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Giving up is rarely encouraged, but it can be a good thing with an unhealthy or time wasting behavior.  Such was my snacking at work.  So, I decided that I give up!

How Snacking At Work Consumed Me

See what I did with that heading?  It consumed me.  Get it?

All cleverness aside, I looked at a lot of things as I set out for a healthier lifestyle.  When I put together my list of things I needed to change, snacking at work was right at the top.

Snacking got me in two different ways:

  • My drawer.  I had a snack drawer.  I brought things from home to fill it up and usually kept it filled.  I had various crackers, Nutri Grain bars, candy, etc.  It had all sorts of good stuff.
  • Walking around.  I'm a walker.  I love to take little laps around the building throughout the day.  This is generally seen as pretty healthy, but I made it opposite.  If there was a candy dish, guess what I'd do on my walk?  Grab a piece of candy, of course!  It got really bad when I would often grab one for now and one for later.  For the desk drawer, of course!

I realized that my snacking was happening so often that it wasn't really a snack anymore.  Every day around 2pm or so, I'd have my hand in the drawer and was pulling out something.  This is in addition to whatever candy I wolfed down at various points of the day.  But, when I looked at my habits, I was effectively creating an additional meal. Yes, it was a small meal, but I was counting on that item to get me through the day.  I would no sooner give that up than I would consider skipping lunch.

Something had to change!

Giving Up Cold Turkey

I've made a few different changes in trying to be healthy when it comes to my eating habits.  Many of them simply involve cutting back.  For example, the main indulgence my wife and I share is a bowl of ice cream a couple of evenings per week.  I didn't want to give this up, so I merely started using a smaller bowl.  This way, I still get ice cream and the satisfaction that comes with it, but I put less of it in my body.

Could that work for snacking?

Well, I needed to be honest with myself, and the answer I came up with was a ‘No'.

I know myself.  I know that my snacking habits at work didn't just start one day.  My candy habits probably started with picking one up here and there.  My 2pm snack started off as a once in a while thing.

I knew that if I tried to cut back, meaning having a snack here and there, I would backslide.  It is inevitable.  It's just who I am.  I can't help it.

So I decided that I needed to quit cold turkey.

And' that is what I've done.  So far, this year, I have had nothing to eat outside of my meals while I'm at work.  No candy.  Not a single cracker.  Nothing.

I've never gone cold turkey before.  Not so coincidentally, I've never made it three months before.

Tips To Give Up Snacking

Here are some things I felt were helpful in my successful journey so far.

  1. Know Yourself.  As I mentioned before, I had to be brutally honest with myself.  I knew that I'm not the type that can be an occasional snacker.
  2. Plan.  I started thinking about my plans for getting rid of snacking at the end of last year.  I actually started preparing myself.  As I had my candy or snacks, I would count down the days I had left to have my 2pm snack.
  3. Visualize.  While I was having my 2pm snack toward the end of the year, I started thinking about 2pm coming and going snack free.  Mental preparation was key.
  4. Cut Temptation.  I had to clean out my snack drawer and make sure it stayed empty.  Since I started planning and visualizing as noted above, I was able to draw down my stockpile.  Coming in clean to the new year was critical.
  5. Accept That It Will Be Hard. While I was able to get rid of my drawer full of snacks, I couldn't get rid of the candy dishes.  I knew that wouldn't be easy.  But I had to tell myself to just keep walking.
  6. Know That You Can Make It.  The first few days, when instinct kicked in and I wanted my snack, I actually felt hungry.  While I may have been hungry at times, I think it was also my brain kicking into gear, looking for that quick satisfaction.  I had to chant in my head “It's OK to be hungry.”  And it was.  I kept chanting this in my head until one day, I didn't have to any more.
  7. Track progress.  Count down the number of days you're successful.  If it helps you lose weight, track that too.  Whatever it takes.

Staying Motivated

Right now, I've been steadily losing weight.  I've lost around 7.5 pounds so far.  I have another 6 or so to go to hit my target weight.  I fear that as I get closer to my target weight, or if I actually hit it, that will drop my motivation.

That will be a new challenge.  I'm not sure exactly yet how I'll face it.  But, one day at a time, right?

Readers, have you given anything up lately?  How big of a habit did you give up?  How hard was it?  Let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions or stories to share.  Thanks for reading!