say stop snacking!

say stop snacking!

The irresistible call of the bag of crisps, surely you know? And the little voice that urges you to open the kitchen cupboard, when it’s not mealtime? The small hollows of the end of the morning, the afternoon or the evening lead to a panic of the scale, a certain guilt and can have a negative impact on physical and mental health. To get out of it, naturopath Esther Schmitt has a plan.

Did you know ? At the table, consuming plants and vegetables first before moving on to starches will allow you to be satiated more quickly and to first fill up with vitamins and amino acids.

1. First, observe yourself!

Without feeling guilty, in order to analyze your food urges: when do they arrive? Are they accompanied by an emotion? Was the previous meal balanced and rich in quality nutrients?

The right tool : To take stock, Esther Schmitt proposes to fill in a small table with three entries: why am I snacking? What am I snacking on? What physical symptoms accompany this situation (stomach ache, bloating, etc.)?

2. Go on the attack for seven days

To reset the counters, our specialist recommends limiting yourself to healthy meals that follow the principles of chrononutrition. This consists of providing the necessary nutrients when your body needs them. By choosing fast-digesting, healthy and satiating foods, the feeling of hunger outside meals disappears and the body even regains energy.

On the menu : Vegetables, legumes, fresh or cooked fruit, potatoes, sweet potato, olive oil, spices and herbs, coconut yoghurts (in organic stores). Exit meat, dairy products and cereals (pasta, rice, wheat).

The trick : “Do it in fun mode”, advises Esther Schmitt. Listen to a podcast while cooking, decorate your table, set the menus you like… And if you don’t succeed, don’t despair, maybe it wasn’t the right time. Take a step back and look for ways to improve your next try.

3. Daily balance

After seven days, all quality foods can return to your plate. But “listen up! reminds our specialist, if you’re not hungry in the morning, don’t force yourself. It’s not about complying with rules that don’t suit you!

Breakfast : Think of animal or vegetable proteins that will act on your enthusiasm and your satiety. Accompany them with a fatty acid (nuts) and slow sugars that will keep them going until noon: seed breads, buckwheat or oat flakes, cold cuts without nitrite, fruits and vegetables.

At lunch : The ideal is to consume raw vegetables, then follow up with a dish made up of vegetables, meat or fish and starchy foods.

At snack : Seasonal fruits, dark chocolate, oilseeds, a slice of cheese or hummus, possibly a homemade cake.

At dinner : Prepare proteins if the ration has been too low during the previous meals, as well as vegetables with, if you wish, starches and a dessert.

4. To hold

Distinguish between pleasure and nibbling. To make a difference, start from the emotion felt at that moment. Are you happy and mindful? Are you celebrating something? If so, you are in the happy and assumed snack, which is the opposite of the compensation that occurs when you feel alone, abandoned, upset, unoccupied, sad or angry, for example.

Talk to your mind : Sometimes the desire for a little snack can delay the move to action, whether it’s a job to do, a phone call to make, gardening to start… If you are in procrastination, Esther Schmitt recommends speaking out loud to your mind and telling it that you understand that it does not want to get started, but that you have objectives and that you must do other choices.

In case of emergency : Start by taking the time to breathe for one minute. If the urge is still as strong, opt for dried and fresh fruit, homemade sorbets with no added sugar, plain or lemon water, dark chocolate. Then go for a walk, get some fresh air, relax or take action…and think about something else.

3 questions to Esther Schmitt

©Gianluca Tesauro

Naturopath expert in nutrition, author of the book I free myself from nibbling, the method in 21 dayspublished by Éditions Eyrolles, which also contains menus and simple recipes.

France Sunday: Why do we nibble?

Esther Schmitt : Eating is not enough, we must attach importance to nutrients. When the body does not receive the good ones, it demands them and encourages us to eat. The cause is then physiological, but it can also be emotional. A peak of stress is accompanied, for example, by an influx of sugar in the blood, then by a reactive hypoglycaemia which will lead to a sugar craving. There is also an excess of dopamine which activates the reward circuit in our brain and will make us want to eat.

FD: Why do we start snacking again when we know it’s not good?

ES : Because we live in a consumer society where everything has to go fast and it’s not expensive, advertising invites us to consume, applications allow us to obtain ready-made meals that do not feed us properly … And the injunctions – you have to be green, positive, creative… – which also generate tension and guilt.

FD: How to get out of this vicious circle?

ES : By taking responsibility. It’s an effort at the start, but you have to re-discipline in a joyful and fun way. No one is forcing you to eat seeds or spirulina if you don’t like it! I propose to everyone to function as an explorer and to observe themselves. It is a question of getting to know oneself, with one’s weaknesses, with one’s difficulties, to understand “why did I snack? “. Putting awareness on one’s actions will initiate change. The rule is to start from yourself.

Julie Boucher

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