If the swath of time between Halloween and New Year’s feels like a months-long grazing session, you’re probably not alone. During the holidays especially, most of us are guilty of eating something not because we’re famished…but because it’s there. And it’s Aunt Linda’s fudge, and you only get it once a year. And it’s delicious!
This phenomenon explains why many of us also pack on unwanted pounds during he holidays, and that’s never fun. One of the best ways to stave off gaining weight (and this goes for the whole year!) is to resist the urge to eat when we’re really not hungry. Let’s tackle the 5 biggest reasons people reach for something even if they’re perfectly satisfied.
Maybe it’s a special occasion.
It’s mom’s cornbread dressing she only makes at Thanksgiving. Or it’s your office Christmas party. Or it’s a NYE potluck at your neighbor’s house. The thing is, most of us don’t have 2 or 3 special occasions every year — we have dozens and dozens. Anything can turn into a special occasion: your daughter’s graduating from kindergarten, your spouse got a promotion, your friends just got engaged, your dog finally mastered the art of potty training. EVERYTHING can be an occasion. And if you use every one as an excuse to celebrate with food, you may find yourself shopping for new jeans by year’s end.
Maybe you’re bored.
You’re not hungry. Or sleepy. You just finished your book. And there’s nothing interesting on television. Might as well go stand in front of the fridge, right? Eating is definitely an activity, and there’s no question it’s fun (and usually pretty satisfying). But a restless, wandering mind often leads right to the pantry. Take a walk instead!
Maybe there’s pressure.
We’ve all been there: standing at a party, eyeballing a beautiful spread of treats, trying our best to forget it’s there. And then you’re approached by your lovely host. “You’d better go try that crab dip. Robert made it and it’s delicious!” Or maybe your colleagues decide after a long day to go grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. You have a perfectly good chicken breast at home you could fix…but you give in and go anyway. Finding yourself in these scenarios a few times a month can add up to a pound or two, and over a year that really adds up! Don’t feel too bad about declining events where food is the main feature.
Maybe it’s because you’re sad.
A pint of ice cream + a bad breakup is now just a cliche. Food can make us feel comforted, so it’s natural if we’re feeling anxious, stressed, or sad, we reach for a piece of chocolate pie instead of thinking about a better long-term solution. An article on Today.com posits that stress can lead to a release of hunger hormones, and once that response is triggered, your body will start looking for more nourishment — even though it may not need all those extra calories.
Maybe you’re really just thirsty.
Did you know? Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty. According to this article, a hunger cue is the same as a thirst cue? “Because the signal your body sends when it wants a tall glass of water can be mistaken for the sign it sends when you need a snack, you have to react wisely to save yourself hundreds of calories. Your best bet: have a drink first, wait to see if you’re satisfied and then eat if you are still hungry.” Our pick is to have a glass of LivingWater, which provides acid-buffering alkaline water for drinking and cooking. LivingWater has an excellent negative Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) for increased antioxidant properties.