What to do about snacks? They are always getting the best of me. Either I allow myself unlimited snacks, or none – I don’t do “just enough” very well. You would think I’d have this figured out, but nope, I keep re-visiting the problem over and over!
I know the real answer, which is that planned nutritious snacks are a good strategy. Why is that so hard?
I am conditioned to eat three meals a day, and I never skip meals. As someone who has substantial meals, the best thing to do would be to have “a little something to tide me over until dinner,” maybe an apple at 4:00 p.m. That’s what I imagine normal people do, but I’m not one of them!
The Answers: What and When to Eat
- I could have even bigger meals and not snack at all, but I can’t manage big portions at one sitting, so that won’t work.
- I could have smaller meals and have 5 or 6 of them.
- Two of my coworkers arrive early and eat breakfast at their desks. I wonder if I could last until 9:00 a.m., given that I do an early morning workout. Another option might be to have just a small bowl of cereal or a slice of toast at home, and have another breakfast when I arrive at work.
- I could have my main meal at lunch time, in the middle of the work day, although it would mean cooking it the night before.
- I could have leftovers as snacks – another bowl of soup, an extra baked potato. That would be smart. (Thanks to Lili for that suggestion!)
- Instead of having an apple, I could choose something that would actually tide me over, like carrots with hummus, or nuts or popcorn. But they are all kind of “moreish” as Rom would say!
- It does work to bring my own food and avoid what’s available at work.
- As does drinking lots of coffee (I drink half-caff) and tea – no sugar. Will I ever drink water?
- I have tried not buying any candy and not making any sweets or desserts, with the proviso that I can go out and buy them if I am desperate. But only one serving. And then I rarely or never do it. So that works!
- I love Michael Pollan’s suggestion in Food Rules that if you want sweets or treats, you have to make them yourself. I would never make myself fries or cheesecake! (But I have been known to bake cookies and eat six of them at a go.)
- Similarly, I am good at eating Real Food / Whole Foods. Eliminating packaged and fake foods is a step in the right direction. No Pop-Tarts or Pepsi!
- Finally, I have a list of things that are treats for me without being “bad,” like a mango or a bunch of grapes!
The Answers: Habits and How to Eat
- I don’t stop what I’m doing to have a snack. I just eat while I work at my desk. If I actually stopped working and set aside 15 minutes to eat – and to actually notice what I ate! – that would be a good start.
- Likewise, if I spent more time having leisurely meals, I might register that I feel full, and not have to snack so much between meals.
- On the weekends, I don’t snack because I spend more time making and eating meals, and the rest of the time I’m busy doing things I like doing. I am trying to carry that over into the workday by finding projects that demand my full attention. Once I get into the flow, I can stop thinking about food for minutes at a time 🙂
- If I knew someone were watching me when I ate, I would never eat the way I do. Everyone I know limits what they eat “in public,” but indulges their cravings behind closed doors. It’s a very two-faced culture. “Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly order dessert…”and then we go home and finish off the kids’ birthday cake!
- Sometimes it swings the other way and there’s social pressure to indulge. Either you all trash your diets together, or you’re not a team player! There isn’t much support for making healthy choices. Everyone thinks you’ve gone all Holier Than Thou.
- Of course I could blog what I eat to hold myself accountable. But one week of that was enough!
- As you might guess, tracking what I eat (privately) is very motivating for me, and I hate having to record it when I’ve gone off the rails!
- Strangely, thinking about results isn’t helpful for me. I don’t hesitate before I have a snack and think, “I better not; I want to lose xx pounds before vacation.” I can eat or I can distract myself, but I can’t rationalize my cravings away! I guess it is my reptile brain doing the thinking.
- Of course I am at my best when I am not tired or rushed or stressed, but how often is that? I hope that proper eating will help me feel less tired, rushed and stressed! And I need habits that I can maintain even when I’m not at my best, i.e. daily.
I will be trying some of these techniques for the rest of February. What works for you?