So what do I do?
Maybe it’s time to start finding some new hobbies. Maybe it’s time to start tracking. Calories in, calories out, ya know what I’m saying? Put a lock on the fridge? Ehh, that might be a little aggressive. So how the heck do we take control over our snacking throughout the day?
I talk so much about this hippie dippie mindful eating stuff and I can totally see how ridiculous it sounds. However, the more and more I dive into the realm of nutrition, I can see it is absolutely a thing, and there could be a lot of value and benefit when we can finally understand this. Becoming aware of our feelings towards food, when we are eating food, experiencing food, and creating food, may seem like such a strange concept to wrap our minds around, but just think about it. Why are you eating? How do you feel after you’ve had a meal? Are you even enjoying it? Or is it just a mindless act?
It’s 10 o’clock in the morning, breakfast is digested, you have about an hour until you can actually take a break from this new way of working from home and actually eat some lunch, but you are so hungry. You just need something to hold you over. You walk over to the kitchen, grab a banana, and crank out that last hour. It’s your second banana of the day but oh well, fruit is healthy, right? Lunch rolls around and you have some leftover sweet potatoes, chicken and broccoli. Also pretty healthy. But man, it’s like all of this healthy food really isn’t keeping me full. Back to the kitchen. What will hold me over until dinner time? This container of cashews will do and it’s already half empty so might as well finish them, what’s the point of only saving a little? What else can I grab while I’m in here? Maybe a cup of juice, pop, ooooh kombucha? I knew I was saving this for a rainy day. But wait, it’s sunny out? Oh well. Mm, I do appreciate a good RX bar. I’ll bring this to my desk too. Back to work. I wish I could spend the day outside and away from this computer. I wonder what I’ll make for dinner. I could order some take out, it would be nice to get out of the house at some point today. Plus, I cooked last night.
It honestly doesn’t seem that bad right? But let’s add in breakfast, three eggs, a fourth cup of pepperjack cheese, two pieces of toast with jam, and a banana with peanut butter. Oh and those take out tacos for dinner. It really does seem like a “healthy” day of eating. And that’s what I told myself all the time. It wasn’t until I actually started counting my calories that I realized how much I was actually overeating. It doesn’t really matter how “clean” or “healthy” we are eating if we are eating too much. They do always say, too much of a good thing can ruin a good thing.
Now, I’m not here to preach that counting your calories is the end all be all and it’s what everyone should do. However it could be a good place to start. When I started counting mine, I did realize that my snacks were practically meals and that my meals pretty much had snacks built into them. I was eating way too much and therefore not able to hit my nutrition goals.
I think I could argue that now that since we are stuck at home, we are snacking more. We are finding a hard time to resist the urge to snack more often because food is even more accessible. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or if you find yourself snacking on the things you buy for your kids. It’s just easier to snack these days. Also, eating is something we do in our homes, so it’s an easy thing to do. It wasn’t until a couple months ago we all started working out at home, which is something most of us didn’t do because we would go to the gym. And let’s be real, how hard is it to turn your home into a gym? Some may find it easier than others, but it takes a little extra motivation when we don’t have somewhere to show up. Because we don’t associate our homes with working out, it’s harder to do at home. Because eating is something we experience in our homes everyday, no wonder we are able to find comfort in snacking while we are staying home more often.
If counting calories isn’t your jam, (haha get it?) then maybe we should shift our focus to the why and what you are feeling when you are eating. I want you to think about everything you ate today. Can you remember? If yes, reflect. Why were you eating? Were you actually hungry? Were you bored maybe? Was there just nothing else to do? If you CAN’T remember, the next time you sit down to eat, whether that’s today or tomorrow, put your distractions away, put your phone in the other room, close your laptop, and turn off the television. Just sit (or stand) and eat your food. Start bringing awareness to your food. Have you ever sat down to eat with your phone and then looked down and realized that whatever you were eating is almost gone so you go back for more and do the same thing again? Well, I’m just going to say it, you’re zombie eating. Don’t let eating become another mindless act. If we just give a little attention to our food we will be able to gain control over what we are putting into our bodies. If you’re eating because you’re bored, find something else to do. If you’re eating because you’re stressed, find other ways to destress. If you’re eating because you’re actually hungry, then eat!
If this quarantine has taught me anything, it’s that I need more hobbies and I like to eat when I think I’m bored. Which is bizarre since I will often say boredom isn’t real. As I am working on the hobbies, I’ve realized there are things we can do at home instead of snacking and eating. Cleaning, reading a book, going for a walk, and making your bed are just a few alternatives and the list could go on and on. If all else fails, then just go brush your teeth instead of eating a snack. Trust me, it works.
Until next time,