If you've ever looked at different packages for a variety of different snack foods like cookies, pretzels, crackers, or chips, you'll notice the serving sizes are often comically small, like 2 cookies or 7 pretzels. Who is opening up these packages, eating so few bites, and truly being satisfied? If you pay no attention to these guidelines, or just instead prefer to ignore this serving suggestion and mindlessly munch on any of these for 20+ minutes at a time, you may want to rethink your snack choices. Try not to eat foods you know that you can't (or won't be able to) control your portions with. And while I don't want to encourage you to eat mindlessly, I'm realistic, it happens. So for the times when you know it's inevitable, I have some suggestions...
If you can't resist mindlessly eating sometimes, then one of the best options is to make your own air popped popcorn; you can even drizzle it with a small amount (no more than 1 tablespoon) of melted butter or oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper or any spices you like. Popcorn is so filling and you can eat a pretty big serving (3 cups) of it for very few calories. If you want to save even more calories, snack on fresh vegetables like carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, and even kale or brussels sprout chips. It won't be a big deal if you overdo it on any of those, because not only are they low in calories, but they're high in vitamins and minerals.
I personally don't like tiny portions of foods; I can't typically enjoy just 7 pretzels or 11 crackers, especially not when I'm particularly hungry. I need something more satiating. Small portions are necessary though for some foods if you must have them. The trick to being able to stick to, and be satisfied with, the small portions of (for example) a rich dessert like cheesecake is to make sure you're eating an otherwise filling and nourishing diet. When that's the case, you won't be desperate and ravenous for enormous portions of indulgences; less will satisfy you and you won't feel deprived. This is key. If there's nutritional gaps in your diet from not eating enough healthy food, or you're hungry all the time from just snacking on junk all day long, then it's going to be a lot more difficult to resist the temptation to scarf down any food that's put in front of you. You don't want to be that person.
I'll talk more in another post about how to eat healthy when work and your personal life keep you super busy. This is an issue for pretty much everyone, so it's really important to find the way that works for you to make a healthy lifestyle achievable. There is no one size fits all here, we all have different needs and schedules that require different sorts of planning and preparation, but we can all get it done! It's not always easy, but the results are worth it. And not every day is going to be perfect, and that's ok, we're all just doing the best we can. It's not about being perfect, it's about doing your best and making an effort every day. Some days you'll be able to make much bigger efforts, and some days much smaller; but as long as you keep going and never give up, you're kicking ass, remember that!
And for the times when you do lose control and have a big portion of junk food, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself and move on, and commit to not doing it again the next day. You are strong enough to move past this and keep moving forward. Every day is another new chance. Don't throw in the towel over one little mistake, just let it re-inspire and motivate you to do better tomorrow. Give yourself another chance to do better and I assure you, you will.
If you need more help with motivation and encouragement, I'll see you over in the Fit Club! Don't be shy, come join our supportive community, I'd love to see you there :)