Cheese, cookies, doughnuts, croissants, granola bars, pretzels, peanut butter toast, trail mix, fruit, ice cream… all of the above fall into that dangerous category of snacks.
Most my meals are relatively well-rounded and healthy, so I have a tendency to convince myself it’s okay to have a snack here and there. Cheese isn’t even that bad for you, right? Plus, if my quads still ache from a tough workout challenge class, I can reward myself with a little treat. So I’ll just eat half of this doughnut. But then why waste the other half? It looks so lonely by itself in the box. I’ll guess have that other half, too.
Snacking is a slippery slope. Especially when “here and there” becomes mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and post-dinner. That’s when snacks aren’t snacks. They’re just meals between meals.
At the beginning of August, I started a cleanse that I told people “wasn’t really a cleanse.” (I didn’t want anyone to think I was one of those crazies who drank lemon cayenne water for 30 days.) Over the month, I loosely followed the 30-day Isagenix program, tracked all my meals, and tried to eat thoughtfully instead of jumping at leftovers from someone else’s lunch meeting. I ate more vegetables, less meat, and smaller portions. I didn’t drink caffeine or booze. And I didn’t eat snacks.
And I completely surprised myself. Nothing bad happened because I let so many snacks go uneaten. Believe it or not, I survived just fine. And thanks to my snack-free month along with a few of the other changes I made, my skinny jeans fit again.
Now that I’m feeling powerful against snacks, I’m wondering what the big snackin’ deal was. Why do I eat so many mini meals throughout the day? I thought more about it and even made a list:
- I snack when I’m bored
- I snack to procrastinate
- I snack when I’m having a hard time focusing at work
- I snack when free food is in my peripheral vision
- I snack when delicious snack foods in the house are calling my name
- I snack right before meals because I don’t think I can possibly wait for dinner to finish
- I snack because I love eating food… so why not?
One thing that’s not on my list: snacking when I’m actually hungry. Which obviously makes no sense. A snack is supposed to hold you over until your next meal. And in that case, an apple, a handful of grapes, or a stick of string cheese is just fine (except that I can never eat just ONE string cheese.)
I still need to do more work and perhaps soul-searching on my snack addiction. Just because I made it 30 days doesn’t mean I now have a snack-resistant superpower. I still need to unlearn a lot and develop much more self control. Especially because I’ve been snacking willy nilly for years!
But I am hopeful that I can improve my eating habits long-term to curb my snacking. The positive results I’ve already seen help. Not only the skinny jeans thing, but I’m finding that because I’m actually hungry for meals, I enjoy eating them more. Who would have thought it was possible to love eating more by eating less?
Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com