Snacking on junk food is obviously an unhealthy habit. Your extra snacks – the little bit here, the little bit there over the course of your the day – could be the source of those extra calories that are keeping those extra pounds on you that you have been trying to lose.
Often, we snack on “empty calories”, that is foods or drinks that are sugars or fats that don’t do anything to help our metabolism or make us healthier. They just indulge unhealthy cravings, give us something to do because we are bored or try to fill an empty emotional hole that no snack could ever remedy.
But remember that snacking in general is not bad for you. You have already learned about how healthy AM and PM snacks help to keep your metabolic fire going and to prevent overeating at your regular meals. Snacking on junk is what can be a problem for you. Cookies, cakes, crackers, pretzels, chips, sodas, candy, chocolates, and little tastes of the ice cream in the freezer all taste really good but you will never be as healthy as you want to be if these are your snacks.
A much better snack is a piece of fruit, some cut up veggies or a handful of nuts for protein. Try making yourself a cup of tea or try drinking a glass of water instead. If you are feeling like you need to nosh on something, try chewing a piece of gum instead. That often satisfies the feeling of wanting to eat because your mouth is working on something but you are not taking in excessive calories.
Often we snack not because we are hungry at all, but because we are eating emotionally. We eat because we are anxious, depressed, lonely or, most of the time, just because we are bored!
The next time you are snacking, ask yourself:
- “Why am I having this snack?”
- “Am I hungry? Or am I bored?”
- “Am I feeling anxious about something?”
- “Do I feel like I want this snack as a reward for something?”
- “Am I just unconsciously snacking in front of TV or at my desk right now and I am not even realizing it?”
You will never satisfy an emotional craving with a food. Journal about what is on your mind for a few minutes. Spend some time tidying up something around your house or desk. Pick up the phone and connect with a friend. You will feel much more invigorated by stretching for a few minutes or by going for a quick walk around the block than if you stuff your face with sweets or salts. And you will be that much more healthy because of it.
*Exerpted from the Being Well Lifestyles Home Study Course by Dr. Jay Warren.
Drawing on over two decades of experience as a hands-on holistic practitioner, Dr. Jay Warren is a primary healthcare provider and licensed chiropractor in the San Diego area. He has spent tens of thousands of clinical hours helping his patients achieve their optimal health potential through holistic approaches bolstered by years of personal experimentation, education and research. Dr. Jay creates customized plans integrating exercise, nutrition and stress management strategies to overcome a myriad of health challenges. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.DrJayWarren.com.