“Eat Me,” said the Snack Bag

“I’m small, I’m portion controlled. Only 70 calories and you can enjoy my wonderful sweet and salty tastes,” said the Skinny Pop Kettle Corn Single Serve bag in the drawer. The one with the other Skinny Pop and a few Pirate’s Booty bags. They all came together in a sack from the grocery store snack aisle which had no business leaving the store let alone get into the house.

Why, you ask? Because even though they are nicely portioned out, there just isn’t enough stuff inside to be satisfying. So I end up eating two and then three trying to get enough. They are empty calories that I can afford to squish into my day if I’m careful, but then there are other foods that are so much more satisfying and sustaining that I have to cut out if I am to stay within my daily calorie target.

Or I could just keep eating my planned healthy little clementines and baby carrots or even real food for dinner AS WELL AS the empty snacky foods. Seems I’ve been doing a good bit of that lately and it doesn’t make me happy. So why do I do it? There’s the question.

I don’t particularly feel deprived. I’ve been eating carefully for almost a full year and know that I can eat anything I want as long as I can figure out how to account for it within my limits. Mostly that’s calories – I’m eating 1540/day now, but aiming for less – but also a minimum of 70 gms protein, under 2300 gms sodium, and 35 gms or more of fiber, plus 80-125 oz of water.

So I spend time every morning planning out what I’m going to eat that day, all three meals and snacks. It usually reminds me that I have food scheduled and planned that I know is actually in the house and available. I arrange for my beloved slider basket from the club at least once a week because I love it. But I also read labels as I shop and even as I look at restaurant menus for possible takeout. Foods I used to eat regularly I just can’t justify eating anymore because of the calories. Oh, I can eat them, but to make it work, I need to not eat much else. I love Pad Thai but hey, I love not starving the rest of the day more.

Back to snack bags. The fact is, I don’t really like eating baby carrots and healthy things. I know I should, but I don’t. I still have the acquired love of salty things even more than sweets. I can pass on ice cream but crave tortilla chips – but know that I just can’t stop myself with a measured amount. So the snack bags of popcorn are replacements for the chips but inadequate ones, so I keep eating more.

Next project: find snack sizes of tortilla chips. Maybe that will be satisfying enough that I can stop with the measured, portioned amount. If not, I’m back to carrots even though I don’t want to be.

Trying to get a grip

Emma and Ellie on the porch

I threw out food yesterday. The important part was the almost-full box of individual bags of Skinny Pop Popcorn recently purchased at Sam’s. I could have found someone to give them to, but it seemed important and symbolic to put them in the trash.

There was nothing wrong with the popcorn. I knew how to count it and enjoyed a little bit of “normal”. Except I forgot that my normal snacking was abnormal, and the popcorn led to other things like cookies or eating an English muffin for dinner because I loved the jam. Which is now completely eaten up – it was wonderful! – but I’m not buying more of it.

I looked back at my Noom food logs to see what I ate back in the beginning when I was starting and extra careful and motivated. Popcorn wasn’t anywhere in there, and I didn’t miss it. I ate lots of green grapes (which I don’t even like but they were satisfying) and individual boxes of roasted red pepper soup for snacks, and learned that if I plan and balance my meals, I didn’t really eat snacks – and didn’t miss them.

It’s also time to cook. Back in January I cooked and stocked up the freezer, partly in anticipation of pandemic shortages but also to make sure I had plenty of easy to grab food that fit Noom. I’ve actually eaten most of the prepared things and need to restock with chili, stew, meat sauce, chicken teriyaki, and soup. I can make another batch of gazpacho to eat or drink as a snack or before a meal to add veggies

So today I’m making chili in the crockpot and inventorying the freezer and pantry before making a shopping list. I need to see what I have and work out a plan for cooking as well as organizing the freezer so I can find what goes in there instead of just shoving them in the front.

Also today I’m off to the appliance store to buy a new microwave since mine conked out yesterday. It’s probably at least 12 years old so I shouldn’t be surprised, but since I use it all the time, this requires rethinking what I eat until the new one can be installed. Probably salad – sigh, I’m sick of salad – but you eat that cold.

But first, thank you all for the hugs and comments and kind words to my hard day post. They helped more than you know.