Whether binge watching Orange is the New Black or catching up on House of Cards, recent Netflix statistics show that users generally watch more than one episode at a time. Extended hours of couch time increase the chances of late night snacking. We are guilty of it, but for this month’s weight loss challenge its important to understand why we crave snacks.

One of the first snacking problems is related to water intake, our brains often confuse thirst and hunger signals. Research by Vij and Joshi (2014) and Dennis et al. (2010) found increased water intake can reduce body weight, BMI, body fat, and appetite during 8-week and 12-week trials.

Tip #1: Drink water before every meal and throughout the day

Staying hydrated is only half the battle, another reason we snack is out of boredom. Research by Moynihan et al. (2015) found boredom to increase the likelihood of snacking. They also found the type of boredom impacted the type of snack that was craved, be it healthy or not.

Tip #2: Do math before you snack

You don’t have to actually do math before snacking, but realize the need for something stimulating to do and your boredom based hunger cravings will subside. Grab a board game, try a puzzle, or learn something new. Even better do 20 bodyweight squats, because squats are king.

If water consumption and math didn’t work and you are craving something to eat then here is a list of snacks we recommended, remember a snack is not a meal. Meals are typically three to five hundred calories. So keep your snacks well under 300 calories.

  1. Almonds
  2. Celery
  3. Celery with peanut butter
  4. low fat and sugar yogurt
  5. Protein shake, low carb and sugar

References:

Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older adults. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)18(2), 300–307. http://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2009.235

Moynihan, A. B., van Tilburg, W. A. P., Igou, E. R., Wisman, A., Donnelly, A. E., & Mulcaire, J. B. (2015). Eaten up by boredom: consuming food to escape awareness of the bored self. Frontiers in Psychology6, 369. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00369

Vij, V. A. K., & Joshi, A. S. (2014). Effect of excessive water intake on body weight, body mass index, body fat, and appetite of overweight female participants. Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine5(2), 340–344. http://doi.org/10.4103/0976-9668.136180

 

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