Grazing (eating) as procrastination

alisandeFebruary 4, 2008

Frankie's post in my "struggling to stay focused" thread reminded me of something I realized a while back: Much of the nibbling (or worse) that I do all day is a form of procrastination. I need to do __________ (whatever), but first I'll drift over to the pantry and grab a few almonds. Or I'll start on a task, and then drop it and open the fridge. Sometimes I catch myself and close the fridge again, but I can see that I need to do a lot more "catching" and a lot less eating.

I remember a musician friend telling me that when he hit a difficult spot in his songwriting, he would find himself away from the piano bench and in the kitchen, jar of peanut butter in hand. I do something similar with my writing. When the words are flowing, I'm right there with them. When they come to a screeching halt, I feel compelled to go to the kitchen.

Because I don't eat junk food or sweets, this grazing hasn't resulted in a significant weight gain. But that could change, and in any case it's not a good idea for several reasons.

Gotta knock it off. The question is, how?

Anyone else?


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I "graze" as my way of eating (5 or 6 small meals rather than 1 to 3 large ones) to help keep my blood sugar levels on an even keel, but I hope you get some answers. I find myself doing the same thing of heading for the kitchen when I am "stuck", no matter if its a mental or physical chore.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 9:09AM
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Have a little crossword puzzle book stuck to the fridge door and do one of them instead of eating!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 9:29AM
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Ha! Even more of a procrastination, Lucy! :-)

Ellie, I have blood sugar issues, too, and will always eat frequently during the day. But I know I'm way overdoing it these days. This started when I began staying home. Too much proximity to the kitchen . . .

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 9:33AM
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Force yourself to keep a calorie count of everything you eat. Post it right on the fridge (or kitchen door, wherever it's right "in your face"). That way, you can either build those snacks right into your daily allotment, or you can decide it's not worth the spent calories to eat them...

Or, don't keep "handy snacks" handy. Put the almonds on the top shelf of the cupboard, where you'll have to climb to get them, or in the freezer so they have to defrost before you can crunch them (I keep dark chocolate in the fridge, in a bar, so it has to warm up before I can even break a piece off). Or keep all the snacky type stuff in the basement or attic, where you have to climb stairs to find them. Don't keep anything in the house you can just "grab" - everything should be something that takes some effort to prepare before you can eat it. That helps me a lot - I'm often too lazy to put any work into a "snack", and will wander off to find something else to procrastinate with (when I'm home, anyways).

That way, if you do decide it's worth the effort to "prepare" a snack to eat, you'll be burning a few calories just getting it ready...less damage to the waistline. ;-)

I don't have too much problem with snacking...I just don't keep stuff in the house that is quickly grabbed on the run, so I have to "do something" to anything I want to eat. That's helped me tremendously...

Good luck...a hard habit to break, to be sure!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 12:53PM
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Perhaps your regular meals aren't satisfying enough. Are they balanced with enough protein, calories, and so on? It's not always best to eat low-calorie meals if you aren't trying to lose weight.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 12:55PM
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You both make very good points. When I was in weight-loss mode (I lost almost 50 pounds 13 years ago) I made sure it was hard for me to grab quick food. I'll have to utilize your tips now, Jamie. I've gotten lazy.

Also, re Harriet's comment, my "regular meals" took a nosedive when I began living alone. My meals haven't been low calorie, but sometimes they're not actually "meals." Just recently I've made a point of making more soups and stews, getting more vegetables back into my diet and balancing things out a bit. I will always have to consume relatively low carbs, though.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 1:05PM
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I snack and watch TV to pass the time when I really should be cleaning. I was recently told you should eat four 400 calorie mini-meals a day. I think I'll try that.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 3:25PM
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I've found that in general, if I fix myself complete meals at regular times made up of foods I really like, then I don't have much of an urge to snack because I'm not hungry between meals. I do procrastinate, of course, but usually not by eating -- more often by looking at stuff on the Internet (!).

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 4:22PM
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Jamie, that's wonderful advice. I do find that when food isn't as easy to grab, I wait until I'm really hungry.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 3:19PM
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I do a similar thing but not always with eating. I hate, hate, hate washing dishes so when my sink is overflowing that's when I sudden decide to clean my bathroom or do laundry! I guess it's not to bad cause I still get something done.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 2:49AM
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