Do you pick, pick, pick or peck, peck, peck like a chicken looking for food?
Are you one of these people who finds yourself picking at food throughout the day? I was, and still can be if I don’t stay aware of what I am doing. It didn’t matter if the children were eating toast or cereal for breakfast, I’d find myself breaking a piece off the corner of their toast, or shoving a handful of cereal in my mouth.
At lunchtime, I’d eat the crusts off their bread, help myself to their chips, fruit, cookies and finish off whatever was left on their plates. All throughout the day, I’d pick at food – and it wasn’t just during meals either.
After breakfast time was over, I’d reach my hand into the cracker sleeve and have a “few.” Then, I’d eat a few chocolate chips, a half a piece of banana or a generous palmful of chips. This behavior was almost unconscious.
If you had asked me if I snacked throughout the day, I would have answered, “no.” After all, I didn’t schedule designated snacks or snack times, but I picked at food all day long. And all that picking, when combined with too many calories and too little exercise, added up to a whole lot of pounds.
158 extra pounds to be exact.
Obviously I didn’t gain all that weight just picking at food for one or two days, but rather over years and years of this behavior. This was a habit that needed changing quickly once I finally decided to do something drastic about my weight.
Although I never regularly journaled my food, I did start to develop an eating schedule that helped me stop picking at food throughout the day. I figuratively slapped my own hand away from other people’s plates, kept the pantry door closed as a reminder that it wasn’t time for me to eat, and started eating more regularly.
It really helped me control my portions as well as my caloric intake. Another added benefit was that no one ever asked, “Hey, what happened to the entire bag of chips that was here this morning. No, I had stopped eating whole containers of fattening foods by just stopping the picking habit.
If you think about it – a handful of chips can easily have 75 calories, a half a Pop-Tart has about 100 calories, and just five crackers has about 70. Eating 245 extra calories every day can make weight loss difficult – if not impossible.
After I got to my “happy weight,” I kept practicing the “no-pick” lifestyle. If you asked my children or husband now if I pick at their food, they would say, “No.” Am I always perfect – no. But I do tend to catch myself when I find myself reaching my hand to grab a pretzel or a leftover roll from last night’s dinner.
Have you ever found yourself picking at food unintentionally? How do you stop? Diane