Keep those snacks away from me!

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Why the snacking culture is bad and why you should rebel
It is part of the British culture to snack. Traditionally the French don't do it (read "French Women Don't Get Fat"), Slavic women don't do it (this is where most models come from) and, in fact, this doesn't seem to be culturally acceptable in any place where obesity is not a problem. Snacking is made easy by the abundance of foods available to us at close reach, especially when someone thoughtfully supplies the office with some chocolate covered digestives.


The concept of snacking originated in North America where various crops in the post WWII period were being overproduced and needed to sold. The solution was to encourage people to eat more and more often. Simple – and also historical fact not an anti-American viewpoint!


I don't dispute that for some people having small meals four to six times a day works best.  So if you are highly physically active, underweight or have a medical need to eat frequently, go for it.  For the rest of us with desk jobs, snacking simply means more calories that don't get used up, but stored on our tummies and "muffin tops".


The average person overeats during meal times because we have developed the tendency to stop eating only when we're really full (rather than when we're no longer hungry). Our bodies haven't even had enough time to digest the previous meal before we are grabbing a biscuit or jelly baby – barely two hours after lunch! It's because it's there. And if it's not, it's because it's considered normal to snack. And, anyway, I get so tired around 3pm or 4pm…. Familiar, isn't it?


So what can you do? Here are five  ways to stop snacking:


  • Avoid foods that make you feel sluggish: for me and many others it's starchy products, such as potatoes, pasta, bread, or heavy food such as red meat, or fried food – chips are a disaster!
  • Get a good amount of sleep: the average person needs about eight or nine hours.  Avoid compensating for your lack of sleep by eating a chocolate bar.
  • Get some exercise: your body becomes more alert at times of the day when it's expecting to exert itself. Try climbing your staircase or walking around the block at few times to wake your body up during an energy slump.
  • Avoid or minimise your coffee and tea intake: caffeine messes up your sugar levels, so you're more likely to want to snack. Stick to good old fashioned water or try out some fancy herbal teas. I personally love rooibos as it's refreshing, rehydrating and caffeine-free.
  • Eat a well balanced and tasty meal: feeling unsatisfied by your lunch means you will probably make up for it by grabbing something extra, when you've already consumed enough calories. Also, if you have a bland lunch or something extremely salty (as many readymade meals and sandwiches are) you'll probably want to balance it out with something sweet. So eat well, enjoy your food and be satiated.


As you can see, it's not about denial, but about avoiding the pitfalls.  Food is there to be enjoyed, not to be a slave to!  Try out these tips and let me know how you get on. Also, for more individualised support, email me:
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Ania NowickiKeep those snacks away from me!

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