If you are struggling with snacking too much, you are not alone. There may be times when you feel that you just can't stop going back to kitchen every five minutes.
As a result, you may simply end up eating too much. Even if you are eating so-called healthy foods, too much of anything will add up.
I know that I do better with having larger meals and less snacks. I do have a snack here and there, but in general, I prefer to eat full meals. However, there are days when I'm feeling snackier than others.
Why Is It Hard To Stop Snacking?
I have noticed a few things that make me want to snack more:
I Start My Day with Snacky Foods. That's a weird thing, but that's so true: The way I start my day, the way it goes on.
For example, my recent go-to meal in the mornings is scrambled eggs with spinach and avocado. There are good protein and fats in it, plus some greens. This meal makes me full for several hours. If I don't get that fat and protein, I'm back in kitchen pretty soon, feeling like I need “a little snack”.
Eating larger meals is also easier for my mind, because I eat, stop and can sit down to do whatever I need to do, without getting distracted by hunger pretty soon again.
But if my first meal of a day is a bite of something, maybe an apple with nut butter or sometimes a Quest bar, it doesn't keep me full for too long. Not only that, but after starting my day this way, I want to keep snacking. This small bite is simply not enough, and I feel that I have to have something more. It's hard to stop.
I Eat Too Many Carbs with Breakfast. My breakfast carbs never mean cereal or bread or bagels. But sometimes I have way more carbs than protein and fat in my first meal. For example, I could have a half of a sweet potato or banana. As a result, I tend to crave more carbs throughout the day, so I find myself snacking more fruit, raisins, dates and all the other carbs, and it also triggers my sweet tooth.
There's in nothing wrong with carbs. But I have noticed that if I have a very carb-heavy breakfast, I want to keep eating. I don't get that satiation that I get from foods that are richer in protein and fat.
I Didn't Eat Enough During the Day. Okay, that usually doesn't happen to me, because I have no problem with eating enough. The times when I used to watch and panic about every calorie, are over. I want to eat food, not calories 🙂
But, if it happens that for some reason I haven't eaten enough during the day, it catches up on me later. I've seen it happening to so many people, especially women who don't accidentally forget to eat, but who pretty much starve themselves throughout the day. When they finally get home to eat, they either
1) feel that they deserve all the foods because they've been good all day or
2) despite trying to desperately not to eat anything anymore that day, they can't stop. The result is the same–they keep snacking and snacking and snacking, at eventually end up eating back all the calories they tried to avoid all day, and more.
If that's you, please start eating proper meals throughout the day. That's a great help if you want to get your snacking under control.
I Ran a Long Distance. Running is fun, but it makes me so hungry. There are usually two options:
1) Right after finishing my run, I'm so hungry that I need to eat something as soon as I get home. Which is totally fine, it's good to eat after your workout. But again, running often makes me extremely hungry. It would be wrong to imagine that I'm free to eat three chocolate bars, but that's exactly what I may want to do.
2) If I'm not hungry after a long run and can't or don't want to eat, the hunger will still catch up on me later. So, by the evening, I'm ravenous. I mostly crave salty stuff, because I've sweated a lot. In the past, I used to eat a lot of salted cashews, peanut butter filled pretzels, olives and cheese.
Yup, you can't out exercise a bad diet. There are so many people who pick up running in hopes to lose weight but eventually end up gaining weight. They just don't realize that they shouldn't be eating that much, but it may be hard to stop.
I'm not running all that much anymore–maybe once or twice a week, but I definitely find myself hungrier on the days when I'm running.
I'm Stressed. Many of us have done that: When there's a problem that you either don't want to deal with or you have no idea how to do it, eating seems like a good idea.
It's not a surprise for you, but really, eating is not going to solve the cause of your problem. It's not going to fix your relationships or get done the work that you had to finish by yesterday.
Turning to snacking instead of actually trying to figure out the real problem is is such an easy–and tasty! way to go. But if you do that, you usually don't eat just one muffin, two pieces of chocolate or a couple of tablespoons of nut butter. You turn into a snacking monster and have to finish up all the food.
That's only to realize that it didn't solve your problem and now you have a stomach ache on top of your other issues.
Luckily, that doesn't really happen to me too much anymore. It used to, and that was a perfect situation for bingeing.
Way simpler said than done, but trying to prevent super stressful situations and through that, having less stress in your life, saves you from that insane eating.
I Don't Sleep Well. That's still a problem for me. While I can control the other things–eating protein and fats with breakfast, trying to keep my stress level in check, running less–I don't always sleep that well.
I've been trying to figure out why that is, but I haven't yet found one and only answer. What I do know, however, is that if I don't get enough sleep hours or the quality of my sleep is bad, I'm less in tune with my body and can't hear what it wants. I may end up snacking too much, because I think that I'm hungry.
Snacking can be good or bad thing. Having a snack may help you to keep your blood sugar levels even, so that you don't overeat at your bigger meals.
But snacking can also get hard to control and when we overdo it, it may ruin the hard work that we put into our workouts. Especially when your goal is to lose some fat, but can't stop constant snacking, you're not getting too far.
There are some things that may help you if you want to snack less: Have more protein and fat in the morning, avoid too many carbs in the morning, make sure that you eat proper meals and not just small bites, reduce your stress and try to get a good night sleep. For me, those things work best.
Are you a snacker? Have you noticed things that trigger your snacking?