What Is Mindless Eating: 5 Ways To Curb Mindless Snacking At Work
Amid this pandemic, life has been busy, stressful, and unpredictable. But one thing that has not changed outside of quarantine is mindless or binge eating. Time constraints, colleagues' treats, work stress, and the lack of a quiet work environment - all negatively impact your eating habits at the office.
Stress or chaos: how do people cope? It is common for people to indulge in comfort foods or mindless eating to take a break from their busy lives for a few minutes.
In most cases, people binge eat not because they are hungry but because they want to avoid something uncomfortable in their lives or at work.
This article is for you if you're looking for suggestions on how to curb your mindless munchies or cravings at work. It discusses more on mindless eating and how to avoid it.
What Is Mindless Eating?
Mindless eating is something that everyone indulges in at some point in their lives. Although practicing mindful eating is always possible, diving into calories can happen without you being aware of it.
“Eat to fuel your body, not to feed your emotions”
Mindless eating is the absence of conscious awareness while eating snacks and meals. It refers to the eating behavior where you're not aware of the calories and quantity of food you consume. It often occurs when your mind is distracted or another activity is grabbing your attention simultaneously.
Here are some examples of factors that contribute to mindless snacking -
Lack of awareness
Practicing mindful eating for every meal is a difficult task. And the main factors that lead you to eat mindlessly are a distraction or lack of attention to the quantity of food you're consuming, especially when eating out of a bag or being involved in a different activity simultaneously like watching tv.
It occurs when you're eating not because you are hungry but because maybe you're bored or want to avoid a stressful situation. People often eat as a coping mechanism when they are sad,depressed , or angry.
Mindless eating occurs more when your mind is distracted or preoccupied with something else. For instance, while watching a movie when people eat a bucket of popcorn, not necessarily because they are hungry, but because everyone else is. It could also be while talking to a friend at a party when you don't keep track of your food intake.
Emotions can play a large role in mindless eating. Some individuals may turn to food as a sense of comfort when sad or may potentially eat when bored. Thus, evaluating your hunger is important when you catch yourself snacking mindlessly. Eating out your feeling shouldn’t be your go-to coping mechanism.
Cravings are not about food. Cravings are about stress.
How To Avoid Mindless Eating
Mindless eating occurs when your brain associates food with the environment or time, and you act out of instinct. It harms your daily routine, weight loss journey, energy levels, and even lifestyle.
Practicing mindful eating is a great way to curb your cravings or afternoon slump munchies at work. It is a great way to take charge of your health and maintain a healthy eating regimen, further eliminating those mindless eating habits that may cause overconsumption.
Here are a few ways you can avoid mindless eating or snacking -
Acknowledge the importance of snacks for a healthy meal routine
Make a proper snack time in your schedule.
Plan healthy snacks during meal prep to avoid overeating and to get in tune with your hunger cues
Control your portion and savor every bite
Create a healthy work environment when you are eating, avoid distractions like screen time or engaging in a conversation
"The average person during the course of an average day makes over 200 food-related decisions," says Wansink, author of Mindless Eating.
5 Ways To Curb Mindless Snacking At Work
Practicing mindful eating or maintaining a healthy diet at work can be a challenge. Temptation comes in all sizes, such as candies or soft drinks in vending machines, takeout or convenient fast food, and even snacks in desk drawers. If you work in an office, you must have noticed how random office treats wind up on your table, not to mention how free food can definitely lure you into eating food, even when you are not hungry.
Again, if you have a stressful job, you are more likely to engage in emotional mindless eating. Stress can make you confide in comfort food, which reduces your cortisol levels, but it can further negatively affect your health if not taken in moderation.
Social elements at work also influence your eating habits, especially if you have colleagues who are foodies. The afternoon slump is another factor that makes it hard for you to avoid mindless snacking at work.
“The mindless margin” which is a span of about 200 calories that can make the difference between gaining 10 pounds in a year or losing 10 pounds in a year, according to Wansink.He calls it mindless is because our brain and body won’t even notice that the 100 calories are missing. In fact, he says 20% is the magic number.
Here are five simple strategies that can curb mindless eating and help you practice mindful eating at work -
1. Avoid Multitasking Or Distractions At Work
It's tempting to eat while you're working, watching something at work, or even talking with your colleagues, but that will only make you unaware of your calorie consumption.
According to research, it can interfere with mindful eating or eating enough to satisfy your hunger without going overboard. Thus, make sure you pay attention to your food while eating.
2. Avoid Walking While Eating.
The more time you spend walking or roaming in the office while eating during your lunch hours, the more food you will consume without realizing it. While walking or conversing with your colleagues or friends, you do not pay much attention to the food you are eating causing you to consume more calories without even realizing it.
Therefore, you should always sit down when eating. You will pay more attention to how much food you eat when you focus on it.
Suggested Read : 7 Employee Wellness Topics for Lunch and Learn Sessions
3. Conscious Eating
Being more mindful of what you eat when at work is the key to stopping binge eating. When you pay more attention to what you eat, you are more aware of what food you like and what you don't. You can also keep a track of your meals consumed by using fitness apps like Vantage Fit, where you can log your daily meals and keep a track of your calories intake.
When you're more mindful, you distinguish between foods you love and enjoy and mediocre food. You may enjoy dessert, but you are picky about what you consider to be worth your time.
Suggested read 17 Best Probiotics for Gut Health in Corporate Employees
4. Set Food Boundaries And Proportioning
Practice setting food boundaries when curbing those mindless munchies at work. Do not overindulge in office treats. And, try to treat yourself once every week instead of every day. Try to think of the most common situations where you end up eating mindlessly and then try to set some boundaries around them.
Again, eating straight from a bag or packet, whether a bag of chips, ice cream, pizza box, or any takeout, makes it too easy to eat more than you intend to. Since large containers and plates make portions feel smaller, contributes to overeating. Thus, next time you eat, part food onto a small plate or bowl and put whatever is left away — back in the fridge.
Suggested Read : 11 Practical Tips To Eat Healthy While Working From Home
5. Check In With Your Emotions.
It is important to check in with your emotions when you see yourself eating more than you should since most of the time, your desire to eat isn't always driven by physical hunger but often due to stress, dealing with anxiety, anger, or when you feel depressed at work.
So, next time you're eating, evaluate your hunger first and think twice before choosing. Are you eating because you are physically hungry, or is it simply because you are stressed, bored or procrastinating?
If you're eating because of an emotion rather than hunger, then take a pause and ask yourself what your motivation is and let it pass. Or if your emotions are too overwhelming, try communicating with your coworkers or do anything to channel your emotions positively.
Summing It Up
Therefore, bad habits are difficult to break, and mindless snacking is one of them. Online apps and social media drive today's world, and even with the pandemic, working has gone virtual, leaving us with more screen time to binge eat.
We barely have time to either sleep or eat mindfully without distractions. Hopefully, this article helped you find ways to curb your midday mindless snacking at work.
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