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How to Stop Snacking (or Any Other Food Habit)

How to Stop Snacking (or Any Other Food Habit)

It's 9 p.m. and the house is finally quiet. You were "so good" all day but now you're tired and craving chocolate. You go rooting through the cabinets and before you know it an entire bag of chocolate-covered pretzels is gone. You go to bed wired and wake up overtired and annoyed with yourself.

Or maybe you find yourself mindlessly eating your kids' leftovers when you're not even hungry. And they don't even taste that good.

Or perhaps you consistently "overdo it" on the weekends and feel awful and uncomfortable afterwards.

If any of these situations sound familiar, the good news is there is hope! These are simply patterns that we've developed. Somewhere along the line we had an emotional response (feeling tired, anxious, lonely, bored, etc.) and used food to solve it. By repeating the behavior over and over again, we've taught our brains that this is what we do. When we encounter feeling x (ex. exhaustion), we do y (ex. search out sugar).

 

The Three Steps to Stop Snacking

The key to stop snacking is working with our brains, not against them. We simply need to (1) become aware of the behavior, (2) allow ourselves to feel our feelings and release the urge, (3) rinse and repeat. Over time this will become automatic and your brain will stop seeing food as the solution to your emotions.

 

Step 1: What is the emotion driving your behavior?

What is the emotional state you're in right before the behavior tends to happen? Maybe you are feeling anxious and unsettled at night, so you reach for chips? Or maybe when you're at a party and feeling lonely or nervous you turn to the appetizer table. 

If you're having a difficult time figuring out the emotion, then really pay attention the next time you're in this situation, and be curious. We mostly think of sadness (like a heartbreak) driving us to an ice cream binge, but honestly, for many of us we may even use food when we're excited or happy. We simply haven't been taught how to feel our emotions.

 

Step 2: Allow Yourself to Feel the Emotion

When the emotion hits and your urge strikes, take a deep breath, let your shoulders lower, and really tune into your body. How does the emotion feel in your body? Where in your body is it? Use neutral, non-scary or frantic words. Start to remind your body that this is what x emotion feels like, and it's not a problem to be solved with food. (And if you have trouble believing this, flash forward to feeling stuffed, frustrated, and uncomfortable. Definitely not what you are looking for.)

Acknowledge the emotion, and then, let it pass. Don't try to distract yourself. If you'd like, journal about it. 

 

Step 3: Rinse and Repeat

Think about how long you've been doing this behavior. Sometimes it's been years or decades, making it a well-worn path for your brain. So while it will take some time to undo, it is absolutely possible. Over time your brain will learn a new response to any emotion that you've been using food to cope with.

 

Will you give this a try? 

How to Debloat for Good

How to Debloat for Good

If you regularly suffer from bloating, it's smart to start with what you're putting into your body. Are certain foods causing it? Are you eating too fast and not properly chewing? Next, add in some de-bloating superfoods. With a little patience and curiosity you can end the bloat battle for good.

 

Step 1: Assess Your Diet

A food journal can be a great tool for identifying specific foods that don't agree with you. Writing down everything you eat for a week and noting when you have bloating can provide clear clues. Another option is to simply take pictures of everything you eat for a week, and again, note when bloating occurs. Keep in mind, even healthy foods can produce some temporary bloat, and that's OK. Cruciferous vegetables like kale and cabbage contain raffinose — a sugar that remains undigested until bacteria in your gut ferments it, which can in turn produces gas. Beans are another likely source. You'll also want to pay attention to your wheat and dairy intake to see if either of those might be causing your bloat.

 

Step 2: Remove Bloat Offenders

Carbonated beverages (including sparkling water and beer), chewing gum, and sugar alcohols are three easy offenders to remove immediately. Also, make it a habit to eat mindfully, chewing each bite thoroughly.

 

Step 3: Add in De-bloaters

Our favorite organic de-bloaters are avocados and bananas (they're rich in potassium) and hydrating vegetables like celery and cucumber.

It's also one of the major reasons we created Greens Ritual, which is meant to be a daily habit, each morning first thing upon waking. (Check out the reviews, our customers are experiencing lasting de-bloating!)

It's packed with superstar de-bloaters: green tea, the digestive enzyme papain, pineapple, turmeric (contains curcumin, which has been studied extensively for its anti-inflammatory effects and may improve gut health and reduce symptoms of IBS, including gas, bloating, and constipation), and two powerhouse probiotics strains (Bifidobacterium Longum and Lactobacillus acidophilus).

Increasing your prebiotic fiber intake (slowly) is another great way to get your digestion humming and feed good bacteria, which can in turn reduce bloating. Real food sources like artichokes, asparagus, cabbage and wheat bran are a great place to start. Supplementing can also be an easy way to meet your goal of 30-35 grams per day. We've added 7 grams of prebiotic fiber (from wholefood sources organic psyllium husk powder and oat bran) to Beauty Protein.

 

Step 4: Try a Gut Reset

While keeping up good habits consistently is what will ultimately keep your bloating at bay, a gut reset can be a great way to jumpstart debloating.

That's why we created the Gentle Gut Reset. It's a 1-2 day reset that's packed with wholefood de-bloaters, probiotics and prebiotic fiber. You'll start your day with a green juice and follow it with a gut-nourishing smoothie. Eat a plant-centric lunch and then another gut-nourishing smoothie for dinner. 

We recommend doing the reset for 1 to 2 days consecutively to start and then up to twice a week for maintenance. 

Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Can Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Intermittent fasting is a fancy term for a simple concept: eating less often. There are many methods, starting with a simple 12-hour overnight fast all the way up to entire days of fasting. 

In general, the research on intermittent fasting for overall health is promising. Intuitively it even makes sense that giving our digestion a break every once in a while would be a good thing. But what role does fasting play in weight loss? Is it helpful or harmful? Our answer may surprise you.

It depends. 

What it depends on is how you personally feel and think about fasting, and how your body responds to it.

For example, if you are someone who has always disliked eating first thing upon waking—then fasting through breakfast is going to be a no-brainer. It's going to feel like freedom to do what your body natural wants to do. The days will easily turn into weeks and months, and the weight may naturally slip off. 

On the other hand, if you wake up hungry and excited to eat breakfast every day, fasting might feel difficult and unnatural. You might spend your entire morning looking at the clock wondering when enough time has passed to eat. You may feel anxious. You may feel deprived. This might turn on your stress hormones, and actually impede weight loss efforts. Or, when it is finally time to eat, you may feel ravenous and end up overeating. 

Your thoughts about fasting matter. As do your motivations. 

As Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, so aptly put it: 

"If you're going to fast, ask yourself: am I being driven by self-hate, by fear of body fat, by self-judgment, by the stress of not weighing what I think I should weigh? Or am I being inspired to fast because I wish to be healthy, to better myself, to deepen my connection to myself?"

The simplest way to decide if fasting is for you is to ask yourself these questions and get extremely clear on your motivations. If they are coming from a loving, positive place—feel free to proceed. 

Give yourself permission to try fasting, and to tweak it if it doesn't work for you. Starting with a 12-14 hour overnight fast is a great first step. As always, if you have any special health concerns or needs, try working with a Registered Dietician first.