On not snacking

I’ve been a snacker for a long time. It used to be candy. I’d get a giant bag of hard candy from Costco, put it in my desk drawer, and just munch away all day. You’d be amazed how much sugar you can plow through at a piece every minute or two for a whole day, day after day. Then, when I started trying to cut back on that stuff, it was Trio bars and Larabars. That’s a huge leap forward, but still not ideal. Here’s the thing. I don’t want to be a snacker. I had a period not too long ago where I would just eat enough, and the right foods, at my meals to be full between them. When our kitchen went MIA, that got tougher. I couldn’t prepare the same kinds of meals I had been, so I would try to do the best I could and then fill the gaps with snacks.

And they weren’t bad snacks, really. Nuts, mostly. Some of the bars previously mentioned. But here’s the deal with snacking: You never have to stop. At least I don’t. I wouldn’t eat enough to fill myself up, I’d eat just enough to take the edge off, and then 30 minutes later I’d be back to it again. I was putting down far more calories than I would have even if I’d stuffed myself silly three times a day, just because I was never quite satisfying myself. And eventually, calories do count, even if you’re eating the right foods.

So yesterday, I ate a good breakfast of Beeler’s sausage links and some scrambled eggs. Today I had some more eggs and a banana. Probably not enough, unfortunately, but I think I can power through to lunch. For lunch, I brought some hot dogs (don’t judge me) and one of my salads. I think one of the things that had always been a bit of a bane for me was eating my salad for lunch. Even with as much fat as I pile onto that thing, it still just wasn’t enough to keep me full until dinner. But I don’t like skipping the salad and just bringing meat, because lunch is a great time to add some veggies to my day? Solution? BOTH. I brought a salad and burgers yesterday, and I’m doing a salad and dogs today. Booyah. I also picked up a ton of Niman Ranch chorizo at VC on sale, and some of that with a couple hard-boiled Vital Farms eggs makes for an excellent breakfast that will keep me full for a good long while.  Dinners are getting better, now that we have a real kitchen again. So really, I’m going to try to eat my meals in such a way that I remove the urge to snack on a daily basis. If it comes up, I have some walnuts in my desk. I don’t love walnuts, but if I’m hungry enough, I’ll eat them. So I guess that’s part of it, too. Bringing in some food-reward theory up in this bee-yotch. If I keep snack foods that I enjoy but don’t love, that should make it easier to consume them in reasonable quantities, when necessary.

What else? Oh yeah, I sprinted the other day, right? My feet and legs are sore today, even worse than yesterday. It’s the arches of my feet, mostly, which means I’d gone too long without giving them a good workout. I really love my forefoot-strike style of running, but it does require some muscles that I don’t use anywhere else. Specifically, it requires some strength in those foot muscles. When I was doing it regularly, I actually grew arches. That was wacky. I’d like to get back there again, and i think the sprinting is a great way to do it. I’m not going to do anything silly though, so I’ll let myself recover for another day or two before I go give it another run.

My weight is coming down, too! Not in any huge ways, but it’s pretty slowly and steadily heading from the top of my normal range (207-209) to the bottom, and being there more consistently. I’m also noticing that I’m getting a little bit leaner in my abdomen. I’d remained much, much leaner than I had been of course, but I think the sugar consumption had gotten me back to some of that sugar-driven belly fat. Just a touch. Just enough that I no longer looked in the mirror or pressed on my stomach and thought I was right on the edge of seeing some abs. I still felt great and felt like I looked good, but I hadn’t been making progress towards my ultimate goal of seeing my ab muscles for the first time ever in my whole life. I wasn’t unsatisfied with where I’d settled, by any means, and that wasn’t really the goal for cutting sugar. I just want to do the things I know I should be doing. It turns out that doing those things seems to help make me leaner, which I’m not going to complain about at all.

So there we go. Everything’s coming up Milhouse. Maybe some links? Yes, have some.

