General chatter - Snacking and eating without acknowledging it




SparklyBunny
12-29-2013, 04:50 AM
I've noticed this interesting phenomenon in couple of people in my life. They've both gotten wider from the waist, which doesn't bother me as such, but it is a health hazard and they have both asked me for tips in dieting. When I start to talk about it and ask what they eat, they both claim to eat healthy foods. Yet, when I observe them, they pretty much hoover all the food around them constantly. If it's there, they'll eat it, even though they said before that they're not hungry or don't need anything. I'm not sure if they're aware of what they're doing.

I feel a bit conflicted, because I don't want to be pointing out to someone that "OK, you're eating again", because it can come out as a shaming thing and that's not what I mean. I also don't want to deny them food, because I love to cook for people. They don't live with me, so it's not just my cooking, though I do take responsibility for enabling them once in a while.

I've tried to say things like "count all the calories you're eating for at least couple of weeks", but they don't want to do that. Or at least the other one doesn't (I don't think I've offered that piece of advice to the other one yet).

I'm sure there are some people here who've lived like that, eating and snacking almost compulsively without even noticing how much and what kind of foods they're eating. What made you realize what you were doing and were you able to stop?

They also both assume that they're eating healthy foods like Greek yogurt, "just a little piece" of dark chocolate and a lot of fruit and vegetables. I've seen them eat those, so it's true, but I've also seen them eat a lot of other things. Also, both of them prefer vegetables over meat (with the other one being pescetarian), and they've both criticized me for eating too much meat and fat. Ironically, eating meat and fat has stopped my cravings and if I don't feel like eating, I don't eat, but I understand that they don't want to go down that road.

Perhaps they should just prepare some veggies and a dip (which I know the other one does) and snack on those, but I honestly don't think it's a good idea to just eat mindlessly, regardless of what it is that you're eating. That's just my opinion though, and I would love to hear differing opinions, just to understand.


Mazzy
12-29-2013, 07:21 AM
Personally, if these folks really wanted to change their habits, they would do it for themselves. Unless they are approaching you constantly, and take your responses seriously, I wouldn't worry about how they ate, but focus on what you're doing.

SparklyBunny
12-29-2013, 09:03 AM
Personally, if these folks really wanted to change their habits, they would do it for themselves. Unless they are approaching you constantly, and take your responses seriously, I wouldn't worry about how they ate, but focus on what you're doing.

You're right. I have a history of codependence and it's difficult to not get involved and even pander to someone else's version of reality. It's really annoying and I often find it simpler to just be alone than allow people near, as it's difficult to hold onto boundaries and say "no". I really want to help if I can, but I don't want to get sucked into someone else's illusions. Again.


Wannabeskinny
12-29-2013, 09:13 AM
My advice is to put these people's habits out of your mind. When asked a specific question, answer honestly. But aside from that leave it alone. People are always asking for advice they don't really want. Sometimes it's out of curiosity and other times they listen, store the information, and think about it later. Either way, it's out of your hands.

I sort of agree that constant snacking can wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts. People are under the impression that eating a little bit all the time keeps them full, but in my reality it keeps me hungry all day and I have found that it doesn't work for me. My Mother swears by this, she eats constantly. When it's meal time she picks the smallest plate in the cupboard, basically a saucer lol and disdains meat, fried food, and anything with too much butter or fat. The rest of the day though she's constantly nibbling on food... usually wheat based food. A slice of bread with cheese, crackers, a muffin, a cookie, a handful of nuts. Maybe she thinks these little snacks don't count, but they really do add up and she can't understand why she's not losing weight. Then she'll turn around and lecture me that I go too long between meals and I should be snacking more. I try not to listen, it's taken me a long time to really listen to my own needs and ignore the noise around me, but I'm not rude about it. I just nod and smile and go on about my business.

I can understand that you are in a precarious position, you think they have asked you for advice but they really don't want too much of it. You've said your piece, maybe you can point out to them when they're snacking when it's in the course of the hour and say "see what I mean? did you realize you're snacking again?" but then you have to drop it and leave it at that. Say anything further and you're harping on them.

Mazzy
12-29-2013, 10:16 AM
I agree with wannabeskinny...I find that when I eat a little bit every so often, it kinda keeps my eating mode open. It feels like I am disrespecting food, too.

I feel much better when I can make a plate of something that I value, sit down, focus on my enjoyment (and not the t.v., work, or magazine), eat it presently, then feel comfortably full and stop. That alone refreshes me for hours, and I don't keep thinking about food.

gardenerjoy
12-29-2013, 10:22 AM
I was someone who ate healthy foods. And, then, a lot of other stuff. Since I'm a librarian, naturally, it was a book that kicked that out of me: The End of Overeating by David Kessler. It's about how processed foods are engineered to trigger cravings for more processed food. I stopped junk food cold turkey after reading that book.

