I’ve been teaching an on-going healthy eating and weight loss class. A couple weeks ago I got an email from one of the students. She said, “I’m trying to be mindful of what I eat, but I’ve concluded that a major problem of mine is having a hungry mouth, even though I have a happily full tummy.”
She wondered if others have the same problem and asked for possible solutions to the hungry mouth.
I proposed her topic to my class. Many agreed that wanting to put something in their mouth when they really weren’t hungry is always a challenge. I’m guessing that there are folks everywhere with this problem and especially now with all the weigh-loss resolutions that it’s a hurdle for many.
My class offered these ideas to overcome this obstacle. They might work for you or your class members.
- Duct tape—this was a real answer—they were only half joking.
- Challenge yourself to wait for a time to eat. If it’s 2:15 p.m. challenge yourself to wait until 3 p.m. until you eat something (think: a fruit or a yogurt). Chances are you’ll get involved with a project or activity and 3 p.m. will pass and you’ll forget you were hungry. If not, get yourself a healthy snack.
- Brush your teeth. Sometimes just the sweet taste of the toothpaste is all you need in your mouth. Or if it’s nighttime maybe you won’t eat again because you don’t want to brush your teeth again.
- Distract yourself for 20 minutes. This might be time to fit in that walk.
- Don’t sabotage yourself by watching the cooking channel, reading food magazines or looking at food catalogs (even the fruit catalogs have very branched out to add sugary mouth-watering goodies.
- Don’t have tempting foods in the house.
- Buy really good chocolate and allow yourself one piece a day. This satisfies the sweet tooth.
- Drink a big glass of water. If you’re craving sweets add some sweet flavoring to the water.
- Put the snack bags away. Out-of-sight out-of-mind. Make your own “snack packs” and limit yourself to so many a day or week.
- If you want a dessert in a restaurant get one “for the table”. That way you get a taste but don’t have the temptation to eat the whole thing.
None of these are foolproof, but could give that little edge you need against that “hungry mouth”.
Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University
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