Mindless eating is a common phenomenon that can cause unnecessary weight gain. It involves eating unhealthy foods for no good reason.
Most times, the individual is either idle, watching a movie, or staying up late. The individual is actually not eating to get filled; he is eating for fun or unconsciously.
For instance, Laura is up at midnight to study for a quiz in the morning. She walks up to the refrigerator to check what was there. Fortunately, Laura finds bags of chips. She picks one bag of chips, and heads back to continue studying. After studying, she realized she ate all the bags of chips in the refrigerator. This is what we call mindless eating. Her focus was not on the bag of chips but on the book she was studying. She just ate for no reason.
Engaging in mindless eating regularly can result in weight gain. This article will enlighten you on the different ways to combat mindless eating.
Know What You Are Eating
One of the reasons you indulge in mindless eating is because you are not conscious of what is going into your mouth. Be accountable by designing a routine for your daily consumption. It is when you have no meal plan that you eat anyhow.
Tracking your food with a routine will help you remain conscious of what you eat daily. For instance, you designed a meal plan for the week, and a friend comes along with some donuts. Donuts are not in your plan, so you can’t eat. If you eventually eat, you’re conscious of it.
What you see actually matters a lot. A study was carried out by some behavioral scientists to show the effect of view on food consumption. Two groups were used. The two groups were provided with a lot of chicken wings on separate tables. The first group ate all the chicken wings leaving bones. The bones were removed and placed on the table of the second group. The result showed that individuals in the second group ate lesser than the first group. This is because seeing the bones made the second group conscious of how much they had eaten.
Another way you can curb this bad habit is by making only foods you want to eat available. You can only eat what you see. Next time you go to the grocery store, don’t purchase any snacks. Buy only healthy foods that you cannot overeat. This can help reduce mindless eating to a large extent.
Some researchers believed that keeping food out of sight can help with mindless consumption. In their study, they gave secretaries candy in a bowl. One group was given transparent containers such that they could see, while the other group was given solid dishes such that they couldn’t see. After the experiment, they discovered those given transparent bowls ate more at intervals. This is simply because what they saw triggered them to eat more.
Another study was carried out on a group of college students. Two groups were used for the study. One group was supplied with some snacks for four weeks, while the other group was supplied double of what was given to the first group for the same four weeks. After four weeks, results showed that the second group ate more than the first group. This was because they ate what was available.
To successfully curb mindless eating, you need to be disciplined. When you’re disciplined, you’ll be mindful of your food consumption. Setting a time limit is one of the best ways to stay disciplined. Set a timer for when you’re supposed to eat and when you’re not supposed to eat.
For instance, you set a time limit which supports no eating after 8 pm. If you are going to eat after 8 pm, you are not eating mindlessly because you set a time limit for yourself.
Eat When Hungry
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Mindless eating entails eating without actually focusing on what you are eating. Try to eat when you’re only hungry. Some people eat mindlessly because of what they see and not necessarily when they are hungry.
A research carried out by a group of scientists showed that mindless eating occurred as a result of eating with a clock and not when hungry. A group of people were locked in a room without windows; this was to ensure that they didn’t see the outside. A clock was installed, and food was made available. After the research, it was discovered that those who looked at the time to eat consumed more than those who ate when they felt hungry.
Drink More Water
You tend to eat more when you don’t drink. Drinking lots of water daily can help you minimize mindless eating. Try to focus that energy on drinking more water than eating. Water keeps you hydrated and satisfied. People that find it difficult to drink water actually eat more. Set a limit for the amount of water you must drink per day and stick to it.
Food as Positive Reinforcement
This can be one of the reasons why you eat mindlessly. When you are used to rewarding yourself with snacks, it can result in mindless eating.
According to Charles Passler in BusinessInsider, “so many parents will still give junk food or sweets to children as a reward for being good or achieving goals. When the child gets the snack, they get a dopamine surge in their brain because they have been recognized for doing well by their parents.”
Think of other ways you can reward yourself after a breakthrough. This can help minimize this habit.
Mindless eating is a widespread habit that causes excessive weight gain if one is not careful. Most people see it as a reasonable thing to snack when they are up late at night, stressed, emotionally upset, or idle.
We have successfully mentioned seven ways by which mindless eating can be stopped. Ensure you drink more water, keep snacks out of sight, don’t use food as a reward, eat when hungry, and know what you’re putting in your mouth. All these should help you avoid mindless eating.