Stop the Mindless Munching

Do you ever find yourself mindlessly munching from the candy bowl while working on a project, or continually reaching into a bag of chips while catching up on email? If you snack while working, it is easy to eat large quantities of food without even noticing! Instead, use these tips for mindful eating to get the most satisfaction out of every bite.

  • Separate mealtime from work time. This is one of the simplest, yet most effective changes you can make. Instead of eating at your desk, make it a habit to go to the lunchroom or break room to enjoy your meals and snacks. Take a seat at a table and simply enjoy your food. Don’t check your email or browse social media on your phone. Simply sit and savor your food. This practice will help center you and increase your satisfaction from meals, reducing the likelihood that you will reach for snacks throughout the day.
  • Tune in to true hunger. Do you know the difference between hunger and appetite? Hunger is the drive to fulfill a physiological need for energy and nutrients, while appetite reflects the desire to eat at any given point in time. Be attuned with your own body’s hunger cues. The next time you walk by the baked goods stand at work, ask yourself, am I hungry? If so, how hungry? If only potato chips seem appealing and an apple doesn’t –than you’re not truly hungry. Pass up the sweets and ride out the craving until it passes.
  • Enjoy whole foods. Processed foods like chips, crackers, and candies are often designed to quickly dissolve in your mouth. These foods are digested and absorbed almost immediately, leaving you feeling empty and unsatisfied shortly afterwards. In contrast, whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, are full of fiber, which keeps you full and satisfied for much longer. When you peruse the snack cabinets at work–ask yourself, is this real whole food, or pre-digested ingredients? Don’t let the food companies outsmart your health!

If you think your work environment is holding you back from making healthier food choices, strategize and put a plan of action in place. Choose 1-2 focus areas each week and schedule ways to improve them into your work calendar. For example, if your kitchen area only stocks processed foods, schedule a meeting with the office manager to discuss purchasing healthier options.

Keep in mind, nobody is perfect, and there will be times when you give in to your old mindless eating behaviors. Always try to look at the big picture and try your best to stay on track. Some of us have the all-or-nothing mentality that may be dangerous – Once you’ve given in to a candy bar at your desk, you think, “Well, I’ve already failed, might as well go for the milk shake and some donuts”. But remember, even after falling off the wagon for a split second, or a whole day, you can always jump back on it!

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