burning fat, feel in control of your eating and learn how to actually deal with your emotions in a healthy, productive way, the mindless snacking MUST STOP.
Step-by-step guide to end mindless snacking
Eat 2-3 real low-glycemic meals a day
Your digestive system needs a break. If you’re constantly asking it to work and break down food, it steals energy from other bodily functions. You will feel tired, burnt out and foggy headed.
Food that is high in sugar (natural or artificial) mess with your hunger hormones and make you feel hungrier. It can be more challenging to stick to 2-3 meals if you’re constantly “starving”.
Make sure your meals are made up of nutrient dense whole foods - plenty of vegetables, healthy fat and adequate protein so you’re fully satiated. Eat your meals mindfully while sitting down.
“He who eats standing, death looks over his shoulder.” – Old Vedic saying
Identify your trigger
According to habit guru Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, there are 5 possible habit triggers:
· Emotional State
· Other People
· Immediately preceding action
If you’re trying to get to the bottom of why you keep snacking, ask yourself the following questions:
Where are you?
What time is it?
What’s your emotional state?
Who else is around?
What action preceded the urge?
Once you’ve identified the trigger, you can start to change your response to it.
Replace snacking with self-observation
“Awareness is the greatest agent of change” – Eckhart Tolle
Snacking can be such a deeply engrained subconscious pattern, sometimes it’s not until we’re elbow deep in a bag of chips before we realize what just happened.
The only way to uproot bad habits is to get to understand what is causing them.
Name it to tame it
“The highest spiritual practice is self-observation without judgement” – Swami Kripalu
As soon as you notice your tendency to grab a snack, press pause. Stop, drop and observe. Begin to investigate and ask yourself: “How am I feeling?”. What are you distracting, avoiding, resisting, numbing or escaping from?
Identify the emotion that you’re experiencing. Do this in a non-judgmental, neutral and genuinely interested way. You are learning the valuable skill of being with yourself.
Process your emotions (don’t numb them)
“Emotions make us human. Denying them makes us beasts” – Victoria Klein
Step 1: Ask yourself: “What does (your current emotion) feel like in my body?”
Step 2: Pay attention to how the emotion is expressing itself through subtle vibrations, sensations and energy moving.
Step 3: Stay in the physical experience and watch it morph and move out
Emotion comes from the latin word ēmōtus, which means to move out, move away, remove, stir up, irritate. Emotions are meant to move through us and after 90 seconds without fueling them with our thoughts, they are GONE.
Uncover the thought behind the emotion
Every emotion is triggered by a thought. Ask yourself: “Why am I feeling __________?”
The answer your brain will come up with it the thought that is causing the emotion.
“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them” - Eckhart Tolle
Your brain’s job is to come up with an incessant string of sentences All. Day. Long. Everything that pops into your brain is completely made up.
Ask yourself the following questions:
“It is true?” “Is it based on factual evidence that could be proven in a court of law?”
“Is it helpful?”
“Is this a thought I want to keep thinking?”
Be willing to let go
Your thoughts are optional. You can decide what thoughts to believe. Choose carefully. Have the courage to let go of the thoughts that aren’t serving you.
Eliminating mindless snacking can be whittled down to 3 simple steps:
What I’ve laid out in the steps above is a process of becoming the observer of your own mind.
By watching your experience, you are able to detach from it. You become less identified and can gain perspective.
When you can step back and out of the tangled web of thoughts and emotions, you’re able to live a more mindful, purposeful and intentional life. You’re not constantly reacting to your inner and outer world with outdated habits that are negatively affecting your life.
Your life is a product of your thoughts, feelings and actions. Each one within your control.
To live a life beyond your wildest imagination starts with the small stuff. It begins with taking responsibility and exercising your agency over every behavior.
Mindless snacking is robbing your ability to truly understand yourself. When you stop numbing with food, everything comes to the surface. It’s not until you can have a good look at your life that you are able to truly change it.
Your life is in your hands. Don’t just use them for constantly shoving food in your face.
Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Learn to program your mind to get the results you want.