How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

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Sytri
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How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Sytri » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:50 am UTC

Title says it all really; I'm trying to get fit, am aiming to run the London marathon next year (cant this year as I had a back operation and am not allowed to run until June), and I'm doing exercises that I can but I feel that I'm sabotaging myself when I snack on chocolate or crisps.

I walk about 5 miles a day, plus whatever I do in work (not a lot as I work in an office). And currently I have about one bar of chocolate and one bag of crisps a day at lunch and maybe another bar mid-afternoon. How do you stop yourself doing that and changing to something else or maybe even stop snacking altogether?

I think the problem is that I comfort eat occasionally and by the time I realise what I'm eating it's finished.

Should I not worry about it too much or should I try harder to stamp it out?

Can anyone give me some tips?
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Nath » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:05 pm UTC

Certainly worth stamping out. Two bars of chocolate is about 500 calories, much of that from sugar.

Try getting in the habit of checking the nutrition data of every packaged food you eat, before you open it. In particular, check total calories and sugar. This is good for various reasons -- first, it helps you track how much you're eating, which is important whether you want to gain, lose or maintain weight. Second, it's sometimes surprising how sugary certain things are. I don't think I've eaten any pre-sweetened yogurt since I got into this habit.

Another useful thing to do is to keep some non-junk snacks around. A jar of nuts works well.

But ultimately, there's no magic to it. What you eat is one of the few things that's entirely your choice. If you want to fix your eating habits badly enough, you will. If not, you won't.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby ThomasS » Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:19 pm UTC

I think that if I were in your shoes I'd try to only eat one unhealthy snack per day and replace the others with healthy things. Personally, I find that carrots, Kolrabi, cucumbers and fruit all tend to make pleasant snacks.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby jtw » Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:34 pm UTC

Don't buy them in the first place.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby caje » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:54 pm UTC

1. Don't buy them in the first place

2. Eat something else you like a lot instead. For instance when I'm craving starches I'll eat bacon or some grilled beef.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby PictureSarah » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

Echoing everyone else who says don't buy them in the first place. Secondly, you can pack yourself a bag full of healthy, low-cal snacks to bring to the office with you. I eat *all day* at my job. And I still stay around 1400 calories a day. I snack on sugar-snap peas, bell peppers, plain yogurt, sometimes a handful of raw nuts, fruit... I only drink water and unsweetened tea at work, and I have a desk drawer full of protein bars with 0 grams of sugar and just-add-water cups of lentil soup for emergencies. If you snack so much on low-calorie items that you're full all day, you won't be as tempted to buy the junkfood.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby psykx » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:15 pm UTC

The problem I find with high calorie/sugar/GI snacks is that because they make you zing a little from the elevated levels of blood sugar, you get a corresponding low in blood sugar levels. Actually I'm not sure if this is cause by the insulin response or just the mental difference between a base level and a sugar high. But this basically means when I treat my self to a chocolate bar I tend to eat more junky food for a while before I put the effort in and only eat low and mid GI foods for a few days and I feel better and, most relevantly to you, I don't crave sugary foods.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Solt » Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:34 am UTC

Good nutrition starts at the grocery store. Don't buy crap, you won't eat it, then after a while you'll find that you won't be craving it any more. Of course if you are hungry that makes things harder, so you have get rid of the bad and replace it with good at the same time.

If you are using vending machines at work or school, stop carrying cash if you can. Vending machines don't take credit cards but everyone else does.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Lidwiz » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:26 am UTC

Stop buying junk food.
If you think you are hungry, try drinking a glass of water instead. Water, mind you, not pop or juice.
Buy healthier snacks like dried fruit and/or learn to love raw vegetables and snack on those.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Shro » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:45 pm UTC

Will echo the chorus of "get healthy replacements!"
Buy fruit! Blackberries, strawberries, grapes, anything you like. Pick one day a week, cut them all up and put them in containers in the fridge. Before going to work, grab one to take with you. Snack throughout the day. Other convenient alternatives are string cheese and yogurt. If you're trying to get fit and you run/walk a lot, treat yourself to a protein bar. CLIF makes delicious delicious bars that practically taste like you're eating the yummiest thing in the world, but it doesn't mean it's empty calories.
If you do end up buying junk food, or say, other members of your household buys it, put it somewhere you can't see it, and you will be tempted less.
Keep a daily log of calories ingested. Once you see it on paper, you might be more likely to want to cut out some of the snacks.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Sytri » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:24 am UTC

Thanks guys. Figured this out a little with the help of my mother-in-law. I was having what i thought was a healthy breakfast. It wasnt. Was very sugary so my blood-sugar was like a rollercoaster before I even started work. Have now moved to muesli (which is awesome btw) and the snacking has almost stopped dead in its tracks, when I do its fruit and not chocolate

Am also hoping this doesnt jinx things. To make sure I'm not taking money into work with me any more, if I dont have cash I cant have it. My work place also gives out free fruit so I'm using that in emergencies.

Now to get motivated to exercise even more......
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Nath » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:32 am UTC

Sytri wrote:Thanks guys. Figured this out a little with the help of my mother-in-law. I was having what i thought was a healthy breakfast. It wasnt. Was very sugary so my blood-sugar was like a rollercoaster before I even started work. Have now moved to muesli (which is awesome btw)

Most brands of muesli are pretty sugary. An improvement over Sugar-O's, but still not optimal. But if you're eating a brand with no added sugar, you're probably OK.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Kizyr » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:19 pm UTC

Two things that have worked great for me are nuts and apples.

I have a big sweet-tooth, so, I really love chocolate and cookies. But I've been trying to find healthier alternatives that let me lessen the amount that I crave the less-healthy stuff.

Apples work really well to limit my chocolate consumption. If I get a craving for chocolate/cookies/biscuits, and have an apple instead, it satisfies my craving pretty well (not to mention I really like apples anyway). Nuts work really well to limit any craving for chips/crisps--I'm mostly fond of cashews, walnuts, and almonds, lightly salted or completely unsalted, preferably.

I still allow myself the occasional chocolate or chips, though. But including nuts and apples and other fruits has I think helped me quite a bit.

(Now I just need to find something to do the trick for fried foods...) KF
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:00 am UTC

If you have too much trouble in forcing yourself to not buy junkfood, make sure you do not go to the supermarket* while hungry; if they offer you free samples of food, DON'T EAT IT. Those exist to get your juices going, causing you to buy more, not necessarily to advertise whatever food they offer.


*Or grocer, or whatever. I don't know what you call your grocers across the pond. Here, supermarket means a butcher shop, fish shop, green grocer, drugstore (but not necessarily a pharmacy; just kitchen supplies), and all other types of food stores in one.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby logixoul » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:58 am UTC

I was eating a couple of things compulsively and found that this helped me:
Keep a big mug of cold water next to you. When you start craving chocolate or some junk, recount why you don't want to eat that, then satisfy the impulse to put something in your mouth by drinking as much as you want from the water. If you keep wanting the chocolate, drink more water.

It's tasteless and fresh which for me made for the great feeling of washing away the stupid desire for junk. Plus, I don't really like water, which made me sorta feel like a spartan for substituting it for junk. Which also was a reinforcement.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby raehealy » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

We all know that fruit is healthier then chocolate, but it just isn't as fulfilling, is it?

Does anyone here get excited about eating an apple, whereas the thought of a creamy bar of chocolate is sooo comforting!

One way to stop eating rubbish is to bring a toothbrush and a very minty toothpaste to work with you and if the craving gets too strong then clean your teeth. They will feel so shiny and smooth that you won't want to spoil them with a sticky bar of sugary chocolate. You can get through an awful lot of toothpaste this way tho'. :D

I also bribe myself by saying if I can get through the day without eating rubbish I can have a small chocolate treat in the evening. Then keep putting off that treat for as long as you can. Sometimes I leave it so long that it's too late to bother and I feel very virtuous to have resisted all day.

A few years ago I actually went for two years without eating any chocolate, biscuits, sweets, ice cream etc. Once I got past the first three days I lost the taste for chocolate (it really does disappear!!). Unfortunately, my sister came to stay and when I boasted I'd gone for two years without eating sweet things she said " life's too short to deprive oneself". After that I started to secretly agree, ate a small piece of choc (tasted far too sweet) and fell of the wagon!!

I have a quote pinned up beside my desk.
"Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" and when I get hungry for rubbish I try and remind myself how much I hate it when my clothes don't fit, which (sometimes) works.