Pizza Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – These look darn tasty. I’m not averse to trying to make some gluten-free pizza crusts from Pamela’s mix or something, but this is much more whole-food friendly. I also really want to get working on some sweet potato recipes. I still haven’t actually made any for myself, despite buying them over and over. Oh well, it’s just a very slow way to build my compost pile, I guess.

Hawaiian Barbecue Bacon Burgers – There is nothing about these I don’t love. I love bbq sauce on my burgers, I love bacon and I love pineapple. Wins all around.

Decoding Labels: McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract – This is why you can’t trust labels. They’re deceitful. This is also why I think most of our food-labeling regulations are just plain laughable. We say you can only call something “pure” if it meets certain criteria. And then someone figures out a way around it. And now we have a bunch of food loaded with junk being labeled pure. We’d have been better off without any gov’t-approved labels in the first place, because then at least people wouldn’t be abdicating the responsibility of knowing what’s in their food. Anyway, enough of my wild-eyed ranting, right?

Why aren’t thin people fat? – This is a great question, and as I’m working my way through the videos I’m seeing just how much the mainstream needs to understand this. Calories in/Calories out only works in a lab environment with a bomb calorimeter. In the world with people and food, those numbers just don’t fly. People be different, yo, and you can’t math yourself into thinness.

Studies question the pairing of food deserts and obesity – A neat article. It turns out people aren’t obese because they don’t have access to the “right foods”, it’s because they’re not choosing to eat the “right foods”. I think there are probably a ton of reasons for this, but lack of access doesn’t appear to be a huge one.

How Vegetable Oils Replaced Animal Fats in the American Diet – I’ve heard some of this before, but this is a really great history of the process. Fascinating, and I’m glad we seem to be getting to the tail end of it. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Okay, that was a lot of links. Busy day on the intertubes, it would seem. Thanks for reading!

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4 comments on “On not snacking

  1. Yeah I also a big time snacker. I have curbed that habit a lot in the last several years but even now, if there is something in the house that I can munch on all day I will.

    Funny because I figured out that I actually felt better with fewer meals in a day. Like exactly 3 square meals with no snacking at all in between.

    Eat, look at the time and say ok no food for the next 3, 4,5 or what ever number of hours I’d decide on and that was that, I knew what time my next meal was scheduled for. I promissed myself that if I was desperatly starving in between I would allow myself to have a big salad (just vegetables) or a piece of fruit. Most of the time though, I’d look at the watch and say nah, I can wait the extra hour and a half, I won’t die till then.

    Wish I’d do that more often though. Right now I do about 2-3 days a week on average, even though I know it makes me feel better all around and I lose weight when I do that.

    • Septimus says:

      I had a very similar experience when I first started this whole thing where I started to be able to differentiate between my body being hungry and my brain just telling me to eat. It was a completely new experience, and I think that signal had gotten muddled recently. But like you say, if I can look at my watch and think I’ll survive until my next meal without breaking open the snacks, I try to do that. Often I’ll notice that my cravings are short and sharp, and if I can just ignore them for a few minutes I get distracted by something shiny and don’t even remember having been so hungry just moments before. Wacky how it all works. Anyway, thanks very much for reading and for commenting!

      • For me less snacking also means more decent meals. I actually feel less deprived that way. Often I like to eat till full, so with having only 3 (occasionally only 2) meals in a day, I can eat more during those meals than I can when I am grazing all day.

        Unfortunatelly, today is turning into one of those snack every half hour days. Quick, what time is it? I should get a timer to count down my next meal, haha.

      • Septimus says:

        For sure. Last night I was putting together some gluten free lasagnas to freeze so we have food ready to roll when the baby gets here. So while I was cooking, I ended up having chips and dip, then got hungry and had some pureed pineapple with coconut milk that I was freezing in my freezer, then got hungry and…You get the idea. I should’ve just had myself a big hunk of something meaty and then I would’ve been fine. I suppose this is just one of those lessons I have to learn over and over again.

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