The first months of 2018 are over. How about your New Year’s resolutions, still going strong? Whether the answer is yes or no, we would like to give you some tips on how to stick to your resolutions. We have already discussed how to quit smoking, how to limit alcohol intake and how to create habits, in this article we share some tips to stop you from snacking.
You might have heard of it: being hangry. Being hangry is a combination of being ‘hungry’ and being ‘angry’. This ‘emotion’ started off as a joke, but there is actually a truth behind it. You get hungry when your glucose levels are low. Glucose is a nutrient that makes you feel good and provides self control. When your blood sugar level decreases, and so your glucose level, you get more sensitive and touchy. This is not only affecting your mood and social relationships, it is also no good for your diet.
Sorry for what I said when I was hungry. – Everyone
Unhealthy foods causes you to get in a vicious circle of blood sugar fluctuations. Food high in sugar will cause peaks in your blood sugar level, resulting in high declines afterwards. You will quickly feel hungry and wanting to eat something again. So keep your blood sugar level steady. Avoid added sugars and go for satisfying products. These are products high in proteins and fibre, like; whole wheat products, low fat quark or yogurt, nuts, seeds and eggs. Eat regularly and shortly after a workout. Try to eat enough veggies and do not skip breakfast!
Believe you can and you are half way there
Are you snacking not because of hunger, but because of cravings? Every once in a while it is OK to treat yourself, but once it stops feeling like a treat you are doing something wrong. It is time to get more self control! Also for self control it is also important to keep your blood sugar level steady. Fluctuations affect your hormones and so you thoughts and resilience. But even more important than that: start believing in yourself! Research has shown that when you do not (fully) believe you can stop snacking, snacking gets more important to you (Job, 2013). You start believing your own thoughts, so let them be positive!
A bag of chips on the couch, lunch behind the pc or an inbetween juice. It does not give you enough satisfaction and saturation. You do not taste it and you do not give you body enough time and attention to digest it.
But how do you do it, mindful eating? Firstly, you have to listen to your body: How do you feel, are you feeling hungry? Would a bowl of yogurt reduce your appetite or is it a bar of chocolate that you are craving for? It is OK to crave chocolate (every once in awhile), but it is not a good idea to choose chocolate when you are feeling hungry. Eat slowly and consciously. How does it taste, does it satisfy you? Stop when you do not like it and go for something that does satisfy you. Keep listening to your body and stop when you feel full.
Ghrelin is the hormone of hunger. Your body produces the hormone to tell you to eat something. In other words: the more ghrelin you produce, the bigger your appetite. A bigger appetite will result in snacking. Your ghrelin level increases when you skip meals and sleep too little. So having enough structure is very important! The production of ghrelin gets inhibited by proteins, so make sure to eat enough foods that are high in proteins. An average person needs at least 80% of the total body weight in grams of protein a day. So if you weigh 70 kilograms, you need at least 56 grams of protein a day. Foods high in protein are dairy products, chicken or turkey, nuts, quinoa and legumes.