Do you sometimes feel like you’re a bottomless pit, constantly scrounging in the kitchen for food?
You’re not alone. That’s why we asked our 12WBT Fitness Editor Daniel Swanbury, and 12WBT Nutritionist Georgie Moore for the top 10 reasons for snacking.
And for those of us who fall into these traps more than we’d like to, our experts also threw in a few easy remedies to help us say “no” to the noms!
1. You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty
Dan says: We regularly confuse thirst with hunger, so it may be you aren’t getting enough water. Make sure you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day!
Georgie says: Try having a massive drink and then wait 10-20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, have a healthy snack.
2. Are you getting enough sleep?
Dan says: If you aren’t getting your 7-8 hours of sleep a night this could be making you hungry!! Not getting enough sleep can lead to decreased production of Leptin, a key hormone in controlling appetite.
3. Has food become a habit?
Dan says: Stop eating in front of the TV, and no more crumbs in the keyboard! When you regularly eat doing a specific task you become more likely to eat when doing that again! Make sure you sit down at the table with the TV off at a regular time to eat your meals.
Georgie says: It doesn’t take long to build a habit but it seems really hard to break them. It may be your habit that when you get home you head straight to the fridge or pantry. Try putting a bell or noisy magnet on your fridge door. That way, when you head to the fridge the sound of the bell will make you stop and think “Am I really hungry?”.
Also read: Breaking Bad – 10 Steps to Change a Habit
4. Is alcohol causing you to eat more?
Dan says: You drink, you binge, you drink, you binge! Alcohol lowers inhibitions so it’s a given that when you’ve been drinking common sense won’t kick in and stop you consuming that fat-riddled, grease-dripping slice of pepperoni pizza.
5. Are you skipping meals?
Dan says: Stop skipping meals, especially breakfast! Obviously skipping a meal makes you hungry and allows your body to produce more Ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone. This means you are more likely to gorge yourself later in the day. Moral: Eat breakfast.
Georgie says: We’ve all been there. Skip lunch and once you get home you just can’t stop eating. Once you finally stop, you realise that you’ve eaten too much. Chances are they were pretty high-energy foods too.
6. Is stress making you eat more?
Dan says: When you are unhappy or stressed you’re more likely to binge on something. This comes from when we are kids and food is used to comfort and soothe, especially fatty and sugary foods!
Georgie says: When things go well we celebrate with food. When things go wrong, we console ourselves with food. Rather than eating your emotions, go for a walk, or crank up the music and dance around the house pushing the vacuum cleaner. If you’ve had a really bad day, go to a boxing class. Whatever you do, don’t just start eating!
Also read: Is Stress Making you Fat?
7. You’re training harder
Dan says: It’s simple, you’re training hard so your body wants more fuel.
8. Boredom and/or procrastination
Dan says: Do something else. Write yourself a list of tasks that you need to do and stick it on the fridge. That way instead of opening the fridge for food, you can remind yourself of something else to do instead.
Georgie says: “Just having a little treat” is a classic way to procrastinate. Putting off cleaning the bathroom? Have a cup of tea and a biscuit. Putting off the ironing? A cup of tea and a slice of cake before hand is a great idea… you get the picture!
9. You’re eating the wrong thing
Dan says: You eat nutrient empty foods. When you consume nutrient rich food that contains more fibre, protein and water, you feel fuller for longer. As compared to sugary and carbohydrate filled foods like chips! If you want seriously tasty food that’s carefully calorie-controlled, check out our library of over 900 recipes.
10. Are you eating because it’s convenient
Dan says: You keep your food in arms reach at all times! Get rid of the desk drawer chocolate bars or candy bowl, that way you won’t consume these empty calories.
Georgie says: Ever sat down at a table on which there was a plate full of nuts? You’re not hungry. As you chat to your friend, you start picking at the nuts. By the end of the conversation, the entire plate is gone, and you hardly noticed yourself eating them. Solution: move the food away! The chance of you getting up to get food is a lot less than you reaching for it when it’s within arm’s reach.
In addition to Georgie and Dan we have a whole team of experts who work tirelessly behind the scenes at 12WBT to answer your questions and provide advice.