Monday, April 30, 2012

Everything's fine until 4pm

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Love that she has this snack crazed look on her face
In the comments section of our Hail Merry Snack post last week, I was asked:
Do you have any tips for people who overeat between work and supper? Because I have a...ummmm...friend who does this sometimes. And I...I mean...my friend...is having a hard time figuring out what kind of afternoon snack will hold her over so that she doesn't eat the caloric equivalent of an extra meal or two between 4:00 and 5:30

This question is just a taste of one of my favorite blogs Clay Baboons. Many of us have “a friend” just like this.

My clients and I’m sure most of you can tell me what you generally have for breakfast, perhaps lunch is organized too and then mid afternoon hits and all bets are off.  Sign a presnack-tual agreement. Each week, pick two items you’ll have mid afternoon, write them down and stick to those. For example, maybe one week your two choices are veggies and guacamole or kale chips. The next week you can rotate to yogurt or a bar.  Too many choices can lead to too much eating.

Let’s say you have your bar and you want something else. Midafternoon for many of us can feel like the Depeche Mode song "Just Can’t Get Enough". You know “When I’m with you baby I go out of my head, I just can’t get enough, I just can’t get enough."
If this isn’t ringing a bell here’s a little 80's refresher. Perhaps you've always assumed this was a song about a person. I say it could just as easily be about peanut butter.
If you’re used to serial snacking, it’s very likely that one snack will feel like the first course of a tasting menu. "What’s next?" that tired part of your brain will say. If you really want to reform your snacking habits veggies are next. Your snack is now a 1-act play and if you want an encore it’s cut up peppers, celery, jicama, grape tomatoes or radishes. We often do what we're used to doing. By making the choices concrete and then defining the sequence of options you can see real change. Veggies aren't exciting? Feeling in control is.

It’s also hard to satiate yourself once you wait too long. If lunch is at noon. Try having your snack at 3:00 or 3:30. If you wait until 5pm, it’s almost dinnertime. And speaking of dinner, the early bird is special. If you find yourself eating “the caloric equivalent of a meal” as Stephanie’s “friend” does, maybe you should have a meal. I can hear jeering from the peanut gallery (or the eat-too-many peanuts gallery). “My husband isn’t home yet” or “I’m still at work”. Your husband really wants you to sit with him and you’re not going to enjoy the meal if you’ve had 500 calories an hour earlier.  And if you’re still at work, if you have time to eat snacks, you have time to eat a meal. I’m happiest when I can eat dinner by 6pm. Give it a try. If you can’t have dinner at 5 or 6 maybe have part of dinner, a salad or soup.

Sometimes it’s not really food we need. In the fall, I posted “The Cure For Afternoon Munchies”. The cure the title alludes to is a nap from I now see an afternoon nap as a treat and on the days I have early clients will lie down for 15-20 minutes before I start to write or return emails in the afternoon. I also put my head down on my desk for a few minutes when I’m at work to disconnect and unwind. 

So Stephanie, let me know if your friend finds these tips helpful. I’m sure you’re a rock star at 4pm but maybe a pre-snacktual agreement, earlier dinner or nap would help you too. When it comes to food, we’re all pretty similar.
What time of day are you most likely to overeat? Can you see yourself trying any of the strategies mentioned above? Do you know the Depeche Mode song? 

And, speaking of 4pm,  congratulations to Gina, The Candid RD (and another great blog) you’re the winner of the Hail Merry giveaway. Please email us your mailing info info@foodtrainers.net.






28 comments:

  1. Oh, HAHA, I just posted this link on my FB page because I LOVED the post, and then I just noticed I won the giveaway!! YEAH! How exciting! And, ironically this is my last day blogging :) I'll still read blogs, but this was my last post.
    I'll e-mail my info right now!

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    1. will miss you in the blogosphere but glad we gave you a shout out today. Thanks for reposting. If there's ever an idea you want me to be "candid" about let me know. Good luck with your cooking venture.

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  2. Great post Lauren, so problematic for many. Especially women, they get so caught up at work and don't take the time to realize they're famished. It's no wonder they unleash on their fridge when they get home and wind up having supper before supper! Love the soup-salad strategy, could slow someone down and fill them up until their loved ones get home.

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    1. "unleash on their fridge" totally.

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  3. I think planning snacks and sticking to one or two is very important. If there are too many options, I'll go from snack to snack to snack... Not pretty. I also like to eat an early dinner (or part of dinner early); it prevents a lot of snacking...

