Avoiding Mindless Snacking After Work

I don’t know about you guys, but by the time 4 or 5 o’clock rolls around, I am hungry! I’ve usually had lunch around 1pm, so it makes sense to be ready for a snack at that time. Since I usually work out after work, it’s actually perfect timing because I have a snack after work (usually consisting of almonds, an apple and some crackers or granola) which fuels me for my workout.

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However, I find that when I don’t workout after work, I come home and I snack on EVERYTHING. I call that “mindless snacking”. I feel like I can’t stop munching on everything in my snack cabinet, and it’s not because I am hungry, it’s because I’m around and the snacks are there!

Last week, during my two consecutive days of rest from the gym, I thought about ways to avoid going right home after work and facing the inevitable “mindless snacking”. It’s not that I wanted to stop myself from snacking (please. I am a professional snacker and believe in fueling myself consistently throughout the day to keep my metabolism going and to avoid binging at the next meal), but I wanted to stop myself from eating an unnecessary amount of snacks. What I love about working out after work is it takes up those “dead hours” (between 4 and 7 for me. I never know what to do during those hours if I’m not at work or the gym) and stops the mindless snacking (I brought this up with my friends and they actually said that the only way to avoid after work mindless snacking is by going to the gym… I guess I’m not the only one who thinks this way!). But when I don’t work out after work and don’t have after work plans with friends, here’s what I do!

Work Late (or later than normal)

If I know I have a wide open afternoon, I’ll usually take a longer lunch and stay late at work catching up on things I usually don’t do because I’m rushing out to get to the gym to workout or teach a class. It’s nice to not be on a time crunch and rushing out of the office sometimes.

Call my family or friends

I usually call everyone in my family and make them talk to me when I have an afternoon with no plans. A lot of times it’s when I am walking home, but I’ve also talked to my mom as I’ve cooked dinner. It’s a good excuse to catch up with everyone and it keeps me occupied so I don’t snack!

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Go shopping!

Ok, if you’re on a spending freeze, this isn’t a good idea, but you can always window shop! Last Tuesday, I headed over to Faneuil Hall and shopped at The Loft, Banana Republic and The Gap. Most of what I did was just browse around the store, but I did end up getting a great pair of blue work pants on sale for $22! I’m usually in a rush when I’m shopping (moreso because I don’t do well with puttering around stores. I like to go in, get what I’m looking for and leave), but since I was trying to waste time to avoid mindless snacking, I puttered and looked at everything!

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Take the long way home (usually I am walking, so this is also getting a little active rest/light exercise in)

I walk a decent amount every day anyway since the T is a .5 mile walk from my apartment and the walk from the Aquarium to my office is about .75 miles, but on rest days, I try to get a little extra in. After sitting for most of the day, it feels good to walk around and loosen up, especially if I am sore!

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Tackle that project you’ve had on your “to-do” list

Not long ago, I finally went through all of the exercises I ripped out from magazines over the years and organized them; I threw out ones I didn’t need and wrote down the ones I wanted so that I could have a consolidated list. It was one of those things I had wanted to do for a while, but never got around to it. I also organized all of my UXF Burn, SHRED and Kickboxing workouts into separate packets so that I could easily refer to past workouts when creating new ones. Other projects I work on with free time are blogging ones and closet organization (I always start with organized closets, but somehow they always get disorganized in no time at all).

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Read a Book

As I was talking about this topic with my friends over the weekend, Jessi said she tries to read a book to avoid snacking. I couldn’t agree more! Especially if it’s a good book and you get wrapped up in it. A few months ago, I went to the park on a Sunday afternoon and read my book for 2 hours (and I napped!), which is something I don’t do often enough.

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Did I miss any? What do you do to avoid “mindless snacking”? When you shop, do you putter or are you usually on a mission and try to get in and out of the store as fast as possible? What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

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