General Diet Plans and Questions - Confessions of a grazer- anyone else have this problem??

02-22-2011, 05:39 AM
So I almost never binge but I have another bad eating habit that calorie-wise may be almost as damaging: grazing!

Seriously, I for some reason feel the need to constantly have something I'm eating/drinking/nibbling on, etc. Sometimes I'll be fine but sometimes I'll wander around my kitchen all evening even after finishing dinner looking for something to continually snack on throughout the night. It's even worse right now because I'm working from home and am constantly getting up to find something else to munch on while I work.

Usually these are generally healthy foods, but sometimes either a) they are consumed in large amounts over the course of a day/evening or b) they are actually not healthy- chips, etc.

It also makes counting calories REALLY hard. I always add at least an extra 200 calories to whatever my online calorie counter tells me I've eaten because I know I haven't accounted for the two bites of leftover pasta I randomly ate, the 6 chips, the small handful of chocolate chips, and whatever other small nibbles I had throughout the day.

I drink a LOT of water and have some decent substitutes for the unhealthy ones- grapes, popcorn, tea, etc- but any suggestions for how to curb the grazing, or at least track it better, would be welcomed.

Anyone else have this problem?

02-22-2011, 06:34 AM
Ugh, I know exactly what you mean. :moo:

Anything from pinches of shredded cheese to squirts of whipped cream. I don't have any advice except to chew gum. I feel that that helps me fight it. Also brushing my teeth often can help, too, because I'm less likely to want to lose the minty fresh feeling :D

I feel like if you could keep it to fruit and veggies, you'd probably be ok, though. I think grapes and strawberries are very low-calorie.

02-22-2011, 06:51 AM
*raises hand*

Me. It's the worst when I'm at work because I used to smoke - a lot. I'm constantly shoving food in my mouth. The only way I can get around it is to be careful about how much food I bring to work.

For example, I know if I bring a whole bag of rice cakes, I will eat the whole bag. So, I'll bring a couple or a single serving so there's no chance for me to snack on more than I should.

I also leave my cash and home and only bring my debit card to work. That way I can't buy anything from the vending machine.

I drink a lot of water. I chew a ton of gum.

At home, it's a little less bad, but I still do it. A bite here, a bite there... I try to make sure that I have the healthiest options available in the house since I tend to be a convenience eater too. If there's something quick, easy & healthy I can snack on, I go for that. At home, I have a healthy supply of rice cakes, veggies like beets and pickles in a jar, and since I'm a cheese freak, I also have laughing cow light cheese wedges hanging around. Anything I can pop into my mouth for a few calories that will put the urge at bay.

Then more water water water.

Good luck!

02-22-2011, 10:48 AM
Anything from pinches of shredded cheese to squirts of whipped cream.

Oh gosh that's totally what I would do. Go grab a pinch of shredded cheese, then 10 minutes later go grab another one, repeat. It's so ridiculous.

Gum is a good idea.. and yes will try to stick to fruits and vegetables.... carrots are a good nibbler. Really I just need something to make me STOP thinking about food and wandering around the kitchen... some sort of alarm that will go off every time I enter it outside of meal time!!

02-22-2011, 11:31 AM
I'm also a grazer, and tend to eat 6 or more mini-meals. It's a bit more challenging to document, but I try to remember to "write before I bite," and weigh my bits and bites (what WW leaders call blt's - bites, licks, and tastes).

I follow an exchange plan, so I try to make sure my mini meals are at least .5 increments of an exchange. Usually I just make sure it's a whole exchange - 1 quite small apple = 1 fruit. An added bonus is that it's easier to choose healthier foods because they're easiest to count. An apple is a lot easier to count than a piece or two of chocolate.

An added bonus, by never eating a full meal, my perception of serving size has shrunk, and so has the capacity of my stomach. I'm satisfied more quickly and if I do binge, I get uncomfortable more quickly too. I never get "full" as I used to experience it, but I also adjusted to that as a normal feeling.

hope for recovery
02-22-2011, 11:46 AM
I know exactly what you mean and it is not the most pleasant thing to have! However I can assure you that it DOES get better with time! Make sure that you have structured meals - one thing that really helped me was 3 meals a day plan, now i am up on 4, 5 times but i don't get the grazing cravings. I used to get them in the evenings because food is so comforting and i wanted to run in it and i used to get really bad in the afternoon - I learnt to sit with boredom, feeling low, sleepy, tired, sad or lonely. This is how i sometimes feel in the afternoon and that used to cause me to just snak. Not today tho, not today!

02-22-2011, 11:56 AM
Yep, me. Not a binge eater...a grazer. I grazed my way up to 235.

I don't like gum. I suggest smaller more frequent meals disallowing any nibbling in between. :dunno: Worked for me....for a while. ;)

I learned last summer that I can't write without eating. :rolleyes: To combat that I set my computer up on my treadmill. It gave me something to do while writing, walking at a very slow pace. It was awesome. Apparently I crave movement and grazing supplies that through the jaw movement.

I'm also a fidgeter.

02-22-2011, 01:34 PM
Really I just need something to make me STOP thinking about food and wandering around the kitchen... some sort of alarm that will go off every time I enter it outside of meal time!!

Actually, someone once suggested these things to me when I was having trouble remembering to get my 6 meals a day in but I actually think they'd work a lot better for your purpose. :lol:

I guess you record a message and when you walk by him, he plays the recording. You could put him on the fridge door!

P.S. your picture is cute!

02-22-2011, 02:04 PM
I am a grazer too. The only thing that helps me is water, water, water!

02-23-2011, 02:43 AM
kaplods it's a good idea to weigh before eating. I don't have a food scale but I need one. I cook a lot so my guesstimating amounts of flour, cocoa powder, etc is fine, but definitely not accurate enough to measure the nibbles I take throughout the day!

