Do you ever find yourself wanting to snack when you aren’t really hungry? This happens to me while I’m working since I tend to bring a big jar of nuts to the office for a healthy snack.
The thing is that a handful sometimes turns into two (or three), all within a few hours. This tends to happen when my mind is racing to think, to complete a deadline, or when I am engrossed reading the fine print in a contract.
It would be fine if it happened just at the office, once in a while, but at home, I have another big jar of nuts that tends to empty faster than I can get more at the store. Nuts are one of my favorite snacks, but sometimes I consume more than I should and snack time just turned into an indulgence (chocolate covered almonds, anyone?).
As part of my participation in Aetna’s #Mindful30 program, I’m using of their tips to help me reduce stress. I’ve been working hard this last month to be more mindful of my own thoughts, to be more aware of stressful moments, and even establishing a morning and evening routine to reduce stress.
So far, I’m feeling great. I’ve only missed one of my quick meditations, and I now look forward to them with my morning cup of coffee.
In the evenings, I’m not rushing on autopilot anymore; I’ve become conscious of what the chaos triggers that are happening around the house and I’m focusing on doing one thing at a time to accomplish more.
But sometimes, I over snack on almonds and cashews (my favorite). So I need to be more mindful of this and ask myself whether it’s mindless eating or, perhaps I’m thirsty. To drink more water is always a good rule of thumb.
Today’s Tip is to purge the urge.
Stress isn’t your stomach’s best friend. Prolonged stress can release cortisol in your body making you crave foods that are high in fat or sugar. So next time you crave something that isn’t necessarily good for you; pause and notice your breathing. Take note of how your body feels as the craving begins. Replace wishing for it to go away with the knowledge that it will go away. Once it does, you’ll feel better — and feel more in control.
As I close my month of mindfulness with Aetna, I have put into action some of these tips. When I start to feel the need to snack mindlessly while I work, I now take a few deep breaths and try begin to focus on one thing at a time. It seems funny to tell myself to do something, but that is what I do. I tell myself to stop, focus on one project and when it is complete I can then move on to the next.
Since I know that nuts are my go-to snack, I’ve begun to pre-pack appropriate portions instead of having a full jar at hands reach. I’m also bringing an extra fruit or a side of veggies to the office and eliminated the bulk jar of almonds.
At home, when I feel a strong urge to snack, I first grab my big cup of water with a straw and drink. It turns out that most of the time my body is thirsty, not hungry. The bonus: I’m getting a lot more water per day than I used to, and that is also making me feel great physically.
What is your go-to mindless snacking indulgence, do you have one?
This post was sponsored by Aetna, who believes health is about the body and the mind. Stress can affect emotional and physical health, and reducing stress can boost wellbeing. As part of their #Mindful30 challenge, the views and opinions expressed in my posts on the topic of mindfulness are my own, not Aetna’s. To learn more about mindfulness, visit aetnamindfulness.com.