Ok, let me be real. I'm not hungry. I just want to eat. ALL. THE. FOOD. ALL. THE. TIME.
I get that tickling little feeling. That restlessness. I need something. Maybe something sweet. Maybe something salty. Maybe something sweet and salty. I'm not quite sure.
The problem? I'm not really hungry. I feel hungry. And feelings can't be trusted.
How do we avoid eating everything in the house when we get this feeling?
- Check yourself-- When was the last time you had something to eat? How much have you eaten today? Are you eating enough total calories to sustain your activity level? Typically, none of these things are a problem for me. I am usually just wanting to eat. Apps like My Fitness Pal are great for tracking your calories and macronutrients-- and for accountability. Somehow, I tend to eat less when I have to type in a record of it.
- Distract yourself-- Could you just be bored? The kitchen is the hub of most houses. I sometimes find myself just wandering in there. Get out and do something. Find a hobby. Read a book. Play Uno with your family. Call a friend. Walk the dog.
- Soothe yourself-- Are you emotional? Many of us are emotional eaters. That's actually a scientific thing, you know. Eating certain foods (chocolate, carbohydrates) causes the release of serotonin, which is known as the happy hormone. It makes us feel good. Exercise also causes our brains to release those happy hormones. Get some exercise. Enjoy a cup of coffee. Take a bubble bath. Talk to a friend.
- Relax yourself-- Are you overly stressed? When stressed, our bodies release cortisol. It triggers the body to want to replenish our food stores. Spend some time each day doing something just for you. Read a book. Do some yoga. Take a walk. Meditate.
- Guard yourself--What are you watching? I find my favorite TV shows are of the food variety-- Top Chef, Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay... I love competition, and I love food, so it's magical when it's combined in one show. And there's Pinterest. My feed is full of delicious pictures of food. There's a strong possibility that all this food watching is making me a better cook. There's an even stronger possibility that it's making me want to feed my belly. I refuse to give up my Food Network, but I will be aware. Don't wander to the kitchen during commercials.
Most of the solutions return to being mindful. We need to pay attention to what we are doing. Be in the moment. Get rid of distractions. I suspect that will also get rid of stress. We'll be happier and healthier. Because at the end of the day, it's not about fitting into a certain size of jeans. It's about living long and enjoying the living.