For a long time I felt like I ate pretty well, but my snack-habits totally let me down.
If I could just get my snacking sorted, I’d tell myself, then I would be an awesome healthy eater or… dear I say it, a ‘perfect’ healthy eater.
Well after two kids, a major body redesign (sigh, but truly thank you for birthing my babies Lord), and a major intuitive eating epiphany, I’m here to tell you that there is no ‘perfect’ healthy eater. And I’m sure as heck not one.
But nor do I want to be nowadays. I’ve hung up my perfectionist crown, along with the obsessive healthy eating.
What I do want to be, like you, is someone who brings the same mindful thinking and intention to my snacks as I do to my main meals.
Why is it that you can nail your hunger and fullness at main meals? Choose awesome, satisfying and nourishing foods for main meals? But all hell breaks loose (literally and metaphorically) at snack time still?
I have personal experience with most of these (okay all of them, ahem). So welcome to my list!
The thing is, we can’t hope to fix everything overnight – this is a life-long journey. So take a look through my list, find your number one issue and focus on that ONE thing.
Here we go:
1. You’re still stuck in an all or nothing diet mindset – you still think you should be “eating clean” or “eating healthy” and so you feel bad about the idea of snacking, and especially snacking on anything that isn’t a “superfood”. Once you start you can’t stop – because this feels like the last chance you’ll get to snack on something fun and yummy!
Tip – It’s time to ditch the diet mindset, diets don’t work, and you don’t need to be perfect. Remind yourself that you can snack on this food ANY day or time you like, you don’t need to eat piles of it now and give it up tomorrow. You’re free to eat it again tomorrow and next week, so relax and let go of that death grip you’ve got on the cookie bag.
2. You snack mindlessly – you’re not focused on your food, you’re focused on your phone, your TV, or both. You don’t even know how many mouthfuls you’ve eaten, it’s not until you hit the bottom of the cookie bag that you realise you’re even eating.
Tip – It’s time to ditch the distractions and focus on your snack time, until you’ve broken the habit of mindless eating.
3. You’re eating for emotional reasons, not physical hunger – you’ll never feel “full” because it’s not a physical hunger that you’re feeding, it’s an emotional hunger. As long as you don’t find a better way to cope with those emotions, you’ll keep eating way past full.
Tip – It’s time to discover some new tools for dealing with those tough emotions.
4. You’re not satisfied with your food – the food could be really nice, but if its not what you truly want, you just are never going to feel satisfied and so you’ll keep eating trying to reach that satisfaction point (and wondering why it never comes).
Tip – You need to start honouring your true food desires – eat what you truly want and you’ll likely find you eat a lot less overall.
5. You’re bored with your meals and snacks – you’re so tired of eating the same food, the same main meals and snacks, its all so boring that it never seems to fill your tummy.
Tip – It’s time to experiment and try some new foods, get out of the rut and really engage with some new and exciting ingredients, meals and snacks. You’ll be amazed at how more enjoyable meal and snack times are when you’ve got something new and exciting to eat AND you’ll probably eat less if your meal is satisfying.
6. You’re bored with life – you’re feeling unfulfilled, you haven’t achieved what you wanted this year in your personal or professional life, you feel like your life is stuck in a rut, so you turn to food to fill that hole in your life. But no amount of food can fill that hole.
Tip – Grab a pen and a journal, to sit down and write out what you’re feeling and what you truly need. It isn’t another cookie, so what do you really want from your life?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your eating habits be rebuilt in a day. Give yourself grace and a lot of compassion as you begin to change.