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Grazing all day long

Are you a grazer?

Do you find yourself constantly grazing your way through the day?

Just like there isn’t a one-size-fits all when it comes to what foods people can tolerate and breakdown well, so too many people differ in their eating routine. Some people find that intermittent fasting works for them, while others get hangry and need to eat every 2-3 hours.

Whatever your eating pattern is, there IS one common factor that can really put a damper on your ability to regulate your weight…. Grazing!!

Snacking and picking on food every few minutes tampers with your ability to recognize when you hungry and as well as your ability to sense when you are full- this often leads to us constantly filling our stomach with food and can result in over-eating. It is not uncommon for people to snack on tempting foods that they are surrounded by- even when they are not hungry at all. 

Many people whose weight is affected by their constant snacking ( especially on unhealthy snacks), do so out of pure temptation, boredom or even emotion. The constant grazing is usually followed by an increase in hunger and low energy levels. 


The Mediterranean Eating Timeline 

In my recent trip to Greece, I came to learn how the Mediterranean’s eat and how it’s not only the types of food that they eating and their lifestyles that promotes their longevity, weight regulation and long-term health, but it also HOW they eat. 

The Mediterranean’s dietary approach is filled with extra virgin olive oil, lean animal-based proteins, loads od fresh fish (where available), a high amount of fresh vegetables and greens, fresh herbs and spices, fruit for dessert, a tiny glass of alcohol with each meal (less than 125ml) and nuts or seeds as a snack when needed. 

Their secret is not just in these wholesome food choices, but also in the times at which they eat. Traditionally , many Mediterranean’s dont have an early breakfast, but rather a meal that resembles a brunch or an ealry lunch (sounds like a shorter intermittent fast, and makes sense when you look at the time they allow their bodies to rest and digest between dinner and breakfast). They then tend to have their dinner much later on. The main thing is….. they dont graze and constantly snack between their meals, and if they are hungry they would usually choose raw nuts or a fresh fruit.


Snacking and Energy Balance 

Although the above eating routine may not suite every body type, the key message is the ‘no grazing’ approach. 

There is evidence that suggests that frequent meals may prevent weight gain, however it is also important to consider what snacking does to energy balance. The energy content of your ‘random daily grazing’ is often never accounted for or compensated for at the next meal, as this wasn’t part of your eating routine and often its done without even thinking. 

Biologically, the snack-induced insulin secretion can suppress the late increase in your free fatty acids in your plasma, which may contributed to the inhibition of satiety.

Statistics show that an increase in total daily energy intake and energy dense snacks among young adults, can be contributing to the obesity epidemic. 

Often, I find, even you are not following a strict eating regime, once the constant picking grazing between your meals ( or even scheduled nourishing snacks) has stopped, your weight starts to self-regulate.


Things to Ponder 

Food combinations are always key to keeping your satiety levels where they should be. If you had a meal that wasnt well balanced, your need to snack and graze between that meal will probably be higher. Ideally you should always try and include a protein or a healthy fat in your meals and snacks to help stabilize your blood sugar

Sadly, often the ‘diet restrictive lifestyle’ results in an increased obsession with food. The more you think about food, the more you think about food. I find this happens to so many of my patients-including myself!! The more you obsess or restrict or over-plan, the more the topic of food occupies space in your brain and before you know it you are ALWAYS hungry

Maybe it is a bored or tired hunger and not real physiological hunger- it’s the end of the year afterall and I hear ya!!

Yes, everyone is different, with some needing 2-3 meals a day and others 6- this is where personalization takes place. However, the constant grazing between set meal and snack times is not doing you any good.

The trick.

Before you try to eat according to your hunger intuition- which initially might be very challenging if you haven’t been eating this way before – try set some time guidelines as to when your meals and snacks will be. Obviously, this isn’t set in stone as life happens, but brining about some sort of routine will stand you in good stead.

Then… you guessed it. Stop worrying and faffing over food. Between meals and snacks the kitchen is CLOSED for business

So go on, enjoy your holiday and have a great balance of nourishing food and fun food. Just to rememebr one thing…. the kitchen is closed for business for any in between hours or after hours. Let’s see how that works for you.

Nourish yourself to the sunrise.

Written with love ,
Sunrise by HM

Nourished yet? Comment on what I should write about next? 

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