If all else fails and you eat something bad don't give up and start gorging, allow yourself a small mistake and start again.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Ari Maze » Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

I just noticed that when I'm very excited about my plans for a day and I do what I love to do, I forget about food.
I think this could be useful for somebody to know.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Dave_Wise » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:00 am UTC

Same way I stop myself smoking- I gibber unintelligibly, rock back and forth and moan, then do sets of pullups, hold L-sits, etc. until the urge goes away. Unless it's a rest day, in which case I'm kinda screwed. Drawing seems to help. If I'm really stuck, there's a relaxation exercise where you breath in, and then try and make the out breath last just a little longer, and slowly deepen the breathing.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Van » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

This thread is totally relevant to my interests!

I work nights at a grocery store. It's really, really common for me to only stop moving for maybe 20 minutes in a given night (ha, ha "lunch"), and walking all the way across the store to wash my hands pretty much never happens. I tend to just grab something I can eat while walking from place to place, something convenient, hands free, and stress reducing... which is almost always the chocolate by the checkstands. I love chocolate, but I don't really want to go up a(nother) size.

It is turning into a vicious cycle, because the chocolate really doesn't do much for my hunger, it just delays it, so I'm starving when I get home, so I eat more on top of the empty calories :( What can I do? Would power bars be "better"? My usual diet involves snacking a lot, which is great when I can eat fruit and veggies, but that just isn't working now...
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby shocklocks » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:49 pm UTC

Get fruit from the produce isle and snack on that instead of your daily chocolate bar? Can you really not take anything with you? Even a drink bottle with a fruit/vege and whey smoothie would work. It's easy to make a smoothie that's filling and more nutritious on it's own then what a fair few people my age eat in a day.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Van » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:14 pm UTC

I could take something with me, but it'd need to be hands-off edible. It takes like, two minutes before my hands are turning black, less if I'm working with tubs (plastic, reusable. never, ever washed in their multi-year life). My store is really laid out stupidly, it'd technically be faster to go outside and wash my hands than it would be to visit the restroom. I guess a smoothie could work, but I don't really see those surviving up to 12 hours, in terms of munching or lack of refrigeration?
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby jendral_hxr » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Sytri wrote:I'm trying to get fit, am aiming to run the London marathon next year (cant this year as I had a back operation and am not allowed to run until June), and I'm doing exercises that I can but I feel that I'm sabotaging myself when I snack on chocolate or crisps.

Do the exercise more! (rather than slacking with chocolate in front of tv)
I found no interest in unhealty-snack after doing my exercise on my roadbike (about an hour)
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby markop2003 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:29 pm UTC

1. Don't buy them.
2. Buy something like celery or cucumber instead, it's cheap has pretty much no calories and has a satisfying crunch.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Aug 07, 2010 11:13 pm UTC

I'm enjoying seasonal fruit. It's almost impossible for me to eat enough apples in a day to gain weight, since having two every work-mandated snack-break is actually pretty filling. If you have a vegetable you like, particularly something water-dense or fibre-dense like cucumbers or carrots, totally go for that, too.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Dark567 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:37 pm UTC

markop2003 wrote:1. Don't buy them.


This was the best thing I ever did for my health. If I don't buy food thats bad for me, I won't eat food thats bad for me.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby nfine » Thu Aug 12, 2010 8:28 am UTC

I find that trail mix is the ultimate snack. Mixed nuts and some raisins always satisfies me until the next meal. Just be sure not to eat too much

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Sytri » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:29 pm UTC

Thought I'd comment back to tell you the difference. I now cycle 6 miles a day and have started going to the gym. They gave me a fitness programme to follow so that I'm not wasting time doing things I dont need to.

But anyway, the snacking. I've managed to cut it down by bringing fruit to work or making sure I have a lot of water to counter the hungry feeling. Plus the fact that I'm losing weight makes me want to keep it off more.

Thanks to all that helped with advice :)
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Solt » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:12 am UTC

Sytri wrote:I'm trying to get fit, am aiming to run the London marathon next year (cant this year as I had a back operation and am not allowed to run until June), and I'm doing exercises that I can but I feel that I'm sabotaging myself when I snack on chocolate or crisps.


Wait a minute. I gave the wrong advice last time.

The real question is, why do you think you can train for a marathon while eating less? Your body needs FUEL to run 26 miles. I wouldn't change your eating habits, I would train hard for the marathon.

