(Let me start off by saying that if eating how I describe below (“grazing”) works for you, then by all means, keep doing it! There is no one right answer!)
I’m not exactly sure when the term became really popular, but “grazing” has made it’s way into a regular discussion about how we eat. I think it started showing up when we realized that eating 3 square meals a day wasn’t always the best option and that eating lightly and throughout the day was better for us. And up until about 6 months ago, I would have considered myself a grazer.
However, I kept running into a problem.
In an attempt to eat light and less, I actually consumed more.
In an attempt to take a more laxadazical approach to eating, it turned into an all day food-fest.
Granted, most of the food I ate still was considered “healthy”, but that doesn’t matter if you still eat more calories than you are spending!
Beautiful Animal. Beautiful Picture. But yes, horses graze!
I decided to change this and be more succinct in how I eat through the day.
Here is how I used to eat:
Snack 1: 8:30am
Snack 2: 11:am
Half of a Lunch: 1pm
Other Half of Lunch: 2:30pm
Snack 3: 4pm
Half Dinner: 5:30pm
Other Half of Dinner: 7:00pm
Snack 4: 8:30pm
My goodness! I ate like a small nursing, newborn! LOL!
Here’s why grazing didn’t work:
1.) I never walked away satisfied.
I can’t say that I ever left the kitchen feeling like, “Yes, I just fueled my body well for the next 2-3 hours”. I felt almost a little deprived each time which brought me back an hour or so later.
2.) It lead me to sloppy eating habits
Oh snap. Yes it did. At first, I was pretty good about grazing. I was careful about when I did it. But I found that once I became a stay at home mom and had access to food 24/7, WATCH OUT. I was a beast! It was very easy for me to get sloppy and start picking up food every 45 minutes to eat….even if it was just 5 goldfish crackers here and there.
3.) I had no good grasp of what I’d eaten for the day
Putting something–anything–in your mouth that many times in a day gets a little hard to tally unless you are actually writing it down. By the time the afternoon came, I had to really think through if I had gotten enough protein, fruits or veggies in.
4.) I consumed more calories
And this is the killer. In an attempt to eat lighter and less, I actually ate more because I never was satisfied. And because I was consuming more (and I should say, more of the wrong stuff), then I wasn’t hitting my goals.
Here is a normal day for me now: (give or take 30 min)
Snack (rare): 8pm
It took me trying a new method (that got me new results) to realize that the “good” thing I had been doing, wasn’t really great! I found that having a pretty strict idea of what I was eating for the day gave me the best results.
I make sure I eat ENOUGH at one sitting and there’s no guesswork. I pretty much follow the 2-3 hour rule. (There are some fitness experts who say to do every 4-6 hours!) I do listen to my body as much as I can, as there are some days when I can feel my metabolism flying and my muscles needing fuel and others days when it’s a bit more chill.
Your turn! What works for you? Are you a grazer? A 3 square meal person? Do you plan your snacks and meals, or fly by the seat of your pants? Share below!