Probably half or more of the excess calories people ingest comes from snacking. Eating while watching television, or at any activity that is not a meal time, has been shown to be insidious in terms of taking in far more calories than we think. I read Cornell professor Brian Winsink’s book Mindless Eating a couple of years ago and determined then to stop eating while watching television, for I knew we did too much snacking this way; but when I read the research Winsink details about how bad this habit really is, I knew we had to make a change, even though it is not easy to change bad habits as we all know.
For the last two plus years, with few exceptions, my spouse and I have not eaten while watching the television. I make sure we have some innocuous beverage like seltzer or tea to drink which satisfies that old urge while not ceding to the mindless eating.
Even if the food is good for you, snacking is not good. Snacking is a sign that either you are not eating good meals, perhaps not eating good food, or it’s a bad habit often stimulated by seeing food advertisements or people eating and drinking on the programs, which triggers that non-thinking limbic brain evolution programmed in us to eat whenever food was available.
I won’t kid you that it takes some effort to break a bad habit, but after 3-4 weeks you cease to feel the need for the food, especially if you can find alternate behaviors like drinking some safe liquids, or doing something calming like knitting which I do, though I knit poorly, still it produces some scarves and easy afghans.
The main point is to realize that snacking is not the way to get your calories. We need to make sure we get good meals, concentrate our food energy in making meals important family or personal time. I admit I sometimes eat a meal with a magazine propped in front of me if I’m on my own, but feel at least I am making the effort to have a sit-down meal.
No one is perfect in this area, but once you know that you can probably lose 10+pounds by simply stopping snacking, then it makes the process a lot easier.
Yours in trying to improve,
Nan aka Sugarbaby