We all do it. When we’re bored, lonely, frustrated, uncomfortable – just about any negative feeling at all – we reach for a snack. It may be habit, it may be ‘socially acceptable’ or it may be the result of years of conditioning, but there it is. We’ve grown to equate food with comfort. There are some situations that are more likely to provoke us to reach for a snack – can you watch a movie without popcorn, for instance? Recognizing some of them in advance and heading them off can take a little planning, but you CAN reprogram the conditioning that has you reaching for a candy bar when someone hurts your feelings. Here are five situations that almost scream for a snack – and things you can do instead.
Instead of popcorn at the movies, reach for your date’s hand. He’ll never guess that you’re holding his hand to keep yours out of the popcorn.
Always reach for a bag of chips midmorning at your desk? Your body does need a mid-morning pick-me-up to keep you going, but chips aren’t the way to go. Instead of a walk to the candy machine, grab the mail and walk to the post office, or take a walk to the copy machine. A brisk walk does wonders for your energy level, and if you can get outside that’s all the better.
Can’t watch television in the evening without snacking on whatever’s handy? Give your hands something to do. Take up knitting or crocheting. It can keep your hands to busy to dip into the snack bowl. Added bonus? A new sweater, afghan or a very special gift for a favorite niece.
What’s a carnival without fried dough? Less fattening! Instead of the cotton candy and popcorn, reach for more fun. Head for the nearest ride you’ve been afraid to climb aboard.
Are late-night snacks your downfall? If you find yourself craving food in the middle of the night when no one else is around, you may just need a little company. Try an online game or chat room to keep your mind busy till you’re sleepy enough to head for bed.
Do you reach for a candy bar or the tub of ice cream when you’re feeling hurt or angry? Instead, reach for the DVDs. Pull out your favorite tear-jerker and have yourself a good cry. Even better – instead of sublimating, face your anger. Reach for a pen and write a nasty letter, or spill it all to your LJ.
Finally, don’t forget that sometimes, when your body wants a snack it’s because it needs a snack. Keep a variety of healthy snack foods around so that when the cravings hit, you can fill up on something healthy.