12 Things to Do Instead of Mindlessly Snack

Article posted in: Lifestyle
distressed female searching for an interesting show on TV

We’ve all been there: The week is over and it’s finally time to relax, but while binge watching your favorite Netflix show, you get the urge to binge eat. You’ve had your meals, four servings of veggies and perfectly portioned sensible snacks. But you just can’t fight the urge to nibble.

Or what about those afternoons at work when you’re waiting for the boss to call everyone in for a last minute meeting. Major nerves can lead to major munchies, right?

What gives? How can you battle emotions that say, “Eat! Eat!” while your brain and belly aren’t sending signals that your body needs more fuel?

Here are 12 to-dos when the urge to zone out and mindlessly snack strikes:

1. Pamper yourself!

Turn feed-your-face Friday into face-mask Friday! Use a store-bought mask or try a DIY version using ingredients in your kitchen (find natural recipes online!). Lie down and catch up on a podcast for 20 minutes while you beautify. Get your mouth fresh with a whitening strip while your mask hardens. Just be sure to set an alarm so you don’t fall asleep with bleach on your choppers!

After your face is renewed, turn your attention to your fingers and toes! File, buff, polish… with wet nails, you’ll be able to resist the urge to stick your hand in the potato chip bag. Before you know it, you’ll have at least an hour ignoring your craving and a huge non-scale victory under your ever-shrinking belt!

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2. Find yourself alone? Make it a dance party!

Who says dance parties can’t be solo? Put on your favorite radio station or a fun 80s and 90s mix on Spotify and bust those moves! Beyoncé who? Justin Timber-what? A Harvard study found an association between excess sitting and obesity, likely because “sit time” starts to replace “fit time.” Close the blinds and shake what your mama gave you. The only thing you’ll crave is a tall glass of cold water.

Need some help getting your groove back? Try some sassy YouTube workouts like the short dance routines offered by The Fitness Marshall.

3. Not alone? Turn back the clock to your teen years and have a mega make-out session!

Kissing is one fun way to keep your hands and mouth busy! Studies have suggested that kissing can boost immunity, lower blood pressure, perk up your happy hormones, kick out cramps and headaches and even burn calories, according to Andréa Demirjian, author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures. OK, only about eight to 16 calories can be burned in a heavy make out session, but it’s still something, right?

4. Try your hand at knitting, crocheting or needlepoint.

If you aren’t sure how to start, ask for beginner tools at a craft store, get a book from your local library or check out the Craft Yarn Council’s online tutorials. Play some soothing music while you learn how to knit and purl or cross stitch and embroider or–as you get better–get caught up on your shows while your hands create.

A study out of Cardiff University showed a link between knitting and a decrease in depression for 3,445 knitters involved in the study. “The results show a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feeling calm and happy,” the authors wrote. “More frequent knitters also reported higher cognitive functioning.”

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5. Pretend you’re back in kindergarten and get busy coloring!

Coloring might not exactly be “art therapy,” but studies have suggested that engaging in this activity can have big-time benefits. Some studies have suggested that coloring reduces the distress and symptoms of cancer patients. Others have demonstrated a correlation between coloring and sound slumbers.

Check out Amazon’s top seller lists for some great options to kick off your coloring habit. Adult coloring books have topped the charts since they burst onto the scene.

6. Do a good deed.

Take the focus off of you and do a kindness for someone else. Write a letter or a thank you note to your super for keeping the roses in front of your building beautiful. Visit an elderly neighbor or family member. Take him or her for a walk (if ambulatory), read to them or just sit and have a cup of tea (green or herbal preferably). Volunteer at your local SPCA or Humane Society–there are lots of dogs who would enjoy a walk and a chance to strut their stuff for potential fur-ever families.

7. Pick up the phone.

An easy way to take your mind off the munchies is to call a friend and catch up. No one wants to talk on the phone while someone crunches, slurps or smacks on the other end. If you have a particularly supportive friend or family member, pick up the phone and let them help you get through this potential moment of weakness.

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8. Play a game!

A study from researchers at Plymouth University found that test subjects playing Tetris “had significantly lower cravings and less vivid craving imagery.”

“Playing Tetris for as little as three minutes at a time can weaken cravings for drugs, food and activities such as sex and sleeping by approximately one fifth,” according to the researchers’ findings.

Not in the mood for old school Nintendo? There are lots of games available as Facebook apps or you can grab your trusty morning newspaper and fill in the boxes on a crossword puzzle. Bonus to playing with paper versus the computer: The blue light from electronic devices can interrupt sleep. Put the tech away and stick to good old pen and paper about two hours before bedtime to get the right amount of obesity-blasting ZZZs.

9. Chop veggies.

No, no! Really! You can sit or stand, keep your hands busy and prepare for the week ahead. Having healthy snacks accessible makes it easier to grab sweet snow peas for a delicate crunch when you run in from work and your belly is screaming, “Feed me!” Non-starchy vegetables are Free Foods on Nutrisystem, so if you happen to pop a few grape tomatoes or cucumber slices in your mouth while chopping, no harm, no foul!

10. Get a new look on life… from your living room.

Sometimes snacking happens when we’re just plain bored. As Karen Carpenter sang, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” Use the rain as an excuse to stay indoors and spruce up your living quarters. How long has your TV been in that spot? Move it! Rearrange your furniture and along the way, vacuum the hairballs that hid under your sofa and reorder the books on your shelf as you dust. Read up on Feng Shui and try your hand at changing the energy of your room. You can revive your room–and your outlook–without having to hire a decorator.

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11. Balance your checkbook.

Set yourself up at a table or desk with a glass of water (with lemon, lime or cucumber if you’re feeling fancy) or a cup of herbal tea. Drag out the piles of receipts and bills and match your bank balance to your checkbook balance. If you have upgraded from a ledger to software like Quicken, be sure to go through your purchases and make sure they are all labelled correctly so you aren’t scrambling come tax time.

12. Feed the internet.

You can either be a spectator or get involved. Yes, cat videos rule and losing hours upon hours is entirely possible watching those fantastic felines, but do you have something to say? Start a blog! Maybe you love discovering new ways to create meals from Nutrisystem foods. Perhaps your knitting hobby has taken off and you’d like to make videos or show off your shawls and scarves. Share your gifts and enthusiasm with the world. Whether your page is full of photos of hot dog vendors around the world or essays on ending world hunger, express yourself.

Your weight doesn’t define you and you are more than weight loss. Share that light with others (and avoid snacking while doing it)!