7+ Strategies to Overcome Impulse Eating At Home or On The Road
Impulse eating is not the same thing as binge eating disorder. Binge Eating Disorder is an eating disorder where the person is compelled to eat large quantities of food. Individuals may even describe it as feeling out of control or addicted to food.
Impulsive eating on the other hand is eating because it’s just sitting there, like cookies just left out on the counter, don’t want them to get stale! Finishing your entire plate of food because you were taught that its impolite to leave food on your plate (even though you’re full).
Or an afternoon piece of chocolate with a cup of coffee you tell yourself is a much-needed pick me up …
Friday donuts in the office cafeteria … one won’t hurt … right? And repeat that thought every Friday …
Or having dessert after dinner because you just have to whether you’re full or not.
Impulse eating is the small ways we undermine our otherwise well-intentioned eating and exercise habits. Snacking on 100-300+ excess & typically empty calories throughout the week.
Try these simple techniques at home and when you're dining out to help you outsmart common obstacles.
1. Keep a journal. Studies show that practicing mindful eating can really cut back on impulse eating. Write down what you eat, time of day, and what you’re feeling. Being mindful of outside influences that seem to encourage impulse eating.
2. Manage stress. Stress is a well-documented cause of impulse eating. Get plenty of good quality sleep. Find a relaxation practice that works for you.
3. Sit down to eat. It's easier to be aware of how much you're consuming if you pull up a chair even for a snack. You'll also digest your food better.
4. Use smaller plates. Downsizing your plates will help you feel full on fewer calories. Portions will look more generous, so you'll be less likely to want to go back for more.
5. Curb distracted eating. Turn the TV off while eating. Being mindful of what your eating and not zoned out on what’s happening on the TV will help you decide if you really want to keep eating or go back for seconds.
6. Use caution in group settings. Family dinners and holiday gatherings are important traditions that nurture our connections to our friends, coworkers, and family members. They also tend to make us eat more. Researchers find that the bigger the group, the more likely we are to overdo it. Don’t walk around with a plate in hand. Especially when alcohol may lower your inhibitions.
7. Limit your exposure to advertising. Marketers know that a picture of pizza or cheesecake can make us crave the real thing. But remember this, the majority of the “food” you see on TV is fake and made to look better then the real thing.
When Dining Out
1. Plan your order ahead of time. Long menus and enticing specials can lead you astray. Arrive with your mind set on a healthy choice, a lean protein like grilled fish.
2. Take leftovers home. Ask to have half your order bagged to take home to remove the possibility of eating it all.
3. Forgo the fast food restaurants. Burger joints have mastered the science of getting us to supersize it and bolt down our meals quickly with their bright colors, fast music and discounts. Pass them up as much as possible.
4. Take note of the lighting. Candlelit restaurants are romantic but dim lights can also make us eat more than we planned.
5. Skip the buffet. Buffets are designed to make you stuff yourself and keep going back. Just say no.
6. Headed out on a long drive? Keep a small, insulated pack of yogurt and baby carrots in your car. Better options than the chips and candy bars you'll find in most vending machines and convenience stores.
7. Eat before grocery shopping. Eat something nutritious and filling before you head to the supermarket. You'll save both money and calories.
Mindful eating is one of the many mindset practices that my online coaching program dives into to help my clients live a sustainably health lifestyle.
Impulse eating is a tough habit to break. But once you’re aware of it, there are many tools and tricks you can use to help you stay on track. Weight loss isn’t an easy process. There are no short cuts.
It takes practice, routines, tough inner work, and sheer dedication. I’m always excited to help my clients on their journey. Whether they’ve gained weight recently or been on a decades long roller coaster of weight gain, weight loss, and rebounds.
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