4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Avoid Mindless Eating

We all can eat mindlessly sometimes. Whether you’re watching a movie, rushing to get out the door, or eating at your desk, it can be easy not to pay attention to what you’re eating. But mindless eating can significantly increase how much you eat and lead to not feeling as full or satisfied from your meal. Here are some questions to ask yourself to avoid mindless eating in the future.

What Are My Mindless Eating Patterns?
Figuring out your mindless eating patterns is the first step. If you regularly eat meals in front of the TV, and before you know it, a whole bag of chips has disappeared, that might be your trigger area. Having a set place (like a dining room table) to eat meals is a great way to increase mindfulness because you have fewer distractions and can focus on your hunger and satiety.

Am I Eating Regularly?
Skipping meals is a surefire way to mindlessly eat the next time you’re around food. Because you’re feeling ravenous, it’s hard to mindfully decide what foods are right for nourishing your body at that time. Most people do well with eating every three to four hours — but find the schedule that works best for you.

Am I Eating Enough?
Similarly, undereating can increase your hunger and reduce mindfulness around food. Aim to have fiber, protein, and healthy fats at each meal. This can include:
  • Protein: Chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, Greek yogurt, cheese, and tofu
  • Fat: Olive oil, peanut butter, avocado, seeds, and nuts
  • Fiber: All vegetables, fruits, and whole grains like lentils, brown rice, quinoa, and beans
Am I Stressed or Upset?
Emotional eating is extremely common. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or upset, it can be challenging to determine what and how much food your body really needs. While some food can certainly be comforting in times of stress, you don’t want to rely too heavily on food to make yourself feel better. Try other stress-relieving activities, like journaling, exercising, taking a bath, calling a friend, or seeing a therapist.

The Bottom Line
Everybody eats mindlessly at some points, but there are several questions you can ask yourself to start reframing thought patterns and relearning behaviors. Nourishing your body regularly with healthy and satiating foods and working on stress management are good steps to avoid mindless eating.

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