One of the most effective ways I have found to avoid eating between planned meals and snacks–especially during the weight loss part of my lifestyle change–is to chew gum or eat mints. (Just make sure they’re sugar-free! Your teeth and dentist will thank you.) Even though they have calories or carbohydrates in them, most often along with artificial sugars, these trade-offs are worth it. Mint or cinnamon flavors are especially good choices because they pretty much ruin the flavor of any food you might stick in your mouth, so they’re a good deterrent.
I quickly identified when I was most tempted to indulge: When I was cooking, portioning out snacks, or grazing through the kitchen out of boredom, stress, or whatever else emotional issue sent me looking for a diversion. Gum prevented me from sampling anything I was preparing for a meal. When I got home from food shopping and needed to portion out snacks and desserts, I always put gum in my mouth before I even started. If I found myself roaming around the kitchen, I made my way to the gum tin to treat myself to one of the varieties of gum or mints I stocked.
Not only is gum an excellent way to help you stick to your food plan. According to the ADA, it keeps your mouth clean and strengthens tooth enamel by prompting saliva flow. And an interesting bit of international news- even though Singapore banned chewing gum as a public nuisance (see the amazingly clean sidewalks in the photo?), it allows pharmacies to sell gum for dental health reasons.
But if you’re in a situation where gum just isn’t going to cut it, here are a few posts that offer more suggestions that you may have missed:
If all else fails, just be sure that you make an effort to enjoy what you decide to eat and cut yourself a break for caving.