By Lori Skurbe, RD, MPH, CDE, Bariatric Dietitian at Sterling Surgicare
Whether it’s preparing our Sterling patients for upcoming bariatric surgery, guiding them through the weight loss phase or providing them with strategies to maintain their new lower weight, one topic always seems to come up:
“Ummm…so…what can I snack on?”
I advise patients that “snacking” is never a good idea, pure and simple.
It’s just not worth the temporary pleasure you get and certainly doesn’t contribute to losing the most weight in the shortest span of time.
Snacking grazing, nibbling or noshing–whatever you call it–usually adds up to too many extra calories which can lead to poor weight loss and often weight regain.
What can you do to avoid snacking?
- For some, we snack because we feel hungry. But many times the hunger we feel may be head hunger and not true hunger.
- “Head hunger” is when you eat out of boredom, habit, or due to emotions (stress, anger, depression etc.).
- “True hunger” or belly hunger is when your stomach is empty and you “need” to refuel your body.
It is important to learn the difference. Head hunger can hit at any time regardless of when you last ate, but belly hunger usually starts a few hours after a protein based meal.
Struggling with head hunger and snacking?
Try these tips:
· Keep all tempting foods out of the house, car and office.
· Keep well hydrated. Get in at least 48 or more ounces of calorie free, caffeine0free fluids daily. Some of us confuse thirst for hunger.
· Keep busy – boredom can be a trigger for snacking. Write down at least 10 things you can do when you are bored.
Here are some suggestions – Work in your yard, meditate, walk around the block, call or visit a friend, listen to music, brush your teeth, take a hot bath or shower, fold laundry, straighten out a closet or drawer or do something nice for yourself or someone else.
· Don’t just eat when you feel “hungry” – figure out if you are truly hungry or is it head hunger.
If it is head hunger – try some of the above tips. If you are truly hungry, have a snack, but keep your snack to one food and no more than 100 calories.
Examples of appropriate snacks are: 100 calorie packs of almonds, 100 calorie Greek yogurt, low fat string cheese or a small piece of fruit.
If you are struggling with snacking, call the Sterling Surgicare team for support at 732-217-3897. We are here to help you in any way possible!