5 Ways to Beat a Snack Attack without Snacking

4 weeks ago
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It comes on suddenly, we want… no need a snack. It might be after working for a few hours at your computer in the afternoon or the minute you walk through the door when you get home. Maybe you always grabbed a snack when you did your homework and you’ve brought that habit into adulthood.

Turns out that those cravings may not necessarily be from your tummy. In general, real hunger comes on gradually. Which means, when you have this immediate desire for something to eat, it can actually stem from a habit that you’ve simply created over time.

A good way to break that snack attack cycle is to literally do something else consistently. Here are five things you can try to create a new habit that have nothing to do with food:

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1. Do a Puzzle
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1. Do a Puzzle

Whether it’s 300 or 5,000 pieces, a puzzle will get your mind refocused and give you something tactile to work with as you sift through all the little pieces. There’s no need to complete it in one sitting. Keep coming back to it over the course of a day or a few weeks to build up a new habit. Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than putting in that final piece!

2. Clench Your Fists
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2. Clench Your Fists

When that craving comes on, immediately clench your fists. Tightening our muscles can boost your willpower. Our bodies give us signals about what we’re thinking and feeling. When we know how to control some of those signals, we can change certain behaviors. And this is a great lifehack for avoiding that second piece of cake, too!

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3. Go For a Walk
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3. Go For a Walk

Aerobic exercise, like walking, can actually help suppress your appetite. The increase in blood flow may help your body to better process those appetite hormones. Plus, a walk will give you some time to see if those hunger pangs were momentary or a real call for calories.

4. Drink a Glass of Water
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4. Drink a Glass of Water

Sometimes we can mistake dehydration for hunger, so it never hurts to grab a glass of water before opening that fridge. Since more than half of our body is made up of good ole H20, we need to stay hydrated. If you want something with more flavor, throw in some fruit slices or go for a naturally flavored seltzer.

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5. Phone a Friend
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5. Phone a Friend

Get your mind engaged in a conversation. It may be that you’re just bored and not actually hungry. If you need a break, pick up the phone and talk with a friend or family member. You know you probably owe your mom a call anyway.

And if you’re still feeling hungry after trying one of these other options, then you may actually need to grab a snack. In that case, go for something healthy like a handful of nuts or a fruit and make sure to focus on the snack and take your time eating it. This will give you body the time to actually process the food and give you the cue that you’re full.

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