How to Avoid the Mindless Munchies

By , SparkPeople Blogger

We’ve all had the ''I deserve this'' or ''I just need to relax'' munchies. What can we do to prevent them? After a long day of work, you come home exhausted. Or maybe you’ve spent the day feeling depressed, or maybe you’ve worked really hard on your plan. Perhaps you’ve had a fight with someone, or have been disappointed. The ''I deserve this'' or ''I just need to relax'' munchies'' actually fall under the category of emotional eating.

The ''I deserve this'' category means something is missing. Maybe you’ve had someone be too hard on you; maybe you’ve been too hard on yourself. What you are looking for is a treat. If you can control the portion and lay down some rules, this can be overcome. I personally overcame it by allowing myself treats out of the house. Treats are too tempting in the house. If they do have to come home, they are in a small portion or size. The other method, which I find impossible, is putting treats on your no-no food list.

The ''I just need to relax'' munchies are a sign that you may have some anxiety or stress issues. I’ve personally handled these issues by talking, blogging, and attending professional therapy sessions. There is a list of things that calm me and soothe me without food now. Candles, baths, blogging, talking, helping others and physical activity all seem to help.

It's important to sort the ''head hunger'' from the ''real hunger.'' Try drinking a huge glass of water; this gives you time to distract yourself. Then try other distractions like playing games online, physical activity, relaxing with candles, shopping, getting your haircut or even scheduling an appointment. By then, you know if you are really hungry. If you are, eat a healthy meal or snack that actually fills you. If you are not, then you have to decide to do ''damage control.'' As I say, ''One slice of pizza always has less calories than two.''

Keep your head clear. Don’t be seduced by the eating frenzy that leads to the food coma state. Yes, it is enticing to some of us because we are hooked on the brain chemical release that being overly full produces. We literally get hooked on our own chemistry like a drug, so when we try to eat less, it is literally like withdrawal for some. That makes us feel nervous and like we ''need to relax.''

There are super support groups here on SparkPeople for just about every need, and emotional eating is one of them. I’m a member of the Emotional Eating Group and it has helped me.

SparkPeople has also launched SparkPeople LIVE! meetings where you can see and talk with others via webcam and microphone. Sometimes Chris Downie, Coach Nicole, and even Coach Stepf have graced us with lessons. I’ve attended support meetings there and still do when I can. There are classes at about any time of day and evening. This is a great tool! It keeps me motivated and out of the kitchen for an hour. Then I feel so fired up after the meeting that I don’t want to binge or overeat. I find a healthy snack instead.

Finding people with the same issues can be good and bad. You can help each other fight together, or go down together. Find strong people to lean on at first to hold you up while you also communicate with Spark friends with the same issues.

These are my personal tips and tricks. Take what you like and leave the rest.

What do you do about the ''I deserve this'' or ''I just need to relax'' munchies?