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To help! I can’t stop snacking!

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The good news: After a difficult year and a half, many people are finding their way back to something like “normal” (even if it is a new normal).

The bad news: We acquire some not-so-useful habits during our time underground. You are not alone if you are coming out of your cocoon feeling a little worse from wear and tear!

There is no better time than the present to start shedding those bad habits and get back to being the glorious butterfly that you are supposed to be. For many people, the number one priority is getting their eating back on track.

“Help, I can’t stop itching!”

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this in the last few months. We are surprised? With all of us stuck at home, bored, overwhelmed, and in close proximity to the kitchen, snack attacks were likely to occur.

Let me put it on the record that I say I don’t think snacking is always a problem. Yes, we are big fans of intermittent fasting in these places, and snacking is widely maligned in the world of ancestral health in general. I haven’t forgotten that Mark’s most recent book is called Two meals a day!

There is no denying that some people get significant health benefits when they start eating less often. At the same time, the empirical evidence for or against snacks is decidedly contradictory. Some studies show that small meals or frequent snacking impair weight loss, glycemic control, appetite regulation, and several health markers. Others find snacking to be neutral or even beneficial for these same parameters.

As for the argument that “humans are not meant to eat snacks”, depending on their food environments, our Paleolithic ancestors probably “ate snacks” while looking for plants that did not need to cook. Are you telling me that all those delicious berries made it back to camp? I do not think so. However, that is not at all what snacks look like today. Where modern humans have problems is with the excessive consumption of pro-inflammatory, low-quality and highly palatable foods. That concept would have been totally foreign to our ancestors, but it’s what most people mean when they say they “can’t stop snacking.”

If you’re stuck in the snacking routine, here are six things to consider:

Stop eating strategies

Configure your environment for success

The lowest thing about ripe fruit is getting rid of the snacks in its environment. By “sandwiches,” I mean the ones you have a hard time avoiding even when you’re not hungry. Those that you eat out of boredom or that you consume without thinking. Foods that make you ask, “Why do I keep eating this?” even as you keep putting more in your mouth.

This can be a challenge when you live with people who disagree with the way you eat. Family members and roommates can say they are supportive. When the rubber hits the road and you try to throw away all the chips, they are suddenly less excited. If you can’t get rid of unsupportive foods, the best thing to do is get them out of your sight. Designate a cabinet “not for me” and do not open it. Ask your roommates to keep certain foods in your room. Place a snack rack in the garage instead of the pantry.

If the snacks mysteriously end up in your cart when you shop, Take advantage of online grocery shopping and curbside pickup. You are less likely to make impulse purchases this way. Try not to shop when you are hungry or emotionally vulnerable.

Practice mindful snacking

At its core, mindful eating is about tuning in to what we eat. As with any mindfulness practice, the goal is non-judgmental awareness. When you eat mindfully, you pay attention to the flavors and aromas of your food, the pleasure (or lack thereof) you are getting in the moment, and the feelings of fullness. These observations help you choose foods that make you feel good and eat the right amount of food for your body.

When it comes to curbing mindless snacking, the first step can be as simple as asking yourself: “Do I really want this?” If the answer is anything other than “Definitely!” pause.

Mindless snacking has a lot in common with cravings, as both are often motivated by motivations other than hunger. Understanding why Entering the kitchen again allows you to make an informed decision. Are you hungry or in need of movement, mental stimulation, rest, or comfort? A handful of salty nut mix is ​​delicious, but it’s not the solution if your problem is that you slept four hours last night, your boss scolded you on a Zoom call, or you are totally and completely above the boredom of living. through a global pandemic.

Maybe you is it so just a little hungry. In that case, enjoy the trail mix without judgment and without distraction. Step away from your laptop and take a few minutes to focus on eating. Savor your snack, then stop when you’ve had enough. But if you are not, what make Do you need to fill the void that you were going to try to fill with snacks?

Restructure your meals

If you’re frequently hungry between meals, chances are you’re just not getting enough at mealtime.

People who practice intermittent fasting may be especially susceptible to eating less. Based on the questions we receive in our Facebook communities, many people struggle to eat enough calories, and especially enough protein, in a compressed eating window. Eating with a slight caloric deficit might not be a problem depending on your goals. However, not getting enough protein will stumble you, if for no other reason that you are unlikely to feel satiated (but for other reasons as well).

Meal frequency (how many meals?) And meal timing (when do you eat them?) Are important to your health, but neither matter as much as eating enough nutrient-dense foods. That means if you’re struggling to eat one or two meals a day, adding a third meal or a substantial snack between meals is probably the right decision. Yes, even if you have to expand your window to eat.

Likewise, if you’re delaying your first meal until you’re completely hungry, you may be digging yourself into a hunger hole that you can’t get out of no matter how much you eat later in the day. Consider eating earlier in the day and make sure your first meal is a large one. I like the taste of fatty coffee as much as the next person, but it’s not a meal.

Choose support snacks

If you are having a snack, opt for your typical Primal food instead of “sandwiches”. Based on studies that found snacking to be beneficial, it’s better to eat whole foods rather than hyper-processed foods, which is no wonder, and include some protein or fiber for satiety.

When it is possible, treat snacks more like small meals. Choose the same foods that you would eat at a meal, but less. Primal-friendly on-the-go options include:

  • Dried meat, biltong
  • Walnuts
  • greek yogurt
  • Full fat cottage cheese
  • Boiled eggs
  • Avocado
  • Vegetables and sauce

Check out these previous posts for more ideas:

Try the “snack movement”

Before you have a snack, try moving your body for a few minutes. A short break to exercise can dampen cravings and distract you if you’re feeling down from boredom or discomfort. If you still want a snack after you’re done, hey, at least you have a short workout.

When you think about it Micro-workouts are like motion snacks – fast, bite-sized, and satisfying.

Take a nap

Every time I write about hunger or cravings, I urge people to get more sleep. Today is no different. Lack of sleep increases the desire to snack. And, when you’re tired, you’re less likely to gravitate toward the supportive snack options listed above. You will be attracted to foods that are more energy dense and rich in carbohydrates.

The bottom line is that it will be difficult to break the habit of snacking if you are chronically tired or if you do not eat, literally or figuratively.

About the Author

Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior writer and community manager for Primal Nutrition, a certified Primal Health trainer, and a co-author of three keto cookbooks.

As a writer for Mark’s Daily Apple and a leader in the thriving Keto Reset and Primal Endurance communities, Lindsay’s job is to help people learn the what, why and how to lead a health-centered life. Before joining the Primal team, he earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in Personality and Social Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also worked as a researcher and instructor.

Lindsay lives in Northern California with her sports-obsessed husband and two sons. In his spare time, he enjoys blazing fast runs, triathlon, camping, and game nights. Follow us on Instagram @theusefuldish as Lindsay tries to juggle work, family, and resistance training, all while maintaining a healthy balance and most of all, having fun in life. For more information visit

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