How to Practice Mindful Eating by Considering WHEN (Not What) You Eat

Maybe you plan your meals, but what’s happening in between them?

If you keep a mental or written note on what you plan to eat each day, well played! You’re preparing your army in the Game of Health (GoT, anyone?)

However … life often throws us curveballs, like donuts, or dragons…

All too often, we’ve trained ourselves to eat out of habit. EVERY time there are donuts in the office. EVERY time we’re Netflix & Chilling, or even just EVERY 2-3 hours.

If you’re stalled in your health goals, and tired of obsessing over WHAT you eat, try flipping the switch and focusing on WHEN you’ve trained your brain to eat. Here’s how…

[Side note: Want these Mindless Eating lessons sent straight to your inbox? Sign up for the 7-Day Managing Mindless Munchies program HERE!]


Manage Mindless Munchies 

One proven method to managing mindless eating is considering the TIMES (the specific hours of the dayyou’ve trained your brain to eat. We’re talking specific hours during your day you’ve become hardwired to “need” food. (similar to a caffeine fix, but with food)

In a recent blog post, we discussed how you’re spreading your meals apart, with science stating that 6 hours between meals being optimal for fat burn & weight loss. This method is a bit different. Here’s why.


Do you always have a snack at 10AM? Do you consistently start snacking immediately when you get home from work? Have you created a habit of snacking after the kids go to bed? These, my dear, are your Auto Eating Hours.


It’s important to eat out of HUNGER and not out of HABIT. Makes sense right? Eat when your body is ready to eat, not when your eyes are. Now let’s go deeper …

Snacking out habit? Not even really that hungry? Sign up for the 7-Day Mindless Eating Program HERE to pinpoint & overcome your Mindless Eating Struggle Zones.

How to Break Your Mindless Eating Habits

Get Nerdy with Neural Pathways

  • Learned behaviors can be hard to break. A behavior (like hitting the pantry, office kitchen, or freezer the same each day) is a response to a stimulus.
  • When you encounter a stimulus (such as a feeling, smell, food, situation, time) you make a decision about how to react to the stimulus. E.g., should I eat it? 
  • If you associate that behavior as a reward of sorts (like soothing stress, or a yummy taste) the brain locks it in as such, and keeps wanting to go back for more…

Prioritize & Practice

  • Are You Doomed with Your Daily 3:30PM Vente Mocha Latte Frappacino Fix?Nope! According to research at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences the brain strengthens pathways that are:
    1. Prioritized as Important
    2. Practiced & Repeated
  • The Solution? Choose a healthier reaction.
    • Think of a current stimulus that’s causing an unhealthy reaction. Perhaps reaching for the chips right when you get home from work. Or opening the pint of gelato when you finally get to sit on the couch at 8 or 9PM.  
    • If you’re stalled in your health goals, could these Auto Eating Hours be holding you back? What could you do instead? Some options my clients have had success with include:
      • Brushing their teeth before they’re tempting snack time
      • Not keeping unhealthy food in the house & giving their kids healthier snacks
      • Going for a walk at their “temptation hour” to determine if they’re genuinely hungry
      • Setting a reminder on their phone to pop up at their desired time that reminds them of their GOAL and their WHY.

Tune In

  • Become incredibly MINDFUL
    • Become deeply aware of your snacking hours and work to make the new healthy habit stronger than the old unhealthy habit.
    • Prioritize, practice and repeat that new healthy habit over & over again until it earns the honor it deserves.
  • Easier Said Than Done Though Right?
    • Start by taking 1 or 2 action steps this week to ease into this nutritional exercise. Read on to learn how…
Ever stop and wonder, “Why am I even eating rn?” Good for you! That’s a solid first step in practicing mindful eating. Get 1 lesson a day with action steps & accountability options HERE.


  • Journal Time: Be aware today of what times on the clock your brain is telling you to eat. Coming home from work or picking up the kids is a very common time to automatically start snacking or pouring the vino out of habit. So too is nighttime after the kids have gone to bed or when you’re all alone. Be mindful of YOUR personal “temptation hours” and write them down in your journal or planner.
  • No Judging: The purpose of this exercise is simply to ACKNOWLEDGE your habits. Not condemn them. We’re just exploring here. We’re LEARNING, not failing, remember?!


  • Comment in this post, confide in your mom, or post in the inspiringly supportive WholeHardy Community what you discovered about your clock-time habits. You’re BOUND to connect with someone who has a snack time habit of their own, and perhaps you can help each other out if reducing mindless eating is on your bucket list.

Feel like exploring further? Sign up for the free 7-Day Mindless Eating Program HERE to help you unlock which of the 5 mindless eating zones impacts you the most and exactly HOW to overcome it.

You can also read the latest blog post on the science behind why spreading your meals 5 to 6 hours apart burns more fat & promotes weight loss HERE.

That’s all for today! Hit me up with any questions as you work through your mindless eating habits! Stay tuned for your next lesson…
Wholeheartedly in Health
Coach Hardy

PS: Get snapshot of the 5 Methods to Manage Mindless Munchies by tapping HERE or the pic below for a quick video!

YT_ 5 Mindless Eating (2)
Tap HERE to watch a quick video on the 5 Methods to Manage Mindless Munching!

Who’s WholeHardy?

WholeHardy Integrative Health Coaching include: Nutrition, Mindset, Fitness, Personal Development, Sleep, Stress Management, Spirituality.
Katie Hardy is the founder of WholeHardy Health, LLC, a health & wellness coaching practice helping wellness-seeking women define what they want for their health, why they want it, why they don’t have it, and how to get it. Hardy is a Duke trained Integrative Health & Wellness Coach studying Functional Nutrition as well. Learn the method at

One thought on “How to Practice Mindful Eating by Considering WHEN (Not What) You Eat

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: