The only consistent thing about iso seems to be the amount of food we’re consuming – which is more than usual for most. Here, trainer Tiffiny Hall shares her best tips for combating emotional eating from her new book Snack Power.
We’ve all eaten when we weren’t hungry. I have, of course I have! Everyone experiences moments of zombie snacking, but eating these types of snacks has never kept me on track with my goals.
It’s really easy to over-snack with a treat here and there, free snacks in the work kitchen or a little something-something while you’re cooking dinner. Over time, this zombie snacking can undo all your hard work—no matter how many times a week you exercise. I’m not the snack police (promise!), but I am going to break down two ways that snacking can sabotage your healthy lifestyle.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
Occasionally, using food to make yourself feel better is okay. But when it becomes habitual, it can affect our health and leave us feeling crappy. There are many reasons why we emotionally snack (stress, hormones, anxiety, boredom), but food is not the antidote. It’s important to find other things that make you feel happy or comforted and draw from these instead.
Snacking in the dark
I’ve been guilty of this one. Whether you’re working late or lying in bed thinking about everything, it’s easy to head to the fridge and snack on the first thing you see. Eating well beyond bedtime can lead to poor food choices and bad sleep hygiene, as we tend to reach for sugar snacks late at night and these disrupt our sleep.
Your body will keep you up while it works on digesting the food, and this can lead to weight gain because we aren’t active in the night and are therefore more likely to store those late-night snacks as fat.
Next time you think you need a snack, it’s worth doing a quick head check.
1. The mental check-in
Ask yourself, How am I feeling right now? And be specific with the question by tagging on whatever it is you are doing in that specific moment. How am I feeling right now (as I stand in the pantry after the kids are in bed)? Am I hungry or am I just super tired?
2. Body scan
Your body will speak to you if you listen. Are your shoulders tense? Is your jaw tight? Are you clenching your toes? Do you have body aches or a headache? Are your muscles heavy and tired? Do a quick body scan of how you are feeling right now.
Nearly everyone I meet isn’t breathing correctly. Yep, there’s a wrong way to breathe. Shallow chest breaths will make you feel stressed and can increase cravings. Breathing right is the best advice I can give you. Take a full, deep breath into your diaphragm. Focus on the inhale for five seconds, and then on the exhale for five seconds. This will help de-clutter and de-stress your mind. Focus on expanding your ribcage as you breathe and breathing down to your belly. The more you practise this, the easier the process will become—promise!
No matter your mood, the snacks in this chapter will help you feel great. Some give you stamina and energy by keeping blood glucose levels stable, others provide a brain boost via their positive effect on the gut with fibre and prebiotics. And others are pure comfort; they will put a smile on your face because they taste amazing.
Edited text from Snack Power by Tiffiny Hall. Murdoch Books RRP $32.99 via Booktopia. Out now.