Can’t stop eating snacks at work? Snacking at work can be a sign of boredom, stress, overwork and lack of sleep.

Many people, especially, women have food cravings, which drive them to snack on sugary simple carbohydrate, salty food and alcohol. Craving is not the same as feeling hungry. Craving makes you feel driven to have the chocolate chip cookie every afternoon even when you are not hungry or crave a glass of wine after work.

Craving and snacking is a sign of imbalances in the body:

  • Hormonal imbalance – fluctuation in insulin and leptin level in the blood can cause mood swing and irritability.
  • Adrenal imbalancestress at work creates energy requirement in the body, which drives the body cells to look for nutrients.
  • Neurotransmitter imbalance – drop in serotonin signal the brain to need a “pick me up”

Why can’t you stop?

Eating fatty food cause the body to release endocannabinoid, a marijuana-like chemical that makes you feel good and addicted such that you cannot stop.

The proceedings of the National Academy of Science by Nicholas DiPatrizio and his team on 5 July 2011 reported the connection between fat intake and the production of endocannabinoid. When rodents were fed with high fat drink, it triggers the release of endocannabinoid but protein or carbohydrate drinks did not.

Eating sugary food (simple carbohydrate) cause the serotonin level to surge in the brain, which makes you feel great. But as insulin that is secreted to control the blood sugar level cause the blood sugar level to slump as quickly as it rises, which also reduce the level of serotonin in the brain. This drives the brain to scream for more sugar to increase the serotonin level. That causes you to scramble for more carbohydrate and sugar.

How can you stop?

1) Feed the body with good nutrition

Eating according to MyPlate. Fill your plate with lean protein, preferably from plant source and 7 portions of fruits and vegetable with whole grains a day. When the body is properly nourished, there will not be any imbalances that trigger the snacking and cravings.

2) Exercise

Regular moderate exercise produce endorphin, which is the feel good hormone that gives you a sense of well-being. Increase in activities reduce the boredom and helps the body to counter stress better.

3) Get adequate sleep

Lack of sleep trigger the body to produce leptin, a hormone that affects appetite. High level of leptin increases appetite, which cause you to eat more. Obese people have been found to have more leptin in the body.

4) Eat a large breakfast

Eating a large, healthy breakfast of complex carbohydrate and protein, provide essential nutrients that nourish the body for a day’s work challenges. As the saying goes, “ Eat breakfast like a king”. So, wake up early enough to enjoy a proper breakfast.

5) Healthy snacks

If you really must snack, choose healthy ones such as fruits, carrot and celery sticks, nuts and seeds, and yoghurt. They are a great source of energy, fiber and antioxidants. By supplying the body regularly with healthy snacks throughout the day, it sustains the energy level and metabolic rate, which can help to lose weight.

When you give in to the craving and eat unhealthy snacks such as potato chips, cookies or biscuits, which are simple carbohydrates and oily, you are sure to gain weight.

Try these ways to stop your unhealthy snacking habit and you are well on your way to better energy and alertness to handle the challenges of work.

Do you have other ways to help stop unhealthy snacking? Share with me in the comment box below.

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