Impulse Eating---Grazing While Fixing Meals

Friday, February 17, 2017

I have a lot of issues when it comes to eating. I have come to understand I am not alone in this reality. As I focus on my Year of Intention I have committed to unveiling my eating quirks to look at them, understand them better, be mindful of them and ultimately switch things up so I can continue to advance in my journey of an ever improving healthy lifestyle.

One of my most nonsensical quirks is my habit of impulse eating while I am in the midst of preparing a meal. What is this about anyway? Why in the world when I am minutes away from eating a meal am I scarfing down a wad of calories? Why can't I just wait?

I hate the fact that I can consume as many calories in my pre-meal grazing as I do in eating my prepared meal. I hate that I end of being full before I even start my meal. I really hate the reality that once I start to graze it is nearly impossible for me to stop. I just keep eating.

So I started asking myself-- why can't I wait until my meal is prepared to eat? There are a few answers:
  • I hate the feeling of being hungry. I always have. It is a fear, really. It makes me feel anxious and insecure. The idea of waiting to eat is really uncomfortable for me. Hmm..this is interesting...
  • Because it is such an ingrained habit, I unconsciously start grazing before I even realize I am doing it.
  • When I see appealing foods I have the impulse to try them. It is as if I want to be the first one to try it and see if it still tastes as I remember it.
  • Food keeps me company. I am usually alone in the kitchen when I am preparing a meal. It is almost as if the food and I are having a conversation as I pick and choose my nibbles.
In dissecting my grazing while preparing meals I had to ask myself, how does grazing help me with my intention to live a healthy lifestyle? It doesn't. I don't think it is possible to dismiss my real issues around hating the feeling of being hungry. Grazing isn't the answer yet there does need to be a better answer. How can I satisfy my hunger, avoid the mindless grazing and have a conversation with food without the consequences of mindless eating? This is particularly relevant when I am fixing dinner.

There has got to be a way to have a snack that satisfies and allows me to stay in control while preparing a meal. Having a snack with just a few bites doesn't appeal to me. It seems to me like it would just start the grazing, not contain it. Then I thought about making a smoothie. Something I could easily whip up before I start the preparation of dinner. It is something I could start sipping as I am assembling the ingredients of the meal I am preparing and continue sipping throughout the preparation of the meal. This is appealing to me because it can satisfy my hunger and it is not something that is bits and pieces of a meal so I am not triggering my mindless impulse to graze.

Other benefits of the smoothie idea is that they can be made in all sorts of flavors, colors and, to a degree, texture. Smoothies can be made to a specific calorie count which can be in keeping with a healthy snack @200 calories. I have found a few new yummy smoothie recipes in the recent cookbook by Rocco DiSpirito, The Pound A Day Diet. I also have some additional smoothie recipes on this blog you can try.

This smoothie tactic has been very successful. When I take the time to make the smoothie and start sipping it as I am getting the food ready for dinner I feel in control, feel I can happily stick to my smoothie and do not need to graze otherwise. With a big glass of smoothie to sip on I can last throughout the meal prep so I can avoid other temptations. I do get full but not stuffed before the meal. The fear is gone; the satisfaction is high. It fits with my desire to live with intention and live well and healthy.

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