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    1. Andrea, I think we're very similar food creatures, similar approach. It goes back to your thoughts on balance. How can we feel good and satisfied. Snack to snack to snack (to snack) we've all been there.

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  4. Great Post ! and I totally agree with Afternoon nap

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    1. Thanks Farida for stopping by. The nap can really help. More than anything it's keying into what it is that the oversnacking could be about. Is it fatigue? Hunger/not eating enough lunch? Waiting too long for the snack? I do love a nap.

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  5. I need help with the after-dinner munchies. I have no problem the rest of the day. None! But after Maya finally goes to sleep and I settle in front of Million Dollar Listing NY, I just can't seem to put the chocolate down.

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    1. I think lots of mothers have the munchies after kids go to sleep. It's sort of like unwinding with food at its best (or worst).

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  6. Sometimes it's hard not to eat when cooking, especially when dinner takes a long time to prep or bake AND when the hubs is chowing on some chips. Just.One.Chip...or not. ;)

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    1. calories consumed while cooking, another good topic Tiff. Hmn may have to write about that too.

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  7. I also like to eat early, so that opens up snacking time in the evening even though I'm not hungry. I hate that! I ran a half marathon Saturday morning and didn't eat until supper. After that, I snacked my way through the rest of the weekend. And yes, I know the song since that was high school for me. I am going to try planning the snacks. Now that the marathon is over, I feel like a kid out of school. I need to make plans for fitness goals because I'm not running another half this year. At least, that's the plan right now.

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    1. Congrats Caron, yes you need to keep structure in place with some new plan even if it isn't a race. After dinner can be a doozie too. Even more emotionally driven than mid afternoon.

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  8. LOVE Depeche Mode! My snacky time is worst btw school and dinner and then btw dinner and bed. My biggest challenges is that I love having dinner with my husband, but he often doesn't get home until after 7. I need to eat my dinner earlier and then share a snack while he's having dinner.

    We had an extravagant, needlessly large dinner to celebrate Colin's 40th birthday. I'm suffering from a legitimate food hangover today. Dreadful.

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    1. We can have a food hangover even after a meal that's too too large if it's too late. Eat part of dinner early and part with Colin. See how that goes.

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  9. Totally agree - the timing of a mid-PM snack is crucial :) Great post!

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    1. thanks Nic, yes you don't want to wait, postponing can be dangerous.

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  10. Love your idea of a presnactual agreement, and I couldn't help but sing along with Depeche Mode while reading this. That afternoon snacky time is probably the hardest for me as well, but I find if I include some protein and fat with my snack, I can stay pretty satiated until dinner time. Naps just don't work for me, but, if I can squeeze it in, a little light exercise also helps keep my afternoon hunger pangs at bay.

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    1. agree exercise and protein very helpful. Somehow I can't imagine you out of whack EA.

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  11. this reminds me of that finding that we eat 1.7% less healthy with every hour that passes - by 4pm is where things get ugly. Love the presnacktual agreement, i'll gladly sign, keeping it simple, 1 or 2 items is a huge help for me. I think tasting/eating while I cook is my worst "time of day" for overeating. maybe future blog? :)

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    1. just mentioned that to tiff above. Different variables a little. OK C, now we have to draw up the snack pact.

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  12. I told two people about the pre-snactual agreement. All three of us are doing it!

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    1. Oh let me know your 2 choices on your presnacktual. Spread the word.

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  13. This is what MY FRIEND needs to hear: ""What’s next?" that tired part of your brain will say. If you really want to reform your snacking habits veggies are next." Veggies are next. That's my new mantra! (Starting tomorrow, since I've already snack-binged today, sadly.) THANK YOU!

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    1. Veggies are next even after bread pudding my friend. We've all snack-binged. Let me know how tomorrow goes and when you're in withdrawal you know you can #TIDEI (tweet it don't eat it) and I'll be there to talk you down.

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  14. I have found myself lately more snacky in the hours between breakfast and lunch. I think it's bc on my new part-time work schedule I've made my mornings like my old afternoons...not to mention I have found it harder to say no to snacks while preggo. I've actually just started planning my meals/snacks again so that I'm not over-doing it too much until the end of my pregnancy! Eat when hungry (almost 100% of the time) and stop when satiated! per usual...excellent topic!

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    1. so hard when always hungry. It has to be hunger if eating in the AM, at least that's what I think.

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