Eliana, that's useful advice that movement of any sort could possibly replace jaw/nibbling movement. I on occasion stand up at my computer, which I haven't really thought could be a deterrent to snacking. I'll definitely try this out.

Paradise That's a good idea!! I am not above using blatant humiliation to keep me from grazing :)

Re. profile pic- haha thanks! I LOVE sushi :-D

02-26-2011, 01:13 AM
I'm new to this site but when I saw this post it made me feel right at home. I have this same exact problem only when I'm grazing it's mostly because I have no idea what I even want all I know is I'm hungry! After wandering about the kitchen every evening and randomly taste testing things to see it that's my mystery craving makes me feel like I will never lose anything but I don't know what to do to make me feel full without undoing any progress. lol All and any advice welcome! thanks!

02-26-2011, 05:23 AM
Not saying these will work for you, but these are a couple things I did that really helped me with the grazing problem (for me it was a tendency to go back to the kitchen to finish leftovers, so more portion control).

I put a sign up on my refrigerator that says, "Are you REALLY hungry?" and on my computer. It seems silly but it helped me to think twice before I ate. Eventually I was able to get it fairly set into my unconscious, too.

Also, I have a rule that I don't eat anything if it's not on a plate. Even if it's my post-workout apple and cheese slices. So getting out the plate (and having to wash it afterwards) adds in a few steps to slow me down. I never eat anything standing up, and the kitchen is off-limits when it's not mealtime. ALWAYS after dinner is finished and washing-up is done.

I don't keep any snack-type or handy foods around, except for some cut up vegetables in the fridge. Not even any pre-shredded cheese, or snack-size containers of yogurt. What one of my students called "Not food but only things for making food!" It helps that my grandma, who was a rather old fashioned German, and also my mom never did the "snacks" thing. I think the snack food lifestyle is a big contributor to the American obesity problem.

I also put everything into my LoseIt app. Everything I have in my house is in the quick-find database now anyway, and I figure "a taste" is what the "1/8 cup" entry is for. Then you see how they add up....

02-26-2011, 06:32 AM
Welcome, Lrn!

bronzeage I think you give useful advice. I recently decided I am only allowing 3 "licks, bites, and tastes" a day and EVERYTHING else I have to log. It's already curbed my eating today AND I've realized I'm already at 830 calories for the day with only 370 more at my disposal for dinner and any after-dinner snacks.

Also, noticed your location- I'm in your same boat as American overseas. Certainly tends to throw interesting curve balls for weight loss attempts..

03-13-2011, 03:54 PM
I am definitely a "grazer" as well. I find it is much more difficult when I am at home with the kiddos than out and about running errands. Our home has an open floor plan so the kitchen is always right there. Learning to be more mindful of my eating is the best I have been able to do. Taking a minute to pause and ask myself if I actually even need to eat. 90% of the time I don't....

03-30-2011, 06:10 PM
I had this problem, and still do to some extent. But I tend to only allow myself fruits and veggies with no added salt or fat for breakfast, snacks, and sometimes lunch. Dinner is where everything else comes in. And I seem to have been doing well with that. When I work it is lunch and dinner. But nothing but fresh foods for breakfast and snack for sure.
Lots of oranges, full of water weight, and one banana a day for breakfast. If I can add strawberries or melon I do.
Grazing is actually healthy, if you make the right choices.

03-30-2011, 07:58 PM
I love eating this way but I make sure I'm really hungry. I drink a small glass of oj first thing and then when I get really hungry, I eat 2 or 3 bites of say a sandwich or cottage cheese or soup. I feel so much more energetic and food tastes so much better if you are really hungry.

03-31-2011, 12:08 AM
I'm not so much of a grazer as someone who needs to constantly have something to chew or drink. If I don't have something to satisfy that oral fixation, I rip off hangnails or pick at my skin - gross but true.

I have nothing of value to offer, but I do understand that primal need to be eating or drinking all the time. I drink at least 6-8 mugs of various hot beverages at work and then probably 5 more after I get home.

04-04-2011, 03:55 PM
I am so glad I am not alone here!!

I took a Health and Nutrition class in college and our instructor encouraged 5-6 small meals a day. My colleagues are always asking how I am not 200+ lbs as often as I eat! I usually eat something every 3-4 hours (healthy or unhealthy) and ALWAYS keep something in my hand to drink! (water, Crystal Lite, Diet Coke, or red wine)

However, I am grazing myself upward on the scale and it is truly unbecoming of me! :eek:

Thanks for all of the suggestions :)

04-05-2011, 04:38 AM
Hi grazers, thought I'd check in here since it's been a while. Just wanted to let you all know, as you've probably seen from my other posts, that I have been practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF) for about a month now. You can read more here ( but essentially it involves not eating until later on in the day, thus having a shorter "eating window" than the typical sun up to sun down schedule we were raised on. It's the exact opposite of the 5-6 mini-meals a day theory. I eat LARGE lunches and medium dinners. Eating a LOT at for lunch (which occurs at 2 or 3 usually) and being genuinely FULL (which I haven't been for months since dieting) has made a huge difference. I don't graze, and when I do it's just out of habit/oral fixation, and I can usually satisfy it with carrots or another low-calorie food. I'm sometimes not even that hungry for dinner, and eat just enough to get in some healthy proteins and fats.

Anyway, just wanted to share what's been working the best for taming the grazer inside of me. Has anyone else found a new trick or key to curbing the constant nibbling?

04-06-2011, 04:50 PM
Hmmm... I kind of do that intermittent Fasting already, except not with healthy foods. I'm trying to move more to the grazing method of eating (but with healthy foods), and see if that makes me lose more weight, since I've been at a standstill forever, it seems.