Learn how to lean out and drop it like it's hot.


Lori Wasserman - Author  | 
August 7, 2015
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How to tell if you NEED those munchies...

It’s not hard to fall victim to eating out of boredom. Sometimes food is just the distraction you need to take a break from that interminable excel spreadsheet.

While a bite here and a nibble there may not seem like much, mindless munching can easily pack on a few extra pounds when you’re not looking (because you’re too busy shoveling in the Cheez-its). Our minds can trick us into thinking we’re hungry and so we start-a-snackin’. But do not fret, humble hoarders, there are ways to avoid unnecessary chowing.

Learning the signals to differentiate between hunger and boredom will help you lose some lb’s and feel more energetic.


The 4 Hour Rule: Our bodies take approximately 4 hours to digest the last meal. If you’re eating good nourishing foods, and you’ve eaten in the last couple of hours, odds are you’re not hungry – you’re bored. If you’ve eaten some crappy fast food and you’re still hungry, it’s likely because your body is craving the nutrients that it didn’t get from your Taco Bell binge. Try having a banana or a cup of tea. This will usually shut off the “bored” signal your brain is sending you.

Balanced Breakfast: A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tracked the diets of nearly 900 adults and found that when people ate more fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and ate less over the course of the day compared to those who ate their bigger meals later on. Make sure you consume at least 250 calories at breakfast and be sure to add some good fiber like fruit or whole grains to keep you feeling full.

Vegetables Keep You Full Longer: Because salads and veggies are high in fiber, they take longer to digest and keep you feeling full for hours. Vegetables are also low calorie foods, so you can eat loads of them without the guilt. Eating a nice big salad every day will keep your body full of vitamins and minerals, and this will lead to less cravings for the bad stuff during the day. Just make sure to keep your salad nutritious–that means limit the fatty add-ons like deceiving dressings, less than lean meats, and caloric cheeses.

Go Nuts: The hormone Ghrelin is that nasty monster that stimulates your appetite and makes your stomach growl like a tiger on a rampage. Eating just a handful of nuts can make your levels of Ghrelin take a nose-dive and cage that angry tiger. Nuts are full of protein, fiber, Omega 3s and good fats. They stabilize your blood sugar levels and are a great way to control hunger throughout the day. Keeping a stash on you at all times will keep your snacking in check and your stomach full.

Eat Your Protein: Protein is one of the main factors in feeling full. When researchers at Purdue University asked 46 dieting women to eat either 30% or 18% of their calories from protein, the high-protein eaters felt more satisfied and less hungry. Plus, over the course of 12 weeks, the women preserved more lean body mass, which includes calorie-burning muscle. Make sure to add both animal and plant proteins to your diet. Some great sources are: chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts. Add these babies to your salads for a protein and fiber packed double-whammy meal.

If you’re still confused about whether you’re truly hungry or just bored, try these tips: Have a cup of tea or coffee, go for a short walk, call a friend – just get your mind occupied. When all else fails, grab a small piece of fruit. Whatever fruit you choose, it’s likely to have far fewer calories than that box of cookies you’ve been eyeing.