Mindless Snacking

Over these past few weeks, as I have been back sliding, one of the vices that found its way back into my routine is mindless snacking. Whether it be while watching TV, working from home in my office, visiting with friends, or playing a game with my wife, I have found myself increasingly turning to snacking.

When I am not being mindful in my life, I tend to be an emotional eater. I used to laugh it away with a quip like this…

Am I an emotional eater? Sure! I will eat because I am happy, sad, frustrated, angry, celebrating or grieving . Pretty much, if I am having an emotion, I want to eat!

Since starting down my journey toward better health in March of 2014, I have worked hard to control my eating urges. I have avoided using food and drink to sooth my nerves or calm my emotions. But since the first of the year, that effort has ebbed.

The good news is that in the last two and a half years my snacks of choice have changed. These days I am much more likely to reach for an apple, orange, or some other handy fruit. When I want something salty, I might grab 15 or 20 pistachios. And  I LOVE air-popped popcorn. The problem isn’t with WHAT I am choosing to eat, it is that I am allowing myself to go over on my goals for the day (especially when pistachios or popcorn are in the mix).

This week, as I am plowing through my 50 days, I created this sign which now hangs on my refrigerator:


really hungry meme 2

With this reminder plastered in front of me, I will once again become more mindful in my eating.

So far this week  I am well on track. I have made a hand-written chart for myself where each night I record how I did against my goals for the day. When I am done, I highlight the individual lines, then color in the box with red, yellow or green highlighter to indicate my success level for the day. Thus far, with 5 days in the books, I am happy to say that 4 of the days are colored in green, and one is yellow. The yellow came on Sunday because while I tracked my food, I am not sure I was completely accurate and may have gone over. All of the other days I have kept to my points, and have exceeded my activity and exercise goals.

I am starting to feel like I have a small bit of my momentum back. Time will tell, but right now this feels like more than just a short burst.


25 Things to do instead of snacking

This year for Lent I set a goal to give up between meal snacking. Since then I have modified to to just eliminate non-fruit or raw vegetable snacking. Sometimes, especially after some exercise, my body is craving something to refuel. Other times, though, it is just about boredom or habit that I want to snack. The truth is, it’s hard for me to avoid mindless snacking.

A while back I suggested to a friend that she write a list of things to do instead of snacking. My suggestion was to put a copy of the list on the refrigerator or pantry where she stores her snacks. The idea is to see the list, and do something on the list rather than eating.

I decided today to take my own advice, so here is the list I wrote for myself of 25 things to do instead of snacking.

  1. Read something enriching
  2. Read something fun
  3. Do 10 Push-ups
  4. Do 10 Sit-ups
  5. Take a brisk 10 minute walk
  6. Drink at least 16 ounces of water
  7. Brush your teeth
  8. Write an email or text to say hello to a friend
  9. Hand write a card to someone to say a special hello or thank you
  10. Play a short game on your phone or tablet
  11. Phone a friend – for strength, or just to say hello
  12. Pray
  13. Clean or organize something
  14. Make a goofy list
  15. Drink some tea or coffee
  16. Sit quietly for 5 minutes and reflect
  17. Knit, crochet, edit a photo or do something else related to a hobby (Inspired by Mrs. Bobby-C)
  18. Start a load of laundry
  19. Fold a load of laundry
  20. Walk up and down the stairs 5 times
  21. Go out and do a neglected errand
  22. Find and read an inspirational blog
  23. Pull up your list of goals, and re-read it
  24. Write an entry in your journal or on your own blog
  25. Add to your list of things to do instead of snacking

What items would you add to my list, or put on a list of your own?