If you're not hungry, why are you eating?
We can find ourselves in situations where we are eating for no reason -- what has been coined "mindless" eating by experts, including Brian Wansink, PhD, a Cornell University researcher who has conducted numerous studies on the subject.
But eating without thinking can lead to consuming unneeded calories and weight gain, said Keri Gans, a registered dietitian based in New York, and author of "The Small Change Diet: 10 Steps to a Thinner, Healthier You" (Gallery Books; 2011).
"If you're just grabbing and eating, you're going to end up most likely consuming more calories than you need," Gans told HuffPost. "And by consuming more calories than you need, you'll most likely find you're gaining weight because you're not paying attention to what you are eating."
Gans suggests that when you feel like eating a snack, keep in mind the five Ds: delay, determine, distract, distance and decide. Waiting before eating reminds you to be mindful about your snack. And actually thinking about whether you are hungry or not forces you to consider what exactly you are putting in your body, Gans said. If you're not hungry, distracting yourself with something else or distancing yourself from the food could help you to avoid the temptation of eating.
Some other tips Gans gives her clients? Pack a healthy snack ahead of time so you don't run for the vending machine come afternoon, and eat away from your desk or the TV so that you're mindful of how much you're eating.
Here are some other tips revealed by research that could help you win the battle against mindless eating and excess calories: