How to Reduce Your Snacking
Do you eat the whole block of chocolate when you have a craving?
If so, you’re not alone. Most people eat the entire thing, regardless of how much they want it. It’s not uncommon to have no idea why you’re snacking in the first place. Check out this podcast episode on 3 Reasons You Can’t Stop Snacking to learn more.
In this blog post, you’re going to learn how to stop after the first row of chocolate and still satisfy your cravings.
Have you ever been told to snack in moderation?
It’s easier said than done.
If you find it difficult to stop after a small portion, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone and you’re not a failure.
Often the control you have over your own snacking has nothing to do with what you know about nutrition, and much more about how you’re feeling in your current situation, your stressors, and how you’re tracking against your goals.
The first step to eating in moderation is getting clear about what you want.
If your goal is to eat less chocolate, then you need to get specific and figure out how much less.
It might be helpful to ask yourself these questions:
Chances are, not much would happen if you eat one row of chocolate.
You might feel a little bit guilty, but it’s not like you’re going to gain 20 pounds from eating one row of chocolate.
On the other hand, if you eat the whole block of chocolate, you might feel guilty and end up feeling worse about yourself.
So ask yourself which option is really the better choice.
Generally, your snacking has nothing to do with your diet. If you are feeling snacky then it is a sign of your body seeking to avoid some psychological stress.
You eat to distance yourself from feelings of discomfort.
The first step in learning how to eat in moderation is recognizing our triggers for overeating.
Some people eat when they are sad, and some people eat when they are happy.
For some people, it’s the act of eating itself which is comforting – the feeling of putting something in their mouths and chewing.
Whatever it is has you triggered into a habit loop, look at the cause of it.
Snacking is just a band-aid to the overwhelm you are feeling in your life.
Overworked. Run down. Committing to too many things.
All of these and more are stressors to the body and mind.
When you have too many of these things in your life then you seek things like chocolate to alleviate these stressors.
The second step is having a plan for when these triggers show up.
This is where having a specific goal comes in handy.
If you know you eat chocolate when you’re bored, then have a plan for when boredom hits.
Maybe you commit to reading one chapter of a book, or taking a walk around the block.
The key is to have something specific you can do instead of eating.
And it needs to be something that will actually alleviate the boredom, not just another form of procrastination (like scrolling through Instagram).
Commit to yourself whenever the trigger hits, you will do this other activity instead of eat.
This might seem like a lot of work at first, but it will become second nature after a while.
The third step is being mindful of your portions.
This is where most people struggle because they think in order to eat in moderation, they need to eat less food.
But it’s not necessarily true.
You can still eat the same amount of food, you just need to be more mindful of your portion sizes.
For example, if you know you’re going to eat a bar of chocolate, then cut it into smaller pieces so that you can savor it and make it last longer.
Or if you’re at a buffet, fill up your plate with mostly vegetables and then add a small portion of the things you really want to eat.
The key is to eat slowly and savor your food so you’re not as tempted to overeat.
If you can follow these three steps, then you’ll be on your way to learning how to eat in moderation.
And eventually, it will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it.
But for now, just take it one step at a time and be gentle with yourself. Just like with anything else in life, baby steps are the key to success.
Start today by getting clear about what you want, identifying your triggers, and making a plan for when you want to enjoy a snack.