Non-hunger eating can be a big struggle for many, grabbing a bite out of stress, sadness or boredom can lead to extra calories in and unwanted weight gain. For those who may be struggling with bored or emotional eating, I’d like to offer you one of my favorite tips for identifying the problem before you grab for your next non-hunger bite.
The apple test is a quick and easy way to identify hunger versus non-hunger eating. When you’re thinking of grabbing that 3 o’clock cookie or after dinner treat take a moment and go through the following test:
First, acknowledge what you’re reaching for or craving.
For example, let’s say you’re grabbing for a cookie. Say to yourself, “I really want to eat a cookie right now” but then ask yourself, “but could I eat an apple right now?” If you think of an apple, it’s a filling food that most often people don’t eat due to cravings, but rather due to hunger. This gives you a moment to physically check in and get in touch with how your stomach and body is actually feeling.
Foods that we gravitate towards during non-hunger eating are foods we could always “find room for” and doesn’t offer us a chance to really listen and feel the space or hunger we may have in our stomach.
If the answer is yes, you could eat an apple, then you know you are eating for huger and can go for the cookie or this question could inspire you to grab for a healthier option.
If the answer is no, you couldn’t eat an apple, then you know you are reaching for food for some other reason.
Try some distractions such as reading a magazine, going on a walk or for some if you can’t get out of the situation try to schedule the desired snack for a slightly later time when you may be feeling more stomach hunger. This quick line of questioning can often be just the check in you need to identify non-hunger eating that may be keeping you from reaching your healthy weight.
Always listen to your body. Once you can assess what your body needs and address the specific hunger you’re feeling, you will not only feel better nutritional, but you’ll know that you’ve made yourself, and your health a priority. For more information about how to find a nutritional counselor to walk with you, visit www.metrowcc.com.
About Ashley Bade, RD, LDN, CSP: By age 8, Ashley had sampled nearly every chicken finger, tender or nugget in New England. Her favorite “vegetables” were popcorn and potato chips. Her “green” foods included mint chocolate chip ice cream and green M&M’s. Now, Ashley is a successful dietitian practicing in the metro west, showing that finding a healthy eating balance is possible, even for the pickiest of eaters. Ashley helps clients navigate the confusing world of nutrition by providing the latest evidence-based recommendations. She supports and guides clients as they find a way of eating that feels well to them; allowing her clients to achieve their personal goals, optimize their health and attain maintainable change. Ashley’s passion is helping individuals and families find a personalized, healthy nutrition balance that not only works for them today, but for a lifetime.