by Kris Pitcher
I don't snack. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a freak, I WANT snacks. I want salty, sweet, crunchy snacks. But snacks are not part of my eating plan. Snacks won't get me to the stage. Not during prep season, not during off season.
So, it's an interesting concept when people want to "snack". A comprehensive eating plan is going to cover your needs, nutritionally. Now, your social needs, your entertainment needs, your emotional needs...those are different. That's why you want to snack.
I'm bored, stressed, lonely, happy, sad, overwhelmed. You fill in the blank on that one. Snacking isn't about needing food, it's about filling the empty void in your life. I can't really help you with that unless you come see me and I get additional degrees. That's not going to happen today.
What can happen today is we can get our head straight about our eating plan. What is on our plan are 6 meals. SIX! That's quite a few. I'm eating every two to 3 hours. I'm pretty busy during the day eating those meals. Rarely am I actually hungry.
If I find myself hungry I make an assessment about my emotions, my stress, where I'm at. Usually I'm procrastinating something I need to get done. Now, when I'm dieting and I'm actually in a caloric deficit...I may truly be hungry.
Guess what? It's OK to be hungry. You will not die.
Having a solid eating plan, let's assume we all start in that place - we're eating our six meals through the day. Now what? What do we do when we get that urge? Here's what we do. I always begin with drinking water.
Usually, when we feel hunger we are actually thirsty. Now, in the throws of dieting when I'm in the depths of my deficit...(insert drama) I drink herbal tea. It's a yummy treat, it fills me up and I like it. I don't get to ADD snacks. Snacks are not part of the plan. I can add non-caloric beverages. Like, water or herbal tea.
That will do the trick. Another tip is to ditch the artificial sweeteners. Yes you heard me. Ditch those chemicals, even your "natural" artificial sweeteners will trigger hunger in your brain and send chemical messages into your body telling you you're hungry. You are not.
Not a good thing, especially when you can control that if you choose. It's up to you. But for me, that's a controllable component I am willing to take hold of, since it helps me. I cut those out.
Another thing to take note of is how much dietary fiber you are getting from your vegetables. If you ladies aren't getting at least 25gms a day of dietary fiber, you might consider a supplement. Find one without artificial sweeteners or fillers. No candy drinks, just fiber.
Fiber helps us feel fuller longer. Making sure I'm getting my veggies with each meal keeps the hunger at bay longer. So, if you're feeling like you need snacks in your plan...it's time to assess your plan.
Are you getting your meals in every 2-3 hours? Are you getting good fiber in each meal? Are you drinking enough water? Are you bored, stressed, etc? Go for a walk, paint your nails, take a bath, read a book...drink a cup of tea. You don't get to add things to your plan. Not even snacks.
In order for the plan to work, we need to do the plan. Exactly the plan. No extras. No nibbles, bites, or snacks in between those meals. The plan may need to be adjusted, timing, components of our macro nutrients can be changed to fit how things are going.
To make the changes we want to make, we need to be willing to change. Changing behavior is hard, and it begins with assessing why we do things, want things, or feel like we need things. I don't need snacks. And that feels pretty good.