10 Reasons Why You Eat When You’re Not Hungry (Part One).

…And what you can do about it

We’ve all done it, and  most times we don’t even realize we’re doing it.   Maybe you munch when you’re bored, or reach  into the office candy jar each time you pass by.   Perhaps when you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon you head to the vending machine for a sweet little “pick-me-up”.   All of these cause you to eat for reasons other than hunger.   No matter why food calls your name, one thing rings true:  We all eat something even when we aren’t really hungry.   Eating without thinking can destroy your weight management goals and your health, too.

Here 10 situations that encourage you to eat when you’re not hungry, plus a few tips to cope in a healthier way.

1. To Cope
Emotions are a common eating trigger.  When you’re happy you eat to celebrate.  When you’re stressed you drink a glass (or two) of wine to soothe yourself.   But if you turn to food (or drinks) for emotional reasons, you won’t resolve the underlying issues.   It may help to track your eating habits in a journal, noting your emotional state when you headed for that snack.  Writing it down may help you make a connection you hadn’t seen before, like the fact that you eat when you’re lonely or angry or at least cause you to focus on what’s blowing your eating plan.

2. Out of Boredom
Sometimes you’re just bored.  For many people, eating seems like a good solution when there’s nothing better to do; whether you graze at home on the weekends or entertain yourself with lavish dinners out.   But eating can only last for so long—and then you have an afternoon to fill!   If you know boredom is a trigger for your emotional eating, have a list of strategies in place to keep yourself busy and entertained when you don’t have anything else to do.  Catch up with an old friend, volunteer a worthwhile cause, take up a new hobby or read a book you’ve always wanted to read.  Better yet, make your boredom-buster an active endeavor, such as trying yoga or going for a walk with the kids.

3. Because Others Are Eating
When you’re out enjoying a dinner with family or friends, it can be easy to overindulge—especially if you’re wrapped up in conversation.  It’s even easier to indulge when others around you are indulging, too.  It makes you feel like you fit in, and that it’s OK since everyone else is doing it.   Instead of joining in when your friends devour a second basket of bread or chips, order another glass of ice water.  If they order desert,  offer to split it with someone and only eat 2 bites.  Studies show you get 90% of the satisfaction in those first two bites.  I bet you won’t miss the rest.

4. Because It’s There
Have a candy jar at the office that you can’t get past?  Do you feel powerless to pass up food at a party, even if you’ve already eaten?    Any food that is nearby, visible and easily accessible is hard for anyone to turn down.  If you’re can’t get rid of the trigger food altogether, move it out of sight—you’ll be less likely to grab a handful.  So if you buy a bag of Snackwells, put them on a high shelf at the back of the cabinet—not on the counter.  When you’re already full and food is out at a party, stand with your back to the table or in another room.

5.  Because It’s a Special Occasion
If you work in a big office or have a big family, it seems like every day is someone’s birthday or anniversary.  And if those celebrations often involve sweets, treats or alcohol, then every party is a calorie-laden minefield for you.  If you don’t want to offend, take a piece of cake and split it with someone, or take a small piece, eat two bites (you get 90% of the satisfaction) and discreetly toss the rest.    Remember: Celebrations are about the people, not the food.  If you do best without temptation, skip the gathering altogether or bring your own low-cal treat.

If any of these sound like you put these tips to use now and start losing weight today!

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.