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Distraction techniques

Walking park bench

If you feel like eating but are not physically hungry then try to do something else to take your mind off food. Some things that other people have found helpful include:

  • Going for a walk or other physical exercise
  • Visiting, phoning or texting friends or family
  • Writing a letter
  • Using the computer (no snacking)
  • Having a bath or shower
  • Cleaning the house or car or doing some DIY or gardening
  • Having a hot (low energy) drink in a favourite mug, low calorie vegetable soup or sparkling water in a wine glass
  • Doing a hobby such as knitting, sewing, cross stitch, jigsaw puzzles, drawing or painting, model making or playing a musical instrument. Occupy your hands.
  • Reading a book or magazine
  • Watching a video or something interesting on TV
  • Listening to music or playing an instrument
  • Doing crosswords or other puzzles
  • Treating yourself to a manicure or face mask
  • Think about your weight loss goals


Many people report that activities where they have to use their hands are the most effective at distracting them from eating.

Make sure you keep a diary so you can see which are your “danger” times and have some of these strategies ready. If you know certain things trigger you to snack then change your routine. Logging your daily food intake can help you recognise your emotional eating triggers.

Be as productive as possible whilst at work. If you have a sedentary job get out of your chair every half an hour or so. Gentle stretching can help you stay focused.

Get enough sleep. If you are sleep deprived this can make you over eat. Getting a good nights sleep reduces cortisol levels. This hormone rises when you are stressed and increases the appetite.

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*Weight loss surgery results and benefits vary and are different for each individual. As such, Healthier Weight cannot guarantee specific weight loss goals.