Self-Discovery Through Snacking

When I lost my job, my biggest fear wasn’t that I wouldn’t get another one. I know the job searching process is generally long and arduous, but I also knew that I’m employable and in the long run, I’d be fine. I was actually afraid that I’d gain weight by sitting around all day and continuously grazing, just because.

During those five unemployed weeks, I learned something new about myself: I’m not actually a mindless snacker. I just assumed I was.

After years of working in offices, it turns out I’m actually more of a routine eater. I’d get up and eat breakfast. Eat again around noon, whether or not I was actually hungry, because that’s lunchtime. Have a snack around 3, again, regardless of actual hunger. Dinner when I got home. Maybe another snack later.

That sounds pretty much like the ideal diet plan, right?

I’m generally a good grocery shopper and an ambitious meal-prepper. I’d buy a bunch of vegetables and meat, and make quinoa salads. I’d eat variations of the same thing for lunch most days. Sometimes I wouldn’t have time to go shopping or cook, or I’d be rushing and forget my lunch. Or maybe I’d just get lazy and not do any prep. And then if I didn’t bring my own food to work… well, that’s where I’d veer off track.

Sure, I could go to the salad place on the corner. But the devil on my shoulder would pop up and be like, “More rabbit food? Yawn. You have that at home already. Doesn’t pizza sound great? Let’s go get some!”

It was like I was one of ‘90s PSAs where the kid would be dodging the people on every corner who were just dying to give him drugs, except I didn’t always have that kid’s resolve and instead of sticking anchovies in my ears, I’d eat them. On a pizza.

On my first trip to the grocery store during my unemployment, I was militant about what I bought. “No ice cream! Because then you’ll eat it all!” But after being hyper-aware of my eating habits for a few days, I realized that I might eat it all the next time I was hungry and not just because it was in the freezer.

And then thinking back to the office, I remembered how I’d try to bring snacks to keep myself away from that vending machine full of (delicious) crap. But I wouldn’t actually get the Cheez-Its unless I was snackless because come 3:00, I was in the habit of eating something and that’s what was around.

One odd side benefit of my unemployment was learning something new about myself: I’m more inclined to be an impulsive, rather than a compulsive, eater. I discovered this just in the nick of time, too. I started a new job, right in time for the pharmacy downstairs to stock all the pumpkin-shaped Reese’s. But hey, you can’t really improve anything about yourself unless you’re aware of it, right?

What are your snacking habits?
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