Mindlessly munching

Got Voice?

I don’t!  I guess I should be thankful that it is not completely gone, but I am sure the people over at AT&T think I am crazy.

So since I can’t talk today, I would like to discuss write about a certain topic that is important to me.  But first let’s do breakfast!

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Super Protein Packed Oats

In the mix:

    • 1/3c almond milk
    • 1c water
    • 1/2 banana
    • pinch of salt
    • 3T cottage cheese
    • 1/3c oats
    • 2T flaxseed
    • dash of cinnamon
    • dash of vanilla
    • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder

Super thick, creamy, and packed with protein 🙂

Topped with Nuttzo, coconut butter, cranberries, cinnamon, and pecan pieces.  Very filling!

blog photos 671

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Now let’s “talk” mindless munching shall we 🙂

I have fallen victim of mindless eating this week.  I blame it on hormones,  the hubster, no voice, and well it’s Valentine’s!  Even still this is a very detrimental habit.  A habit that I use to have on a daily basis.  When I started clean eating that was one of the main habits that I had to break.  I would find myself searching through the pantry for any snack I could get my hands on.  I would start with cookies, then go to chips because I “needed” something salty, then came the ice cream, and would probably end with some type of candy.  Bad, bad, bad!

This week it has been banana oatmeal cookie, banana soft serve, a couple chocolate chips, and maybe even end with a cookie.  Bad, bad, bad! 

So what is mindless munching?  Exactly what it says, munching mindlessly.  We all fall victim to this at some point in our life.  I use to claim that it was because I had a craving that wasn’t satisfied.  Yet I could never tell you what the craving was. 

I am proud of the fact that I have learned the art of eating mindfully.  Mindful eating is being conscious of why you are eating.  Do you eat because you are hungry?  Are you tired? Are you bored? There is no menu or recipes to follow. It’s about learning how you eat, when you eat, and what you eat. When you follow the concept of mindful eating you learn to recognize when you are full rather than stuffing yourself.  You learn to recognize if your feeling of hunger is related to needing more fluids due to dehydration as opposed to needing food.  You eat slowly, chewing carefully, and taking your time to enjoy all of the textures and flavors of your food.       

It takes time to teach your mind and body the art of being mindful.  Think about it.  You have spent years eating however you desired, whenever you desired, and whatever you desired.  Of course it is difficult to train yourself to eat more mindfully, but once it is done you will be glad that you do.

Does this mean that you will never have moments of mindless eating.  No it doesn’t.  I have had a lot of mindless munching this past week.  But it does make you aware of how, when, and why you are eating.  I very quickly realized that I was in a funky mood due to the above listed conditions and I was using food for comfort.  Once this realization was apparent to me I made the decision to stop munching, put the food away, enjoy some warm tea, and hit the bed early. 

What are some things you can do to help with mindless munching?

  • banish hunger:  do not skip meals.  By living the clean eating lifestyle I know how important it is to fuel my body every three hours or so.  In order to be satiated, keep my energy levels up, keep the metabolism up, and provide my body with the nutrition that it needs and deserves, I have to eat every few hours.  Do I eat super sized meals, heck no!  I have my three main meals with small snacks in between.  An example would be today’s cooler: oatmeal for breakfast, raisin bread with nuttzo for morning snack, soup for lunch (I may have had a chocolate cupcake with this since it was given to me by a student), Greek yogurt and fruit for my afternoon snack, and dinner is yet to be determined.  I have provided my body with good fuel today and kept myself full and happy.  It is also important to take small bites, chew well, and eat slowly.  Really enjoy your food.
  • identify triggers:  this is probably one of the most important steps into training yourself to eat mindfully.  You have to be aware of your triggers.  This could be a variety of things ranging from stress, boredom, sadness, hormones (yes you do have a hungry time of month).  But your triggers may not always be about emotional feelings.  They could also include things such as munching when watching t.v., surfing the web, talking on the phone, etc.  Pay close attention to when you are eating and make notes to help you determine your triggers.  Keep a food journal for at least a week.  In this journal write down everything you eat, the time of day, how you feel before and after eating, and any other important notes that you will need to have.  This will help you to easily identify your triggers so you can work on changing the food habit.  For example:  if you are a stress eater then you will need to replace the food habit with a different habit such as stretching or meditation. 
  • drink something:  often times people reach for food when their body is truly craving fluids.  If you are not properly hydrated your body will mistake thirst for hunger.  Drinking more water is important.  Many of us are more dehydrated than we may realize. By drinking more water you will not only rehydrate your body, but it will also fill you up, helping you to feel less in need of other foods.  When feeling hungry in between meals grab that water bottle and chug away.  Wait a few minutes to see how you feel.  If you still feel hungry then chances are that your body does need food so go ahead and have a little snack.  Often times you will be surprised to find that after drinking the water your body is satisfied.

Of course these are not all of the important factors in eating mindfully, but it is a good place to start.  These are the three main areas that I try to concentrate on daily.  This week I have found many triggers for my mindless munching.  I haven’t been drinking my usual amounts of water, I haven’t been feeling well, and it is my “hungry time of month”.  All three of these stacked up at one time makes for a lot of senseless eating.  Unfortunately my body will pay the price for this with lower energy levels, bloating, and just overall irritability. 

What is my plan of action?  Simply to stop munching.  I have a food journal that I keep daily, which I have slacked on a little lately, this will help me get back on track.  I have made an effort to drink more water today, and I packed good healthy snacks.  I have skipped a few snacks over the past couple of days since I haven’t been feeling well.  I know that for these reasons I have been raiding the pantry every night trying to satisfy something that isn’t really there.

I do plan to enjoy my dinner this weekend with the hubster since it is for Valentine’s ,and I will also be enjoying some lovely snacks with colleagues for our “treat time” on Monday.  This post isn’t to tell you that you can’t indulge or enjoy certain foods, holidays, or parties.  It is to tell you to do so mindfully.  My meals will be eaten at appropriate times, in appropriate portions, and I will enjoy every last decadent bite!

So go ahead and challenge yourself to start mindful eating.  You can thank me later!

Happy Friday 🙂

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9 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Mindlessly munching

  1. I love this! Mindful eating seems like a fabulous lifestyle change for people to be able to enjoy foods they love but with a sensible approach to hunger, cues, snacking, stress, etc…

    fabulous! =) Enjoy date night Helen! ❤ Happy Early Vday!

  2. so good to hear a phrase to describe that “going to the pantry and raiding it” for no good reason! Mindless munching has become my woe as of late as well. I then started feeling sick yesterday, so I had 3 glasses of water, 2 cups of tea with honey and ate properly – at least until my husband gave me that beautiful box of my favorite- chocolate covered cherries. Oops. But, I do feel better today anyway.

  3. izzy

    hello, i thought it was only me who’s trying to stop the “mindless munching” so its great to find yourself, my answer to stop this is not to eat in front of the telly, not read or listen to the radio when eating! i sit at the kitchen table and sit and chew and enjoy my food and i listen to my stomach and stop eating when ive had enough. I feel like a new women, i feel in control. I eat healthy and eat what i fancy but only at the table with no distractions. Wow, but how simple ! hope this helps others try it, it works.

  4. Hi Helen, I just stumbled across your blog after very mindlessly munching on Ritz crackers & turkey pepperonis (trying to get the salty & sweet). I used to have a big problem with mindless eating like you said you used to, but I gave it up for eating healthy. Lately I’ve been slipping up due to stress, boredom, ect.
    Food can be your best friend or your worst enemy, and it is definitely a drug! Loved your article, thinking about starting a food journal to see what triggers it. Thanks :).

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