One good way to restrict when you eat is to restrict where you eat.
When you eat in the living room or bedroom, it makes it easy to just grab a snack and mindlessly munch even when you’re not hungry.
We all do it and it seems like a harmless activity but it does actually cause some problems because you aren’t paying attention to the signals your body is telling you. The more you ignore those “I’ve had enough” signals from your stomach, the more your body will start to ignore them, too.
This makes it harder and harder to avoid overeating.
By restricting the places in your house where food is allowed, you can make sure that you are always consciously deciding when you eat and how much you eat.
You will become more aware of when you start to feel full and should stop. You’ll also be able to actually enjoy the flavors more and avoid letting a whole bar of chocolate disappear without you even realizing you ate it all. Plus, it will mean no more crumbs on the bed or sofa!
Part of the logic behind this habit is that you have fewer opportunities to be distracted while eating. When you eat in the living room, it’s usually because you are watching TV or surfing the Internet.
On the other hand, if you had to get up from the couch and go to the kitchen every time you wanted to eat a handful of popcorn, you will be much less likely to snack.
So choosing one or two places in the house where food is allowed will make sure that you snack less and that you can make smarter choices about what you eat.
You’ll be paying more attention to the food and more attention to what your body is telling you, which will also help you recognize when you are full and avoid overeating.
With that in mind, not just snacks but all your meals during the day should be eaten in the same place. Adopting this habit will reprogram your brain and body to know when it’s time to eat. Once it becomes a habit, you will retrain your subconscious to associate that one place with eating. This will help regulate and moderate your appetite so that you only start to feel hungry when it’s actually time to eat. You’ll have fewer between meal cravings.
This helps your subconscious realize that when it is in bed, it is time to go to sleep. The same thing is happening when you associate eating with only certain areas in the house.
Look at the tips and tricks offered by Harvard Health to successfully lose weight.
The most logical place to eat is the kitchen or dining room. Your food-free zones should be absolutely everywhere else in the house.
Don’t bring food in the living room, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, garage, or anywhere else. Prepare your meals in the kitchen and eat them sitting down at the table.
While you are eating, don’t watch TV or use the computer. Pay attention to your food. Eat slowly and savor the flavors. Make sure that you are sitting down while you eat.
When you stand and eat, your body is in a constant state of feeling like it should be on the go.
This makes it more difficult to eat slowly and focus only on eating. So sit down, take your time, and let meal time be a relaxing activity. Don’t let it be a rushed or stressful part of your day.
When you’re done, clear the dishes and continue with your night.
Doing anything else while you eat will lower your ability to recognize when you feel full.
This means you’ll have a tendency to overeat because you’re just shoveling in food without giving your body the time it needs to send the signal to your brain that it’s full.
The second part of this habit is not using the kitchen or dining room for any other activity. If you have limited space in your home and you can’t avoid using the dining table for other purposes as well, that’s okay.
Just make sure you don’t do those other activities at the same time you are eating. If you can avoid it, though, it’s best to make your kitchen and dining room “food-only” zones while the rest of your house becomes a “food-free” zone.
At work, avoid eating at your desk if you can. Use the break room or eat your lunch outside.
Don’t snack while you work. If you need to eat a snack, leave your desk to do it. Just like at home, your work space should be a food-free zone.
If your schedule allows for it, make sure you eat your meals in these places at the same time each day or at least within 30 minutes to an hour of a set time.
The more structured your eating habits become, the less likely you will be to have sporadic cravings. Your stomach (well, technically, your subconscious) will learn that if it’s not 7 pm and you’re not in the dining room, then it’s not time to be hungry.
This might be tough if you have kids who are used to snacking in front of the TV but remain firm. If you do, not only can you help yourself break this bad habit, you’ll be helping your kids to build up these good, healthy habits now while they are still young.
You’ll thank yourself next time you’re doing the dishes and you don’t have to run all around the house looking for stray cups and plates.
Not to mention you’ll no longer have to deal with all the spills and stains on carpets, tables, and floors!
Well, except in the kitchen or dining room, that is.