Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Measuring Snacks

I have come to the conclusion that I am good at planning my 3 healthy, balanced meals but I seem to fall short when it comes to the time in between the meals. It may be a couple of hours after lunch and I am having that feeling of wanting something to eat but not having anything planned. If I am out in my car I may stop somewhere to get a snack (my favorite place to stop has been a bakery or sweet shop) or I will rummage around in my kitchen for something sweet I can have. At this point I have completely forgotten that I am eating healthy, non-processed foods. The next thing I know I have consumed several chocolate chip cookies, a large fudgy brownie, ice cream or I will eat a bag of popcorn or chips. There is no longer any thought of appropriate portion sizes or selecting a piece of fruit or other healthy snacks. By the time this little feeling of hunger has subsided I have consumed an excessive amount of fat and calories not to mention sugar or salt and I am feeling bloated and full. Plus there is the emotional feeling of guilt and remorse that I have failed to maintain a healthy diet.

After doing this same cycle over and over for many years I have now come to understand that if I plan my snacks as well as I plan my meals I will be far more successful in how I nourish my body and the added benefit of weight loss and health. In my mind portion size is the most important aspect of snacking. How easy it is to open that bag of chips, nuts or candy and before you know it having consumed the entire bag. You only realize it when the bag is empty and you don't even remember eating it all! If you then look at the bag and see that their were 6 serving all at 150 calories that means you just consumed 900 calories, yikes that was all from being a little bit hungry and eating mindlessly.

My solution has been to portion out my snacks in bags so I eat the exact amount I have mindfully chosen. Now when I buy a bag of nuts, chips or even fruit like grapes I figure out what the portion size I want and then make smaller bags of the perfect snack! For instance I just bought a bag of almonds, cashews and cranberries and the portion size for 150 calories is 1/4 cup. So I got out the 1/4 cup measure and a bunch of baggies and made up snack bags. So now I have 14 bags of appropriate sized snacks that will last me quite a while. I keep some of the bags in my kitchen and I carry some of them with me in the car in case I am out driving at my appointed snack time.

So now when I choose to have a snack, I know I have just the right snack with the right amount of calories and it is a healthy choice as well. I feel better about myself, about my choices and the weight is slowly vanishing and this makes me happy as well!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Scheduling my Meals

I have a friend who eats her meals on a very strict schedule, to the point that I like to make fun of her about it and I ask her about it in total disbelief. She has breakfast every morning at 8am, not any earlier because then she will be hungry before noon when she has lunch. She has her snacks in between and then dinner always at 5. I am amazed that someone can live with such a strict schedule and yet, she is thin and does not complain about being ravenous and over eating. As I am learning more about the importance of snacking and eating on a regular schedule I am thinking that there is something to her schedule of meals and snacks and I can learn from her.

I have very little schedule in my life so I find myself eating whenever I want or whenever I am hungry. I will be working on my computer and stop for breakfast when I feel like it, eat something healthy and nutritious and then a little while later I may feel a twinge of hunger and then get something little to eat. But then in a little while again I may have something little again too. Or I will go out and not pay attention to eating and then find myself feeling ravenous and wanting something to eat NOW! Of course since I was feeling ravenous I think I must eat a lot of something to satisfy that terrible hunger I am feeling. Of course then I will overeat with most of it being high fat, sugar or salt foods to the point that I feel stuffed and bloated and naturally unhappy with myself.

Now I have created a schedule (although not as strict as my friend!)for myself around eating that has made a big change in how I think about eating. I eat in the morning shortly after I get up, then I plan my snack for several hours later and lunch several hours after that, I do the same for a midday snack and then dinner as well. I write down all my meal plans so I know what it is I have planned on eating for my snacks and meals. So now when I am feeling a little hungry mid morning, but before my snack time I can just remind myself I will have a snack shortly and I am content to wait, the same goes for the other meals as well. I feel much better because I am not overeating and my food choices are much healthier too.

Do you have a schedule for your meals and snacks?