Monday, June 30, 2008

No graze days of summer - Fight the graze-haze

A special thanks to all of you who are joining me in the No Graze Days of Summer Challenge. Mindfulness in eating has been a lifelong struggle for me, but this time I'm tackling the issue with friends. Some of us have already started and others have committed as of July 1. If you haven't signed up yet, just leave a comment. It's never too late to make a healthy choice for the future. Besides, I'd love the company. In the meantime, some thoughts...

So what makes me graze? What makes it so hard to break out of that hypnotic trance, that "graze-haze" that takes me from one innocent bite to an afternoon of incessant nibbling? Sometimes I feel like the food is talking to me, calling me to it - " Yoohoo! It's just me, the _______ calling." Feel free to fill in the blank - cereal, peanut butter, cheese, bread, whatever. "I'm lonely in here all by myself. Come for a visit? You know a little nibble will make all those yucky feelings disappear..." Is it stress, anxiety, boredom, or procrastination that brings me back to the kitchen every 5 minutes, all afternoon? It's certainly not hunger. 

Over the last 2 years, mindfulness has time and again been a beautiful and peaceful solution in so many areas of my life. Applied to my relationship with food, mindfulness in eating can be a powerful ally. If I catch myself scoping out the fridge, I try to ask myself - Am I hungry or am I anxious about something. And if I'm anxious about something, do I really want to stuff my face and end up feeling crummy over it? Everytime it's an obvious "no." But of course, the operative word in all that was "catching" myself. Many times, my "awareness" doesn't happen until after the fact. So I have recently put a few strategies in place to help "catch" me, giving me time to think (be mindful) before I have a chance to enter that graze-haze. 
  1. The calendar - I made a calendar to mark my No Graze Days. Each day that goes by with no grazing, I put a sticker on the calendar (I know, I'm not 5 anymore, but stay with me). The calendar is on the front of the fridge next to the handle. It serves as a motivator - "Oh, come on, don't you want a sticker today? That's it. Good girl. Step away from the fridge nice are slowly..."
  2. The rope - On the days when I'm at home alone, I've been tying a rope around the handles of the fridge/freezer (we have a side-by-side). That rope means I have one additional obstacle between me and the food - "Is it lunchtime yet? Then what do you want? Go away and come back when you're supposed to be eating, you cow! Moo-ve on along. Go on!" (Is it me or is Mr. Rope a little rude?) Anyway...
  3. The talk - If I haven't lost you yet, here it comes. I talk to myself. Yep, outloud. "Ok, I'm just going to take this mac-n-cheese out of the fridge and put in on the counter. I'm going to make a plate for my hubby and not take a bite because I have a whole plate of goodies right over there for me to eat. Yep, not going to take a single bit. N0t... one... little... bite..." Pshew. And the mac-n-cheese goes back into the fridge - disaster averted.
For now, let's ignore the fact that inanimate objects speak to me routinely. If it works, it works, right? And so far, so good. I started the challenge a little early (June 21 - the day after a bad graze) and since then I've only had one graze day. That was the first full day our AC was out and the beautiful, cool fridge air and I were best friends (let's just say it was the following day when Mr. Rope came to visit). That's 8 out of the last 9 days where I've been mindful of my eating (for me, that's phenomenal)!

So, for those of you who started the challenge before July 1 - How have you been doing?  Do you have a strategy to fight the graze-haze?

6 comments:

eco 'burban mom said...

Pretty good, my only strategy so far is just not being at home! Now that baseball season has ended (thank you, thank you!) it might be more of a challenge, as I will be home more in the evenings - peak grazing hours!

Heather @ SGF said...

Yeah! It must be a relief that the season has finally come to an end. So evenings are your worst, huh? Mine are the afternoons. Once my hubby comes home, the nibble seem to go away.

How did the boys do in the overall tournament?

Glenda said...

I love the rope LOL!! Very creative, but I imagine rather effective too.

I'm not a huge grazer because I make an effort to always have some sort of crafting project in progress that I can pick up and work on when not actively doing something with kiddo or hubby. But I could definitely stand to make better food choices when I do eat, so I'll jump on board for being more mindful about what I eat, starting immediately.

Heather @ SGF said...

Glenda - Wonderful! I'll add your name to the list. Craft projects is a great idea! I could start on a new baby blanket...

Beany said...

Grazing isn't a problem when I'm not home but when I'm home and I'm stressed then its a problem. Also not buying snacks has helped.

I've been trying to eat mindfully. And had two good days. But I get bored sitting by myself and eating when I have no company. Its really hard to resist sitting in front of the computer when I'm by myself.

I only meditated once this week. I'm going to meditate tonight for a few minutes.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - Do you find meditation makes it easier to get through the hours by yourself? Something else I try when I'm alone (when it's not 100 degrees outside) is sit on the front porch. It takes me out of the setting where I tend to munch. But two good days is great! Once we prove to ourselves we can do it, that mental block disappears and more good days will surely come!