Fixing the Mindless Eating Chain

Fixing the Mindless Eating ChainHaving weight loss surgery helps to reduce your experience of hunger, which makes it a lot easier to lose weight. However, for many people the problem with overeating doesn’t come down to hunger alone. Overeating is all too often the result of mindless eating, and while weight loss surgery can reduce how hungry you feel, it doesn’t do anything to correct those mental stimulants that drive you to start eating.

Mindless eating is a problem that many people experience in some capacity. This refers to the habit of eating regardless of hunger, often without intention, and frequently without recognition of serving size or caloric intake. When you are trying to lose weight mindless eating can be quite dangerous, and is one of the most damaging habits to any weight loss plan.

How to Stop Mindless Eating

The only way to stop mindless eating from happening is to become more thoughtful and cognizant of your eating habits. Mindless eating works on a habit-fueled chain reaction. The food doesn’t magic its way into your hand and mouth, you put it there—but typically without thinking. Training yourself to recognize the behaviors that are getting you in trouble can help you stop these snacking habits in their tracks.

Mindless eating starts at the food store, where you load up the cart with unhealthy snacks that are way too easy to munch on without second thought. This includes things like cookies and chips, items that are packaged in bulk in one easy-open bag or container. These snacks are left on the counter or in the front of the pantry, somewhere in sight and easy to find. You are home, you are tired and watching TV, and you are board. The snacks are easy to grab and find their way to the couch (sometimes the bag is even left there, making it extra easy to grab the next time you sit down). You start to eat, still watching TV, and now there is virtually no barrier to make you stop. The bag is emptied, you realize you’ve eaten more than you wanted to, and guilt and frustration set in. These negative emotions drive you to want to eat more, and the next time you’re at the store more cookies and chips go into the cart. It is a negative loop that leads to a lot of excess calorie intake.

You can stop mindless eating in its tracks by putting an end to the cycle. Keep yourself positive at the food store by listening to upbeat music or motivational speakers while you shop, and keep the snacks out of the house! If snacks do end up at home, make sure they are kept out of sight. Put positive notes on your fridge and pantry door to remind yourself to stay on track with your weight loss efforts as a way to break the mindless eating trance on your way to find food. If you are going to have a snack, make a habit of taking one serving of food with you to the couch, not the entire bag.

Mindless eating leads to overeating, and overeating can be quite uncomfortable after weight loss surgery. With your stomach capacity limited it is more important than ever that you stay focused on your weight loss plan. For more help with structuring your weight loss diet and avoiding unhealthy eating behaviors after bariatric surgery contact your weight loss doctor.