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6 easy ways to stop eating mindlessly

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weight-loss. 6 easy ways to stop eating mindlessly >> Here's how to stop your non-stop noshing once and for all

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* Banish hunger
"Skipping meals sets you up for intense cravings," says nutritionist Susan Kraus. Eating regular meals of complex carbs - not refined ones like white bread and pasta—with protein and a small amount of healthy fat will keep your blood sugar steady, and you feeling satisfied. When you do snack between meals, make smart choices.

* Identify triggers
Keep a food log for a week, recording your moods, what stresses you out and how hungry you feel before eating. Once you've identified the things that drive you to raid your lolly stash, you can react productively instead of eating half a kilo of chocolate.

* Wait it out
You're most susceptible to your brain's demands during the 20 minutes after a stressful episode - the amount of time it takes for serotonin to bounce back and stress hormones to fall. If you can resist a temptation for just that long, the urge will probably fade.

* Drink something
The hypothalamus, your brain's control centre for mood- and food-related signals, detects thirst as well as hunger. Gulp a glass of water or hot tea (make it decaf - caffeine can trigger the release of stress chemicals) and see if the craving passes.

* Blow it off
If you absolutely need an oral fix, reach for sugar-free gum. Australian researchers measured the levels of cortisol in the saliva of study subjects and found that on average, gum chewers had 16 per cent less of the stress hormone than non-chewers and responded better to stressful situations.

* See the lighter side
Studies show that laughter cuts stress, releases feel-good endorphins and burns kilojoules just an hour of hilarity can torch about as many kJs as a half-hour of lifting weights.

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