10 Simple Ways To Stop Grazing for Weight LossSeptember 29, 2021
Stop Grazing for Weight Loss: Healthy snacking can be beneficial as a planned part of your bariatric diet but is not meant to replace meals. Mindful snacks between meals actually can reduce your intake of calories by reducing your appetite at mealtime. Snacks should be carefully assessed. Lean protein with fruit or vegetables are always good choices.
Grazing is a pattern of eating small amounts of food all day. Although the reduced size of the stomach prevents eating large amounts of food at one time, grazing can cause weight gain by allowing larger portions across the whole day.
Snacking vs. Grazing
- SNACKING is eating planned food between meals vs. GRAZING is mindless daylong feeding
- SNACKING is planned with consideration to nutrition and calories vs. GRAZING is a constant eating that never completely satisfies hunger
- SNACKING results in an energy boost and fueling of the body vs. GRAZING rarely has any nutritional value
10 Tips to Stop Grazing for Weight Loss
Keep a food log. Food logs are a form of a boundary. They help you slow down and really think about the food choices you are making. Logging food and water intake with protein and calories are important. If grazing is a problem, it is also a good idea to log your hunger level before and after, and any emotions or circumstances that may be driving you to eat outside of hunger.
This way you can begin to truly understand your grazing habits and triggers. Food logs can be completed via paper or using nutrition apps like Baritastic or Myfitnesspal.
Check your nutrition. Are you low on nutrients? Pay particular attention to your protein and water intake. Some patients graze because they are not eating enough protein or their scheduled meals are too small.
Avoid slider foods at meal and snack times. Ever noticed that some foods go down so easy, while other foods don’t? Those easy foods are probably slider foods. Your smaller stomach pouch should signal fullness. However, slider foods do not register the fullness feeling because they slide through your stomach pouch easily.
These foods can lead to larger portions at meals, higher calorie intake, and yet still leave you hungry because they were not in your stomach long enough. This is why it is so important to fill up on good solid protein and high fiber foods first.
Common slider foods are soups, dry simple carbs (crackers, pretzels, chips, cookies, and popcorn), mashed potatoes, hot and cold cereals, and ice cream/frozen yogurt. Never have a slider food alone. You will be able to eat big portions and end up hungry very quickly.
Are you thirsty? Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Drink a calorie-free, caffeine-free, carbonation-free drink and wait 30 minutes. If you are still hungry, have a snack of lean protein and a fruit or vegetable.
Drinking with meals. Make sure you are not drinking at meal or snack times. This flushes out the stomach, which allows for larger portions, and more hunger between meals. Fluids should be spaced out from foods by 30 minutes.
Planned snacks. Plan your snacks as you would a meal. Focus on protein-based foods with a fruit or vegetable. Aim to never snack on grain-based carbohydrate foods alone (ex. crackers, popcorn, chips/pretzels.) Always have a protein represented at meals and snacks.
Are you bored/tired/stressed? Find an activity to do for 15-20 min. If you are still hungry, have a snack of lean protein and a fruit or vegetable.
No distractions. Snack without distractions and give full attention to eating. Do not eat in front of the TV or computer.
Never eat out of a large bag or box. Take 1 serving out and put the packaging away. Some people find dividing the snack food into individual portions immediately upon opening the package works best to control portions.
One serving is sufficient. Do not immediately return to the kitchen for a second helping. Give your food time to digest, wait, drink water, and then evaluate if you need more.
Ultimately, GRAZING defeats bariatric surgery, because too many empty calories are consumed and absorbed leading to weight gain. Taking steps to stop grazing and change to appropriate snacking will help you feel full and satisfied, meet your nutritional needs, and aid in successful weight loss efforts.
ABOUT THE AUTHORCala Dittmer, a Harbin Clinic registered, licensed dietitian, provides nutrition education for patients throughout the bariatric process. She leads preoperative group classes, teaching nutrition guidelines and providing education on the various stages of meal plans after surgery. Cala meets one-on-one with patients to evaluate their readiness for surgery in terms of lifestyle changes with diet and exercise.