Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I'm Munching On

Lately, I've been reading a book on intuitive eating by E. Tribole and E. Resch. While I'm still skeptical about their overall program, there have been a few points in the book when I felt as though they could have been writing about me.

Tribole and Resch describe a whole slew of different "eating styles," each with their own unique eating patterns and difficulties. I recognized myself in the "refuse-not unconscious eater." As they describe, a lot of the times I'm not fully aware about what I am eating, how much I am eating, or my hunger level. I often eat when I'm not hungry and lots of times I eat absentmindedly. If there is food, I eat it. And I will eat it until its gone.

According to Tribole and Resch, this is problematic (and I agree!). Instead, they advocate being mindful of hunger levels, food cravings, what it feels like to eat, and hunger level throughout the meal.

They advocate something so simple--eat when you are hungry and don't eat when you are not hungry. Unfortunately, this is incredibly difficult for me. But, I can see how being more mindful of my eating and hunger would make it easier. 

In fact, since I've been reading this book I am astonished to see just how often I eat while paying attention to something else. I eat breakfast while blogging. I eat lunch while working or while I'm in class and snacks might be in front of the tv or while I'm working/in class as well.  Lastly, at least a few nights a week I eat dinner in front of the tv or while working. In fact, just last night I realized I was eating dessert while completely engrossed in a novel. By the time I noticed what was going on I was more than half way through and I hadn't even been paying attention enough to enjoy it. 

So, instead of just absentmindedly eating all day (which often happens when I am working from home like yesterday), I challenged myself to take a picture of everything I ate. I hoped that this would not only serve as documentation of what I'm eating, but also help me be more mindful about what I eat.
So, without further adieu here is my food intake for Tuesday May 17th.

 coffee with almond milk at 7 AM

A mixture of  cheerios and some other kind of cereal at 8. Don't make fun of me, but I eat my cereal with water. I know it sounds weird, but I love it. 

I ate lunch around 12:30. I started getting hungry by 11:40 probably, but I was so engrossed with my work that I didn't want to stop. When I did eat, I had some leftover strawberry, banana, almond milk smoothie, four veggie corndogs by morning star (yummy), and about a cup of leftover cashew chicken.

Handful of cereal to much on around 3 in the afternoon. 

An apple at 4 PM

I ate dinner around 6:30. Neill had band practice so I ate alone. I made a salad with shrimp and tomatoes. I sprinkled some non-fat mozz cheese on there too. On the side, you can see my Annie's Goddess Dressing (so good).  I like to dip my fork in the dressing and then pick up my salad instead of mixing it all together. 

After dinner I wasn't really satisfied. I was full, but still felt like eating something. So, I had a yogurt that satisfied my sweet tooth. 

Late night snack around 10 PM. Nothing beats toast and butter :)

I hate one of these right after my toast. 

Taking pictures of everything I ate was certainly an interesting experience! Instead of just eating something right away, I actually found myself questioning whether or not I really wanted it and I think it kept me from eating out of boredom. For example, if I wasn't taking pictures I think I would have had a few more of those pieces of bread with butter. Not because I was hungry, but just because.

So what do you think? Do you ever eat absentmindedly? What does a normal day of eating look like for you? What do you think of my day? What has your experience with trying to change eating habits been like? 




  1. I eat absentmindedly all the time. This is a great way to minitor your food intake! If you hold yourself accountable that's when you start really noticing what's going in your mouth. It's the being mindful--all day long--that's the hardest for sure!

  2. I'm an at work absentminded eater. If I have a bag of candy, crackers, cookies, or anything, I will eat the entire thing without realizing. So I don't keep snacks in the office anymore for that reason.

  3. I'm definitely an absentminded eater!

  4. I absolutely do! And then I start wondering what I ate all day...great idea!!

  5. I'm a boredom eater. If I'm busy, I usually only eat when I'm hungry. But, I think that this may help me slow down and start thinking about what I'm eating again. Good idea!

  6. I know exactly what you mean about being absent minded when you eat! I can eat a bag of chips in no time and not bat an eye.

    It looks like you did great with taking photos of what you ate. :D

  7. I am a constant snacker. yes, I know this isn't good.

    eww. cereal with water?! Crazy :) I like to eat my cereal dry.

  8. whenever I worked on something serious (school-related, work-related), I had to "bribe" myself by constantly eating.

    Sooner or later, I realized that I didn't actually care about eating, I just wanted to taste something in my mouth. So I switched to gum/unsweetened tea and it does the trick perfectly!

    I think this photo project is really cool! I also eat cereal with water... milk & me don't get along too well.

  9. I snack constantly throughout the day. And, when I'm at work, it's so hard to find healthy things to eat like fruits and veggies so I always go for the chips!

  10. In February I did Hypnosis for Weight Loss in February and the game changed a bit for me. Now, I am very aware of what I am eating. And with the dietitian I am working with, I am also hyper-aware of when I am eating.

    That said, there are times when I am aware I shouldn't, and I eat it instead. So my willpower isn't all it cracked up to be, I guess.

  11. I know a really big thing was that I needed to stop eating things at work. So I bring my lunch and my snacks and with the exception of the rare treat, that's it, you know? Because usually I have a lovely dinner planned out that I want to enjoy, guilt-free.

    Since I think this book sounds fascinating and now I want to source it as well, I figure I should swap a recommendation for a recommendation...I highly recommend reading The Skinny by Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson. It's like my healthy living bible.

  12. This is such a great idea! I always try to document my eating habits by typing them in to my cell phone, but I always forget, or start eating things that I don't even notice I'm eating! Abscentminded eating, I am so guilty of that. Great + informative post!!

  13. I find that when I am craving lots of sugary stuff it's really because my diet is missing some fat.

    Yesterday I ate:

    2 cranberry scones for lunch
    1 apple
    1 yo-yo cookie
    and an indian tofu curry (clearly not authentic) with rice.

  14. I definitely need to be better with mindful eating. I tend to eat just because, most of the time. Not hungry, just bored or lonely or sad or, whatever. Also, not weird at all that you eat cereal with water. I HATE milk and did the same when I was little.

  15. I am working on not eating absentmindedly as well...avoiding snacking at my desk in the mid-morning or early afternoon seems to be the hardest part. Since I'm usually the one in the office who buys snacks, I try to buy things that I'm not very interested in but I know others will eat :)


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Every comment brings a smile to my face!