A very common question that gets asked:
"How do you handle snacking, especially at night? I keep snacking in the evening, even when I'm not really hungry."
The typical suggestions include... "drink herbal tea", "brush your teeth", "pray", "drink more water", "chew gum", "go for a walk", "eat sugar-free Jell-O", "remove all snack foods from the house".
While some of these ideas can be helpful in the moment, they don't offer the long-term solution you're actually looking for.
The way to handle snacking when you're not hungry is to break the habit. Anything else is just a temporary fix.
Here are the steps that will break the habit of snacking even when you're not really hungry:
With curiosity (instead of judgment)…
Become your own private investigator.
Notice when you feel the urge to get a snack.
Pause and ask yourself some questions, "am I hungry" If not, "What am I thinking/feeling right now?"; "Will this snack help?"; "How will I feel after I eat this?"; "What can I do that will feel better?"
Decide if you want the snack, or not.
Make a choice and move on.
As you keep practicing these 5 steps, pausing to question yourself will get easier. Doing this puts you in the driver’s seat of your own actions.
It doesn't matter whether you eat the snack or not. The whole point of this exercise is that you will make a conscious choice. That's how you take back control, and how you break the habit of snacking when you're not hungry.
I invite you to practice these steps as often as you remember and be gentle with yourself as you learn about your specific eating patterns.
Chances are that your patterns with food have been around for a while. Offering yourself compassion will go a long way toward making positive and permanent changes to your eating patterns.