I still want to eat a large volume of food, so I eat giant salads. Not exactly mindlessly, but not mindful, either.

I don't count calories, but I plan my eating the night before (I don't always follow the plan 100%, but having a plan makes a difference).

Just some other things to think about, but having co-dependent tendencies myself, I rather like the idea of letting it go and focusing on taking care of yourself. Who knows, your showing what works by example may be what it takes.

diamondgeog
12-29-2013, 12:55 PM
I find fats satiating. I especially like strong cheese as I can eat a little. But after cutting out fast food, junk food, bread, pasta, I have very little hunger outside meals and snacks now are apples, carrots, hummus, cheese, brociolli, etc.

They need to use trial and error to figure it out. I would hope you could share your observations as they asked, but I know it can be tricky.

If they are truly motivated I have always found that to be the biggest hurdle to getting healthy. If they have that they will find a way for them and should value input.

SparklyBunny
12-30-2013, 05:03 AM
Thank you for contributing!

@Wannabeskinny:

When it's meal time she picks the smallest plate in the cupboard, basically a saucer lol and disdains meat, fried food, and anything with too much butter or fat. The rest of the day though she's constantly nibbling on food... usually wheat based food. A slice of bread with cheese, crackers, a muffin, a cookie, a handful of nuts. Maybe she thinks these little snacks don't count, but they really do add up and she can't understand why she's not losing weight.

Oh, yes. That's exactly what I've noticed as well and it's rather frustrating. Especially when I'm being criticized for eating a large meal. They just don't understand that that meal will keep me satiated for a very long time and I don't have to snack. My mother is also like that and she just told me yesterday that she would like to lose some weight. She did that with Weight Watchers many, many, many years ago. I told her that there are free web services these days that she could use to write down everything she eats and the service would then tell her how she's doing. "I'm not going to write down anything". Well, OK then… Though she wasn't one of the two people I was talking about in this thread, she's also one of those who'd rather not face the reality of anything that feels bad or is inconvenient.

You're right that I should just not get involved, because I'll just end up taking it too seriously and none of them are willing to do the same.

@gardenerjoy:

Thanks for the book recommendation. I don't think I'll be able to convince my friends and family to read that book though, especially if it hasn't been published in Finnish... Part of the problem is that they all think that they aren't overeating and that they eat healthy foods. I could of course use a book to smack them in the head to snap back to reality! :-) I kid, I kid...

By the way, for anyone with codependent tendencies, I'd recommend the books by Susan Anderson. Her concept "Outer Child" was incredibly helpful for me to distinguish the parts of me that got out of control (be it with eating, drinking, relationships, or anything that can be messed up…). After I was able to compartmentalize this part of me, I could have conversations with myself as an adult. That's actually what helped me to stop eating too much. Unless I'm actually physically ravenous (and that doesn't happen when I eat properly), I need no willpower to say "no" to foods. There's no inner struggle, because after a few sessions of soothing my childish brain, I don't even get triggered anymore. I know that I don't need it, so I can skip it. That said, if I want to indulge, I can, but it's still a conscious decision and not me being out of control.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention her books, because she's done some great work, but isn't as popular as many other similar authors.

GlamourGirl827
12-31-2013, 02:38 PM
This thread seems to have two topics.

First people that want to lose weight, but claim they already eat healthy/dont want to count snacks here and there/dont feel like counting calories...I think this dead horse has been beaten here so many times, its just a pile of dust by now. (And yet I will take a swing at it lol) It drives me crazy as well, not just for weightloss but for every area of life. The same can be said for the people in my life that are always too broke to pay their bills, and claim they manage thir money/its not their fault... but if I were to point out all the ways they are careless with their money, they would not take it well. When they are ready to come out of denial and watch their spending, they will...same with weight loss.

The second issue seems to be snacking, in and of itself. I disagree with the idea of just meals. It might work for some of you, but it does not work for everyone. First of all, eating small amount more frequently (not to be confused with grazing or having a feed bag strapped to your face) helps keep blood sugar more even, it avoid the ups and downs, and some are more sensitive to that than others. Also, I find if I eat my calories in a full meal, vs small meal, with snacking later on... the one meal is too much...I either dont finish it or I feel bloated afterwards or end up with indigestion. Yes that keeps me away from food for several hours, but I dont like feeling that way, especially if I want to be active. I usually prefer to snack, but again, I mean controled snacked, not mindless grazing all day.

