I have noticed that I tend to want to snack when I’m really not involved with any particular task. It’s that whole “I’m bored and watching TV and want to nibble” syndrome. This probably isn’t a huge surprise to anyone.
I decided to test my theory recently by alternating a few busy days with a few slow days. On my busy days, I’d keep really active; on slow days, I took advantage of naps and getting caught up on all my DVR’d TV shows.
Let’s take last weekend. On Saturday, I started my morning by eating breakfast, and then I got right to work on laundry. Once the first load was in the washer, I got to work on making some apple juice/applesauce. Getting the apples prepared requires concentration (I was using a sharp knife, after all!), so my mind really could not wonder while I was engaged in that process.
After I got the first batch of apples in the steam juicer, the first load of laundry was ready to go into the dryer, so I made that switch and put another load into wash.
I checked on the process of the apples, and then started processing all the veggies for my Salad Drawer. I had lettuce to cut and wash, carrots to peel and chop, mandarin oranges to drain and portion, raisins, dried cherries and dressings to measure, and All Bran to divvy into small bags.
After that was done, I checked my apples. It was time to put more apples in to the juicer, so I had to prepare another batch. After I’d completed this task, the laundry was ready to be hung up or folded, switched from the washer to the dryer, and another load was ready for the washer.
Whew! This was all accomplished by lunch-time. I ate, turned off the steam juicer because all the juice had released from the apples, and took a shower.
Afterward, I put my apple juice into jars and got them into the water bath canner. I then started putting the apple pulp through my Foley food mill to make apple sauce. By the time I’d gotten all the applesauce made, the apple juice was ready to come out of the canner and then I needed to get the applesauce into jars for canning.
It was time to do the laundry switch-a-roo again, and when that was completed, I got the applesauce out of the canner, expressed my frustration at having a couple of jars overflow, and then I sat down for a few minutes. (And, if the truth is to be known, I took a 40-minute nap.)
Then I went shopping for the ingredients I needed to make jerky. While at the grocery, I picked up some chicken breasts to can, so when I got home, I started right in on cooking those in preparation for canning. After those were finished, I turned them off to cool a bit and ate supper.
By this time I was getting tired, but I couldn’t stop, because I still had chicken to can! I got the chicken into jars, and then into the pressure canner for their 90-minute journey to a shelf-stable life. While they were cooking, I admit that I rested some. I’d gone non-stop all day!
When the chicken came out of the canner, I decided to call it quits for the day.
What I noticed when reviewing my food journal for the day that I only ate when I got hungry, because otherwise, my mind was engaged in whatever I was involved with at the moment!
I only ate when I got physical symptoms of hunger.
Sunday wasn’t nearly as busy. I slept a bit later and watched more TV, and didn’t have a list of projects that had to be completed before the day was over. Generally speaking, it was an easy day. I also noticed that I wanted to snack more.
Even though Saturday centered on food and its preparation/preservation, I wasn’t bothered by the desire to think about what I was going to eat next. I can’t say the same for Sunday. I cooked and made soup and put the jerky in to dehydrate, but I was definitely more preoccupied with my next meal. I certainly ate more that day than I did on Saturday.
What am I saying here? That you should keep busy all the time to keep from eating? Well, yes and no. If you are like me and struggle on some days with wanting to graze all day long, I am suggesting that you find something to do that will get your mind off of eating.
Do whatever works with your lifestyle. Keep a list of projects handy. If you find yourself struggling, tackle a project and see if your mind changes its focus. It seems to work for me.
Good luck, and let me know what keeps you from eating when you aren’t hungry!