Most people set a modest exercise goal for themselves when they want to lose weight, such as run on the treadmill 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. THOSE people need to cut down on calories as well to lose weight. But if you're going to do something so grueling as a marathon? Get used to the term "carb loading" because you're going to want to eat as much sugar (mostly complex carbohydrates) as possible before you go on long runs, otherwise you're going to find yourself out of energy to the point of wanting to vomit if you keep pushing yourself. And your times/distances will stop improving after a point. I don't care who you are or what you eat, no one can maintain a heavy body weight running 5-10 miles or more per day every day. Michael Phelps eats 10,000+ calories a day.

So yea, if you have modest workout goals, cut out that junk food. If you want to run the marathon and get a decent time, listen to your body and stuff your face. Just make sure that if you stop training you stop eating as well.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby cybermutiny » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:13 am UTC

jtw wrote:Don't buy them in the first place.


This is great advice, but sometimes is easier said than done.

Ari Maze wrote:I just noticed that when I'm very excited about my plans for a day and I do what I love to do, I forget about food.
I think this could be useful for somebody to know.


This is an extremely good point that I think is constantly overlooked -- being attuned to the state of mind that causes you to want to eat (or, conversely, to not want to eat).

I worked in behavioral weight loss for 3 years and I think there is so much emphasis placed on 'losing weight' that it has become some great psychological hurdle, in our minds, like some impossible dream to achieve. But, as Ari Maze pointed out, when you are having an action-packed day, if you have traveled someplace new, chances are on those days that you not thinking too much about food. The simple act of going for a walk, visiting a friend, reading a book, can often make us LESS hungry.

Another point I would make: cook all your meals from scratch, never buy any meals. It's easier to eat healthily when you control everything that is going in your body, and oftentimes you'll take in less calories when you're cooking your own food because of sheer laziness (cooking food takes time, so, you are less likely to cook up a full-course meal).

Another point, related to the point above: figure out ways to cook vegetables well and eat a ton of these in a sitting. Aside from being good sources of vitamins and minerals, vegetables just fill you up and have practically no calories. When I visited China and Southeast Asia, I was surprised that (rather than eating huge bowls of rice), the people were eating meals consisting of about 50-75% vegetables. They have all kind of stir-frys, spices, and ways of adding zest to vegetables, and the people are skinny as hell there. I lost so much weight without even trying (and I was already skinny).

So good luck with your marathon goal, and experiment trying different things to stop your bad snacking habits.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:57 am UTC

My house is full of the tasty (and reasonably healthy) snacks for the kids. It's hard for me to not eat them.

I like rice cakes.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby fullmoonmidget » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:36 pm UTC

When I feel like snacking, I eat almonds. One at a time. You're working towards a specific fitness goal, not losing weight, so the calories shouldn't be a problem. Plus, protein. Pack several kinds of snacks in your lunch. Carrot sticks, string cheese, dried fruit. A lot of times the issue isn't what you're snacking on, simply that you're used to snacking.

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby mieulium » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:24 am UTC

I find that one of the ways to stop buying junk food is to shop for groceries after a meal. You tend to feel queasy while shopping for food and you dont let your gut lead you...
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Sytri » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:15 am UTC

A way I've found is to stop eating them for lent. This way when people ask why you aren't eating crap you can say, "because I've given them up for lent" then people don't have a go and say, "go on, just one." which is weird because I'm not religious and all my friends know that but once you say "lent" people dont question you not eating things. I'm hoping 40 odd days without silly foods will train my body to not crave them so I can last the distance and have them as treats, like they should be.

(Although as an aside i did break on Tuesday and have some chocolate digestives but it was because my other half was so ill I got really worked up and worried and just needed something sweet. 3 biscuits later and I stopped and havent gone back to the open packet. :) )
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Kou_Kagerou » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:03 pm UTC

Sytri wrote:which is weird because I'm not religious and all my friends know that but once you say "lent" people dont question you not eating things.


Nuthin' wrong with using lent as a way to break free of a habit. I used it to stop me from playing video games back in the day. It's actually pretty cool that your friends don't heckle you for using lent as a means to your end. Very nice of them, it would seem.

As for the original subject, I stopped snacking on junk foods when I went to college and realized that my monthly stipend lasted longer if I cooked from scratch. That really helped redirect my eating habits. I even stopped having soft drinks regularly and almost completely quit buying impulse junk food because I realized that one saved dollar here and there could go to my manga collection. (Oh yes, my sweet sweet non-food addiction...)

