So one of the things I have been looking at in my move towards losing weight and also towards saving money, as how to handle snacks. I think that because I have a history with using food for so many reasons OTHER than being hungry, I have a tendency to reach for snacks throughout the day just out of force of habit or boredom or stress. Sometimes, I will even FEEL hungry when I know there is no earthly reason why I should!
Case in point - I made a fabulous green monster smoothie for breakfast this morning and drank it in my first class at 8am. Now I have calculated the calories on this before just to see about where it stands on the complete breakfast food chain, and with the protein powder, spinach, soy milk, flax seeds and fruit it averages around 400 calories and a good dose of protein and nutrients. Very healthy for a full breakfast, and no reason why this shouldn't last my tummy a solid 3-4 hours until it is time for lunch. BUT by around 10am I started to feel like I wanted to eat something. I had about an hour until my next class, I was sitting down to read, I was a little bored, and I almost felt like my tummy was rumbling for food. But how could this be? It had been LESS than 2 hours since I had my smoothie and really was it that difficult to wait until lunch at Noon? But I swear to you, I spent the next 2 hours going back and forth on if I wanted my string cheese that I had brought for an afternoon snack now, or maybe a bottle of soda (what?? I don't drink soda anyway! Why now??)
So what I ended up doing was telling myself to suck it up, that my tummy being a little hungry for the last 1/2 hr before lunch wasn't the end of the world (that in fact I SHOULD be going to lunch a little hungry!) and that I could wait and I wouldn't die of starvation - and it turned out to be true. I was just the right amount hungry for lunch at Noon when I got to work, and I saved my string cheese for my afternoon snack around 4pm when I actually WILL be hungry and looking for something to sustain me through the bike ride home and the couple of hours until dinner.
But I find myself facing this issue a lot. I don't just nibble because I am bored, my body will actually make me feel PHYSICALLY HUNGRY when there is no biological reason I should. For example, I eat a healthy sized lunch at 12:30, and 1-2 hours later I get bored and then feel starving. Am I really starving?? No way! I am just bored and my body is kicking in anticipating the food it knows I will most likely consume to distract it. Because as soon as I am busy the hunger goes away, so I know it wasn't really "I need fuel" hunger, it was just "You are bored which means I am getting a snack soon and I am going to find a way to make sure of that" hunger. Even now typing this post and THINKING about snacks I am feeling that fake hunger starting up in my tummy even though less than 2 hours ago I had homemade minestrone soup, a slice of sourdough bread, a container of greek yogurt, and a dish of peaches. In other words...my tummy in no physical way needs food but my mind is trying to convince me that it does. AUGH!! So I LITERALLY cannot trust my body to tell me the truth?!?! How do you listen to your body's natural signals if the signals it is sending are fake???
So I am thinking for both health and for budget I need to get better about planning my menus for the day. Just write it out, "this is what you are having for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and evening snack if you really want it and this is what time you are eating each of those items". That way, I am not digging into my lunchbag and downing my afternoon snack at 10am out of boredom. Saves money because I am not eating a ton extra than I need, helps with health and weight loss for the same reason. As long as I am regular about planning this out in advance and making sure I pack my lunchbag properly before heading out every day this should be a good thing.
So although it is a little late, here is my plan for today:
Breakfast - Green Monster (8am)
Lunch - Soup, bread, yogurt, peaches (12:30pm)
Snack - string cheese, orange slices (4:30pm)
Dinner - leftover Mexican casserole w/veggies, sauteed bananas (7pm)
Snack (optional) - mini bag of popcorn(10pm)
There - now I am accountable and everything is already packed and ready for consumption until I get home. I will plan tonight for tomorrow, and so on and so forth and hopefully this will help greatly with my budget and overall feeling of health and wellbeing!