We all do it – whether we're at a party with an unavoidable buffet, trying to get through stressful paperwork or just plain bored at home. We all overeat.
No matter if you're on a diet and on the verge of caving or simply trying to have some self control, here's a list of things you can do to prevent yourself from the temporary bliss of stuffing your face.
If you're at home:
1. Take a shower.
Or a bath, whatever floats your boat. Conjure up a playlist, crank the volume and slather on a face mask. There's something about getting 'squeaky clean' that makes you lose the desire to stuff your face with greasy foods.
2. Get some exercise.
I know, I know. The last thing you're thinking about is moving when all you want to do is veg out, but the more you move, the less you'll think about junk food; the less you think about junk food, the better you'll feel in general.
Go for a walk, do a dance workout on YouTube or keep it ultra simple and do a few sit-ups. Try doing a number of squats every time you're tempted. Whatever your movement of choice is, be sure you're guzzling lots of water!
3. Download an app.
If exercise doesn't interest you (although it should – I'm just as guilty), check out that popular app you've been hearing so much about.
Re-download one of the first apps you had when you got your first iPod Touch, or finally figure out how to set up a profile on that one social media site you've been avoiding (I still don't have the hang of Pinterest).
Unlike watching TV or a movie, using an app keeps your hands moving and makes a bag of chips or a bowl of ice cream super inconvenient.
4. Find a new hobby.
Turn a habit into a hobby; think of ways to expand upon it. Try out some different things you see on Pinterest or Facebook, like cosmetics, crafts or other "DIY" tutorials. If you like to blog, consider joining the Odyssey Online to give your thoughts some focus!
5. Experiment with healthy recipes.
Check out ketogenic recipes, especially if you're craving dessert. Often times, the process of cooking and baking makes us forget we were even hungry in the first place. My personal favorite? Guacamole. You'd be amazed at how versatile avocados are for different types of dishes!
If you're at work:
6. Ask someone if they need help.
If you have time to think about a snack, you have time to be productive. Don't let a slow day drive you into the deceiving arms of sugar and carbs. Ask your boss or a coworker if they could use a hand with anything.
7. Take a bathroom break.
A few minutes of stretching your legs and giving yourself a mental break could help make you realize you're not hungry; you're just stressed. Try pinching or massaging your own shoulders, specifically closer to your neck. This area often holds a lot of tension and could use a little pressure-relief.
8. Make a "To-Do" list.
Even if you can't take care of certain home chores right then and there, making a list of big and small tasks to complete on-the-clock gives you a purpose and something else to think about.
9. Portion out snacks the night before.
If you meal prep, you have no choice but to stick to your planned out meals (even something as simple as bagging a serving of sunflower seeds).
10. Avoid the break room.
Workplace hospitality is a blessing, but when you're on a diet and your co-workers bring in pastries every morning, it can be quite the curse. As long as you portion out those snacks, you'll overpower the temptation of muffins and donuts.
If you're in class:
11. Make a time-budget chart.
Grab a pen and some colorful highlighters. If you focus on jotting down and organizing all of your upcoming assignments and important dates, your mind will venture away from bored-hungry thoughts.
12. Strike up a conversation.
No matter if it's with your neighbor during individual/group work or by asking your professor a conversational question during the lecture, distract your tongue with words over food.
13. Carry dark chocolate in your backpack.
If you don't like it, the bitter taste will tone down your appetite for a little while. If you do like it (it's an acquired taste), it will make you thirsty, which brings me to my next point:
14. Bring a water bottle.
Consider investing in one that infuses fruits or other flavors to spice it up. Take a few sips every time you think about breaking out that bag of chips, or chug and take a walk to the water fountain to refill.
15. Pay attention.
That may sound sarcastic, but seriously, get your mind out of the cafeteria and into the lecture. Double and triple check your notes and do your best to mentally connect the material to potential real life experiences. Forcing yourself to think about something else may ease the stomach growling enough to get you to dismissal.
If you're at an event:
16. Chew your food slowly.
When eating from a buffet or family style setup, try your hardest to mentally chew each bite for 15-20 seconds. Focus on filling up on what's in front of you rather than saving room for seconds.
17. Save going back for seconds for later.
If you chew your food slowly and fill up, you won't go back for more right away. Then, there's no shame in hitting the open dessert bar at a wedding or graduation party.
The perfect addition to a family get together: what's a party without music? If there's already an open floor, take advantage of it; if not, feel out the vibe for what would be the most appropriate to play and get the crowd up and moving!
19. Sit away as far away from the food as possible.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? Choose a seat away from all the chaos. That way, you won't be tempted to look over your shoulder or have to do the walk of shame with a refilled plate piled twice as high as the last one (don't worry, we've all been there).
20. Offer to help clean up.
The host could always use some help. Whether it's covering food with foil or collecting trash left around the grounds, get your steps in and avoid mindless snacking by offering a helping hand.
If you're on vacation:
21. Snap some photos.
Unplugging is one of the main concepts of vacation, but what's a trip without memories? When you get the urge to order more munchies, step outside and snap some pictures with your friends and family instead.
22. Call someone who isn't on the trip.
If you're with your friends, call a family member; if you're with your family, call a friend (you get the idea). Tell them how it's going and about the amazing food you've already eaten. It will help you realize you're already on the brink of a food coma, and anything else will push you over the edge.
23. Try an excursion.
Nothing may sound more relaxing than kicking back at the pool all day, soaking up the sun and analyzing a tempting resort menu. Step outside your comfort zone and see what there is to do around town. Souvenir shops are always a great way to kill some time and have a few laughs.
24. Chat with the locals or other tourists.
As mentioned earlier, distract your tongue with words over food. Mingle with other vacationers; find out where they're from and what brought them there.
Make an effort to get to know the locals as well, especially if you're visiting another country. They'll have a lot of interesting knowledge to share about their culture. You'll learn something new and maintain some self control (win-win)!
25. Save room for dessert.
Like any other event, the best part of vacations is usually the food. Don't torture yourself; indulge and live a little! Basic rules apply here: take smaller portions, chew your food slowly and taste a little bit of everything.
For the long run:
26. Develop healthy habits.
Set goals for yourself to curb overeating. The most important thing is moderation: if you constantly deprive yourself of your favorite foods, you're bound to cave.
Stick to the perimeter of the store when grocery shopping, and learn to try new things. There's always something new to try when it comes to preparing food, and often times, we assume something is going to be gross just because it's healthy.
For example, I used to think dark chocolate was a disgrace to dessert. Now, I prefer it to milk chocolate. Force yourself out of that mindset by giving things more than one chance – acquire new tastes and retrain your taste buds.
27. Drink a lot of water.
All of those articles about healthy living are right: water is key. When you get the urge to raid the pantry, chug a glass or two of water and wait a few minutes first. Get into the habit of always carrying a bottle and drinking a glass before eating a meal as well. It may feel like eternity, but it will be worth it.
28. Keep busy.
As torturous as it feels to wake up early for work, I make sure I have enough time to eat a decent breakfast before I leave. This way, I rarely even think about food throughout my shift because I'm able to focus on anything else.
If you stay busy and make an effort to work ahead, you wont have time to think about the vending machine in the lobby.
29. Text a friend.
Have someone keep you accountable. My friends and I try to distract each other from snacking on things we know we shouldn't by texting or snap-chatting each other funny pictures. What's gonna work? Teamwork.
30. Know when to seek help.
If you start to become genuinely concerned about your habits, call your physician. Getting in contact with a dietitian cannot only help you practice healthy eating habits, but improve your overall well-being.