We’ve all been there. You start watching one episode of Top Chef and before you know it, a few hours have passed and you have nothing to show for it but a dent in the couch and an empty bag of potato chips. Mindless eating is incredibly common and hard to avoid without elevating your awareness. We asked Adrianne Kartholl, RDN, CD, to share her tips for breaking this bad habit once and for all and how food journaling might play a role.
Mindless eating can result from many environmental and emotional factors in a person’s life. As registered dietitian-nutritionists, we talk with patients interested in losing weight about how to listen to their bodies. Eat when you are truly hungry, and stop when you feel satisfied. We often educate on hunger cues, such as irritability, shakiness, light-headedness, hunger pangs, etc. We often remind individuals that feeling “satisfied” at the end of the meal, does not equate to feeling miserably full.
We also encourage patients to be in the moment when enjoying a meal. Eat at the table, not in front of the TV, computer screen or while browsing your phone. If you aren’t paying attention to what you’re eating, you are also less likely to pay attention to how much you are eating. This can result in excessive intake of calories and subsequent weight gain.
It’s also extremely helpful to keep a food journal. We encourage a balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein. One very helpful way to see what and how much you are eating is to write it all down each day. MyFitnessPal is a highly recommended tracking app. Individuals can create a personal profile and track meals, snacks and physical activity. Seeing what you are eating every day provides an increased level of awareness, which makes journaling an effective tool in aiding in weight loss.