Okay, two things.
Last week I tried very hard to not snack. It worked most of the time. Sometimes, I snacked a little. It was actually sobering to see just how often I reached for a handful of popcorn or apple slices. I tried to pay attention to whether or not I was truly hungry, and 90% of the time, when I reached for a snack, I was not hungry. I was bored. It was habit. But hunger? No. The only time hunger seemed to creep into the equation was around 4 pm.
I did have a few days of no snacking at all. And on all days, I significantly cut down on snacking. I felt noticeably better in terms of feeling full, heavy and tired. Noticeably. I just felt lighter and as if my body wasn't being bogged down. It was noticeable enough that I can confidently say that avoiding snacking belongs in my healthy living repertoire. I think we all have a repertoire, or a foundation, for overall good health. I also think this is pretty individual. I used to be of the mind that everyone should avoid certain foods, engage in certain exercise, sleep at certain times and cultivate our minds in much the same way. As I get older, however, and as I have more experience with different types of people, I definitely see how unique we all are and how individual we are in every way. So, I think one of the best things we can do for ourselves is slow down, pay attention and listen to our own bodies and selves, which is what seems to be the key finding our own foundation or path.
Anyway, for me, letting my body rest between meals seems beneficial. It is hard, however. Why?
1. Eating is how we socialize, so when we meet for coffee or go to a friend's house, there is almost always food involved. It's hard to say no for many reasons. Sometimes I'm getting hungry. Sometimes I don't want to be rude. I'm not sure why I can't simply say, "No, thank you." It just seems so stringent and uptight to refuse a lovely treat and instead drink ice water. Yet, that's what feels best to my body. Sigh. The struggle is real.
2. My kids snack/graze all day long. All. Day. Long. When they have microwave popcorn going, that is very tempting. When they bring in cookies and lemonade from the neighbor's lemonade stand (and the neighbor is a professional baker), it is very tempting. I didn't fully realize how much food we are consuming and how often until I began paying attention. When my kids eat,I tend to want to eat. It is hard at 4PM, when I am getting ever-so-slightly hangry, to wave off on a handful of popcorn. Yet, when I do this, when I snack before dinner, my dinner is less satisfying, and I feel slightly awful for the evening, having consumed too much.
3. Boredom is a powerful emotion. Well, boredom, anxiety, tiredness and uncertainty are all powerful emotions. Snacking helps keep all of that at bay, and right now, as we prepare for our move, tie up the school year and think about a vague future, a handful of almonds and chocolate chips helps soothe my jangled nerves. I took notice, last week, of when I did reach for a snack or at least felt compelled to do so, and so often it was during periods of transition during my day, when I may not know what I was supposed to be doing next, when I needed a mental shift from one activity or another or when my emotions were a whirlwind of confusion and I didn't know what to do with all of that. I am an emotion eater, and this is an emotional time.
So, there are the great hardships. I mean, I mock, but it's legit. Not snacking is both simultaneously harder than I expected and has an even more positive effect than I anticipated.
Well, so, I was all set to begin a new 'What If' this week, chalking the no-snacking up to an 80% success rate and lesson learned when my new shipment of books from Amazon arrived, and inside that box was this little gem.
I fully expected to roll my eyes and mock this book. I didn't know what else anyone could add to the 'healthy weight management' genre, and having read so many self-help-diet books, I was skeptical. I am about half-way through this book, and what I have to say is this: the universe is speaking to me.
Much of this book is about limiting snacking, stopping the grazing and getting on a schedule of eating so that our digestion and body has a break.
I am encouraged now to keep up with no snacking and to seriously commit to it for another week. I am eager to finish the book and report back on that.
So this week, I am continuing my What If: No Snacking and getting a bit more serious. I love what ifs. Sometimes, the answer is: nothing. And sometimes, the answer is: something.
No snacking definitely falls into the something category for this body.
Hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Monday is upon us.