Then I flew to London, England (you know, the country that was supposed to beat the USA in this weekend's World Cup action). How did I fare during this week of travel in my efforts to stave off mindless eating? Well, I had a largish bowl of ice cream on the airplane to and from my destination. Further, I found myself breathing in a small container of room service Pringles every single night. For shame, me! The irony of it all was that I was a pretty model citizen otherwise, making wise choices at each meal occasion. Further, I exercised with a fairly high degree of intensity every day except one -- the day I arrived on the red eye. It's just too easy to wreck the benefit of good choices with a sprinkling a really foolish ones.
Here's where I am coming out on this. This grazing nonsense has to come to an end. It's one of my last, major unhelpful habits, and enough is enough. So rather than continuing to confess to my eating sins, I now choose to use my little blogging pulpit to announce my new resolution to kick this nasty little demon habit. I am hopeful that I can vanquish it without a full exorcism, so I am going to start with a more utilitarian approach.
First off, I need to answer the age old question (for me, anyway): what exactly is the difference between a snack and a grazing session? According to Dictionary.com:
- Snack: a small portion of food or drink or a light meal, esp. one eaten between regular meals.
- Grazing: 1) to feed on growing grass and pasturage, as do cattle, sheep, etc. 2) to eat small portions of food, as appetizers or the like, in place of a full-sized meal or to snack during the course of the day in place of regular meals.
OK, that's the issue. A snack is eaten between regular meals while grazing is done in place of regular meals. Unless you are me and you are also having regular meals. Said differently, a snack can be thought of as a pre-planned mini-meal designed to fit into a caloric equation (i.e., part of my 32 POINTS). In my case, grazing would be an endless parade of seemingly innocuous food consumed in addition to my 32 POINTS. The implications of and distinction between these two words should not be underestimated.
With this little etymological trip complete, I am now prepared to detail my new plan to tackle grazing.
- Getting a grip via the old POINTS Tracker. I have been working at Weight Watchers and doing the Weight Watchers program for over 10 years now. I am the first to admit that I have a hard time tracking my POINTS every single day. However, I am now thinking about a tip I heard at a Weight Watchers meeting: track the time of day that is giving you the most difficulty. So therefore, I am going to start tracking all of my POINTS between meals. If I do this for two or three weeks, it should go a long way in helping me stop the immediate damage.
- Plan on snacking. Ironic isn't it? However, I know that I am going to need/want smallish meals between meals. If I plan them in, that should help me avoid the feeling of deprivation which would then lead to backsliding. The only condition I am setting for myself is that I pre-plan them and use a pre-determined number of POINTS. Therefore, I am going to plan on one snack in the afternoon and one after dinner with target POINTS of two to three for each snack.
- Restrict snack foods to Filling Foods. The idea here is that if I am going to have a mini-meal, that means I should be using it with foods that are going to 1) serve a nutritional benefit and 2) actually make me feel full/satisfied. Practically, this means banning processed foods from my snacking repertoire. Foods now on the out list include pretzels, hummus, chips, and sadly ice cream treats (no matter how few the POINTS).