Maybe it’s a piece of cheese, then a handful of nuts. A little later, you grab a few crackers and so on.
Grazing, nibbling, noshing, snacking, munching, picking — whichever word you use, it describes the same problematic eating behavior.
Grazing is when we eat small amounts of foods throughout the day usually in addition to our meals. I have found after years of working with people who have had weight loss surgery, grazing is a surefire way to stop/slow down weight loss or, worse yet, contribute to weight regain.
Many people struggle with grazing. Here are a few easy steps you can take to stop grazing for good!
1. Record everything you eat and drink.
Grazing can become a habit that you do not even realize you are doing. The purpose of keeping food records is to become aware of and accountable for everything you eat and drink.
There are many apps and websites that can help you keep track of your diet. Some good ones to try are:
- My Fitness Pal
- Lose It
- Fit Day
- Spark People.
- Getting at least 60 – 80 grams protein daily?
- Eating your protein first, then your vegetables?
- Drinking 64 ounces calorie free fluids daily?
- Eating mindfully (eating slowly, chewing your foods well, sipping fluids?)
- Not eating and drinking at the same time?
- Making half of your plate protein, the other half non-starchy vegetables and a small amount of healthy, whole grains?
These apps and websites give you instant information about how many calories and grams of protein you eat each day, which can be very helpful to get back on track.
For many people, once they realize how many calories they eat while grazing they are usually motivated to stop.
2. Compare what you’re eating to what your doctor recommends.
For example, consider what our own Dr. Seun recommends. Are you…
3. Set up a simple menu.
If you realized you’re not following your doctor’s advice, it’s helpful to write down a sample menu using the above recommendations.
Keep your menu simple and structured. Write down what, how much, when and where you will eat. Also make a note of your thoughts, feelings and emotions and their relationship to your eating.
4. Take notice of patterns.
For example, maybe you find you tend to graze more after dinner or you are more “hungry” between meals if you don’t eat enough protein.
Or perhaps certain “trigger” foods are too hard to avoid if they are in the house (or at work).
5. Develop a strategy.
Once you’ve identified a trigger food or a pattern that leads to grazing, brainstorm a strategy to change these patterns.
For example, if you find you graze more when you do not eat enough protein, make sure you include protein at each meal and eat your protein first.
If you find you are confusing thirst for hunger, replace food with calorie free fluids.
Schedule an Appointment with Lori
If you live in New Jersey and you’re having trouble with grazing, call the office at 732-414-2707 and make an appointment to see me. We can work together on a plan that will work for you to stop grazing for good!
We are here to help!
Dietitian’s Corner by Lori Skurbe
Dietitian’s Corner is a monthly column for post-op and pre-op patients of bariatric surgery in NJ written by Prime Surgicare’s Lori Skurbe. Lori has been a dietitian for over 20 years with an extensive background in weight management, bariatric nutrition and diabetes education.