Americans are eating more food, more often. In fact, the frequency with which we eat has increased by nearly 30 percent since the 1970s, according to CNN. Give mindless munching the boot and take control of your future. When you shift attention away from food and toward stimulating activities, you redirect your energy while the craving passes. And it always passes.
Fuel your body, mind and soul by indulging in these 25 healthy alternatives to snacking:
Practicing mindfulness involves focusing on your breath and your present environment, and it can take your mind off the impulse to eat. Gaiam features some simple meditations anyone can do.
2. List the reasons you want to lose weight
The simple power of listing your weight loss goals and why you want to meet them can refocus the mind and strengthen your resolve.
3. Play with your kids
Or your nieces and nephews, grandkids, the kids next door, etc. Play a game, color, throw a ball around. It’s a simple reminder of what you want to live for.
4. Go for a walk
Short bursts of exercise help reduce the urge to snack, according to a PLOS One study. Fresh air and a brisk walk can do wonders for the spirit.
5. Help someone
Acts of kindness take us out of ourselves and redirect our thoughts from what we think we need or want to others’ well-being. Feed your need for philanthropy.
6. Brush your teeth
When the toothpaste hits your taste buds, cravings tend to fade. Peanut butter cup ice cream does not go well with arctic mint.
7. Write in a journal
Studies show that journaling reduces stress and anxiety and can help boost self-confidence. Jot down your goals and dreams or do a “feelings check.” Are you bored? Sad? Angry? Get it down on paper and look at it.
8. Surf the web
Whether it’s social media or current events that peak your interest, log in to keep your mind out of the refrigerator. You can even find weight loss support boards to participate in.
9. Do yoga
Exercise allows you to deal with stress without involving food. Yoga marries mindfulness and stretching for an ideal redirection activity.
10. Slice veggies for the week
Meal prep your way to fighting hunger pangs by slicing up carrots, celery and cucumber.
11. Say affirmations
Buddha said, “What we think, we become.” Say positive affirmations – out loud – when the desire to snack hits. Try, “I take loving, healthy care of my body. I eat only when hungry and I make good food choices.”
12. Call a friend
Chat about your favorite show or their recent vacation. Just no food talk.
13. Listen to energetic music
Dance – it’s great exercise, and it helps you feel happy.
14. Have a big glass of ice water
When the urge to snack strikes, turn to H2O to quench your thirst and wash away food cravings. Many times, when we turn to snacking, it’s because we’re thirsty, not hungry.
15. Watch funny YouTube videos
Laughter can take your mind off anything.
16. Clean out the closet
You know the one we mean. Get the junk drawer while you’re at it.
Outsmart a food craving by getting into a good book. Check out the current New York Times Best Sellers list.
18. Head to the spa
Treat yourself to a facial, massage or pedicure when the cravings are at their strongest. You’ve been working hard and deserve some pampering.
19. Make a collage
Gather up imagery that represents you reaching your goals, and work on it when the snacks call.
20. Practice deep breathing
Slowly take in a deep breath, hold it and release slowly. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Repeat 10 times.
21. Try on clothes
This may be the last thing you want to do when hunger strikes (or ever, really) – but it sure is motivating.
22. Create art
Paint, draw, knit – whatever your hobby, keep your hands busy.
23. Use aromatherapy
Bergamot and jasmine essential oils are believed to reduce the desire for sweets.
24. Get sweaty
Go for a job or hit the gym and release those precious endorphins. Get a mental buzz going.
25. Take a bubble bath
Light candles, put on soft music and sink into the warm luxury of a bath.
Snacking is one of the largest hurdles on the road to weight loss. No matter if it’s stress, habit, or true hunger putting your hand in the cookie jar, you can conquer your urge to eat. To keep yourself in check, empty the kitchen of your favorite unhealthy foods; break the cycle, and propel yourself to the lifestyle you crave.