This is not a diet or an alternative to your meals. It's just a number of tips to get you through a phase where food is becoming a compulsion, and you're snacking on random stuff at odd times and that is not healthy. You have to get off the habit, food for pleasure is an addiction as any other.
This is what has worked for me:
- Have something to do. Usually when I'm engrossed in something (usually work, I'm out, busy) and/or distracted, I don't think so much about eating. A book could work, meditation could work, yoga can definitely work. A movie, whatever. Keep busy, keep moving.
- Drink instead. This is a great one, and there's many things you can drink. First of all, try drinking a glass of water. Sometimes something as simple as that is enough, sometimes we think we're hungry and we're actually just thirsty. If you need something more interesting you can have green tea, if that's still not enough maybe tea with milk can work, and if all else fails, a hot chocolate is still better than a pack of chips in my book. Small steps. For me lately, tea with milk has been a great replacement for snacks. Remember to WAIT after you've had your drink before you decide if you need anything else, because cravings will take 10-15min to go away. Take that time to answer your emails.
Note: I don't find boxed juices a good idea, they are packed with sugar. Fresh lemon juice, yes.
- Smell something. This may sound like a crazy idea, but scented things can "feed" a craving. For example, I really like the gourmand Laura Mercier candles for when I need that kind of comfort that a bar of chocolate gives you. Fill up the place with candles. It really works!
I will say that munching on low-calorie or fat-free stuff doesn't work for me because it doesn't get rid of the habit. You're still chewing compulsively, and you are still filling up your stomach with food, therefore keeping it dilated and not allowing it to contract to its normal dimensions.
Finally, don't obsess over calorie consumption. These things don't really take into account the individuality of each person, and I don't find them accurate at all.
Final tip: For you to be succesful in beating this monster that is greed for food, you have to know what food is, and remind yourself of it, all the time. Understand that what western society has taught us about food is not true, and is not healthy. BE RUTHLESS. "Food as entertainment" is a bad idea. Food is meant to be eaten to keep you alive, not to keep you distracted. You get hungry, you eat nutrients, that's all you need. I know this sounds like we're in the military but it's good to have these ideas in your head to help you through the day, even if you choose to ignore them whenever. This is the truth: We don't need to be eating all the time, and it's also not healthy or normal to eat until you're full.
You have to be very determined and firm about your position here, because the media and society will tell you differently (duh, the sugar industry is one of the most powerful in the world). You are getting huge portions, and you are being offered temptation ALL the time. It's not fair! You have to know that while you have the choice of food for pleasure, and you can enjoy pleasure, pleasure cannot rule your life, you cannot let it control you. YOU tell pleasure when he's allowed to serve you!
I hope this was a useful or entertaining read! I have such a hard time not snacking because snacks are my favourite thing, and even with all this method I still do snack on things, but I feel like I can control it better now.