What I found remarkable though is what happened after my year and a half in college. When I got a job and actually had money to spend, I found soft drinks were too sweet and so were many of the junk foods I had to wean myself off of. I still find many junk foods too salty or too damned sweet.

Has anyone else noticed a marked change in the flavor of junk foods after cutting them out of your routine diet?

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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon May 09, 2011 2:50 pm UTC

Has anyone here ever had a particularly bad day health-wise because they were actually eating healthy? While I've had horrible days when I basically eat nothing but sugar, I've found that if I try to eliminate all junk food, my body gets pretty wacky.

For example, the other day I started out with oatmeal (just a little brown sugar), had a big salad for lunch (no dressing - I forgot it), and some chicken, pasta, and peas for dinner. I also had some veggies for snacks. I was dragging all day.

Normally, I'd start with honey bunches of oats or frosted mini wheats, have a granola bar for a snack, have a sandwich (PB&J or Turkey), jello, and an apple or applesauce for lunch, another granola bar for a snack, and my dinner varies (usually chicken and a starch). I often have a can of pop at night as well.

Granted, this seems to indicate some sort of blood sugar issue (diabetes does run in my family) so maybe I should have that checked out. Or it could be that I just wasn't eating enough.

But I'm trying to cut down on junk food and have managed to nearly get rid of potato chips and such. Now I'm targeting sugar. Granted, I didn't fully get rid of grease - I allow it on things that I actually cook. (I still use real butter, etc. but I try to control amounts) Maybe trying to completely eliminate sugar from my diet was the issue.

The big issue for me is pop. Holy crap do I love that stuff. Root Beer is amazing. Still, I'm going to put a date on each can that I have. Only one can per week. Hopefully that will work.

I'm trying to lose a few pounds (it's totally not cool that I'm actually above 150 lbs now - I want to be about 140) so I know that cutting out some stuff will really be beneficial. I just have to do it in a way that my body will tolerate.

The good thing is that fruit season is almost here!!! I won't even look at skittles or snickers if I can have some fresh strawberries!

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podbaydoor
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby podbaydoor » Tue May 10, 2011 5:18 pm UTC

Targeting sugar doesn't mean you have to get rid of all carbs. Fruit for snacks do help (especially crunchy stuff, it helps wake you up if you're dragging, so things like apples). Maybe adding lean protein to your breakfast will help you maintain energy throughout the day.
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Tue May 10, 2011 6:51 pm UTC

I tend to bake my own sweet stuff, so I can control my diet, without having to conciously fight eating stuff like that.

Of course there are only so many calorie decreasing modifications you can make to say... A cake recipe, before the resultant cake tastes of shit; so it's a fine balance.

My tendency however is simply to increase my levels of exercise if my calorie intake rises.
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biodomino
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby biodomino » Thu May 12, 2011 6:47 am UTC

I generally avoid snacking by not buying snacks. If I buy snacks, I eat them. It takes less self control to not buy it than to buy it and not eat it.

PerchloricAcid
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby PerchloricAcid » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:53 am UTC

Drink water. Lots of it.

I'd felt the urge to nibble on something during exam preparation, but found the process too dirty (e.g. holding a pencil => hands get dirty => can't eat, and vice versa: eating something => hands get kinda sticky => can't hold the pencil). Well, it's not that I really couldn't eat, it's just that I got too neurotic (germophobe :wink: ) even on the sole thought of it. So, I figured that satisfying the nibbling urge with drinking water (or tea, I like tea) might actually work. Then I bought myself a big glass (0.5l, like the ones for beer) and kept refilling it with water as I studied.
Since then, I've developed the supposedly healthy habit of drinking at least 2l of water on a daily basis, and completely lost the habit of "snacking".

If you don't like the water idea, try with something (not anything) else.
Basically, the idea is:
1. don't buy snacks
2. find something healthier to replace snacks with.

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Evengeduld
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Re: How do you stop yourself from snacking on bad things?

Postby Evengeduld » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:58 am UTC

PerchloricAcid wrote:If you don't like the water idea, try with something (not anything) else.
Basically, the idea is:
1. don't buy snacks
2. find something healthier to replace snacks with.


Either don't buy them yes :)
or just buy healthy snacks or replace with fruit like suggested many times before.
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