A client, I’ll call Keri, reported her ongoing frustration with her near daily snacking habit of walking right into the kitchen after work, shoes, coat, and purse still in tow.
Pulling cupboard doors open, she’d grab a bag of organic tortilla chips, a bag of trail mix, and take a half eaten container of salsa out of the fridge.
Standing at the counter sorting through bills and sifting through random recipes she’d laid out earlier, she dug into her chosen snacks and ate…a lot. (AKA, not just a few chips and a handful of trail mix)
She described it as having “a whole dinner before dinner.”
By the time her “first dinner” and second dinner were over she felt tired, really full, but relaxed.
Still, this was frustrating to her and she tried hard to omit the snacking, but couldn’t.
Was Keri in need of better rituals shifting from work-life to home-life? More mindfulness practices around her snacking habit? Was something going on emotionally?
In this case: No
I took a look at Keri’s regular eating choices and here’s what I found almost immediately:
She was under-eating during the day.
Over-eating in the late afternoon and evening can simply point to not eating enough earlier.
I know it seems insultingly simple.
But many people, like Keri, still carry confusion on how to eat to regulate appetite and maintain a healthy body weight. Some idealize ascetic or constrained ways of eating that turn out to not work well for them. Others just don’t pay much attention to their eating and appetite in general.
Whatever the case, the clues often show up in the eating habits they like the least.
So if you’d like to know if you’re under-eating during the day, a voracious appetite is one clue to start with.
There are many interesting eating styles around, but remember, the most supportive eating plans and styles should reduce reactive eating habits, not increase them.
Something to chew on for a while…