SparklyBunny
01-04-2014, 05:19 AM
The second issue seems to be snacking, in and of itself. I disagree with the idea of just meals. It might work for some of you, but it does not work for everyone. First of all, eating small amount more frequently (not to be confused with grazing or having a feed bag strapped to your face) helps keep blood sugar more even, it avoid the ups and downs, and some are more sensitive to that than others. Also, I find if I eat my calories in a full meal, vs small meal, with snacking later on... the one meal is too much...I either dont finish it or I feel bloated afterwards or end up with indigestion. Yes that keeps me away from food for several hours, but I dont like feeling that way, especially if I want to be active. I usually prefer to snack, but again, I mean controled snacked, not mindless grazing all day.

Yes, I understand that it doesn't work for everyone. To me, eating small meals frequently does not translate to keeping blood sugar more even, but to keeping blood sugar slightly elevated in a constant state. Not eating keeps blood sugar in a level where I want it to be to feel good. Now, of course if I would eat a ton of sugar for a meal, or alcohol, then the response would be faster and the subsequent crash harder. But if I have a nice amount of fat with the meal, it blunts the effect.

I think digestion is also something that's very different for each individual, but digestion also adapts to what we eat over time. I actually think that our bodies adapt in all kinds of ways to anything new over time. But I still wouldn't force someone to eat larger meals and not snack, as it is every individuals own choice.

scottysgirl7682
01-04-2014, 03:40 PM
I've noticed this interesting phenomenon in couple of people in my life. They've both gotten wider from the waist, which doesn't bother me as such, but it is a health hazard and they have both asked me for tips in dieting. When I start to talk about it and ask what they eat, they both claim to eat healthy foods. Yet, when I observe them, they pretty much hoover all the food around them constantly. If it's there, they'll eat it, even though they said before that they're not hungry or don't need anything. I'm not sure if they're aware of what they're doing.

In a way, this kind of sounds like my parents. My mom has this mentality that if something is on sale or if she has a coupon for it (i.e. B1G1 ice cream or cookies or chocolate, etc.) she has to buy it. Both her and my dad are overweight, and it scares me because they both have sleep apnea. Both have shared that they want to lose the weight, but won't really do much about it. For example, I went to the cubbord to get something, and I noticed a package of Oreo Megastuffed cookies that weren't there before... I didn't buy them, and I knew my brother didn't either. Come to find out, my dad bought them and hid them there. He had 3 with a cup of coffee yesterday morning, basically as a "pre-breakfast" snack or something.

I just started doing Ideal Protein in October, because I was just as big as them. Since then, I have dropped a little more than 30 pounds, and I was hoping that since they've seen my success with this, that they would try it too. But, no such luck. My mom has said that after the holidays were over, she was going to get on the treadmill and change her eating habits. We'll have to wait and see on that... If only they would cut out the bread, pasta, sweets and soda, their health would improve, they wouldn't need all of those medications or would be forced to a CPAP machine for the rest of their lives. I've gotten to the point where I don't know what to do anymore, since they haven't taken anything I've tried to tell them to heart, and I've been trying to for years... :/

Wannabeskinny
01-05-2014, 07:40 AM
I notice people who use coupons buy a lot of crappy foods. None of the foods that I enjoy are EVER on sale. Nobody wants to put produce, fresh yogurts and cheese etc on sale, especially the organic stuff I buy. I understand the appeal of coupons but why does one need to be 38 boxes of krapt mac n cheese just because they're on sale? This really gets my goat.

amandie
01-05-2014, 02:33 PM
I notice people who use coupons buy a lot of crappy foods. None of the foods that I enjoy are EVER on sale. Nobody wants to put produce, fresh yogurts and cheese etc on sale, especially the organic stuff I buy. I understand the appeal of coupons but why does one need to be 38 boxes of krapt mac n cheese just because they're on sale? This really gets my goat.

OMG, yes! Agreed. Was the word krapt deliberately misspelled? Heh. ;)

seabiscuit
01-08-2014, 08:16 PM
I find that writing or typing what I eat makes me THINK TWICE before I eat more. I am currently doing that for a weight loss class and I find that it's very eye-opening when I look back at the end of a day or a few days and then say to myself "Wow, I ate that and too much?" or "I underate today" or "good job today." Listen to your hunger cues/signals. Often when I am thirsty, I feel hungry but after water or hot tea I am fuller.

I've heard many people say that eating less and eating more often is better for them than three square meals a day. Find what works for you and try different approaches.

Good luck!

Amy