10.05.2014

Self-Discipline and Snacking



Our self-discipline series continues as we discuss snacking this week. This was the most requested subject from readers... it seems the temptation of snacking is strong and people are looking for techniques to boost their discipline in this area. We are really going back to our roots as the first chapter in Lessons from Madame Chic is called, "Snacking Is So Not Chic". You know by now that famille Chic did not snack and that my immersion into the non-snacking world was bumpy at best. I am a big snacker and I still have to keep myself in check. This is where self-discipline comes in.

In this week's video we discuss a few techniques, many of which are touched upon in At Home With Madame Chic (which comes out Tuesday!). After the book comes out and you've had a chance to read it we will delve into these topics further.

Some of the key ideas in the video:

Get organized with meal planning. We are more likely to snack if we have no idea what's for dinner tonight. But if you've put a lot of thought and work (going to the store, planning, cooking, preparing) you are not going to want to ruin your appetite with snacks. (This concept will be discussed in much greater detail after the book release).

Stress snacking. Stress snacking was never an issue for me until becoming a parent. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with my work load and with how little time I have to myself that I will reach for snacks, even though I'm not hungry. Are you snacking to make yourself feel better or to anesthetize a big emotion you're having? If this is the case, it's good to pause and be aware of this.

Avoid buying snacks that are your "Achilles Heel". We all have that certain snack that we can't resist no matter how hard we try (for me, it's kettle corn). If you know you have a problem with barbecue potato chips, for example, don't buy them. If they are not in the house, you can't eat them.

Employ good old-fashioned self-discipline. I'm not saying you shouldn't snack (in fact, many people need to for health reasons), but if you know you have a snacking problem test your will and employ good old-fashioned self-discipline. You can have a snack or two throughout the day but when your body tells you you want another one (and you don't need it and know that third bowl of ice cream is not good for you) test yourself. Feel the burn. Feel the accomplishment of not succumbing to your weakness. This takes practice and you've got to go easy on yourself.

There are only a few of the suggestions mentioned in the video. This week, I'd love to know what your struggle or success is with snacking. What is your snack story? If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or check out my channel www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Sit down with your family and come up with a dinner plan for the following week. Let each family member chose one thing on the weekly menu and they can help prepare it! Coming together for consistent, healthful meals will diminish your desire to snack on junk foods.

Comment of the Week
The comment of the week comes from Ashley Diaz on the No More Booty Songs + Moms' Night Out post, who writes:
Hi Jennifer, this morning I attended a teacher's meeting (I am a piano teacher:) and one of the teachers said something that really stuck with me- We need to be influencing our children in such a way that when they are older, they will pay for tickets to go see great artists perform. There is culture and class out there, and we need to support it! Often, symphonies present children series which are specially programmed to introduce children to the lifelong pleasures of music.

News
At Home With Madame Chic comes out on Tuesday! Learn more about the book on my author website.

My TEDx Talk on the Ten-Item Wardrobe is finally available to view. Check it out and share it with your friends (especially the ones who need to clean out their closets :) ).

Check out my interview with Metro US on the upcoming At Home With Madame Chic.

Hear my interview on The Simple Sophisticate Podcast from The Simply Luxurious Life blog. I close off Shannon's wonderful show with a great interview on living well at home.

The Madame Chic books are still receiving wonderful reviews. This week check out Katy Confidential, Pretty Page Turner and Books and Chocolate.

Upcoming Events
Southern California readers: come meet me at one of my upcoming book signings:
October 8, 2014 Pages A Bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA presentation, Q&A + book signing 7pm
October 28, 2014 DIESEL bookstore, Brentwood, CA Presentation, Q&A + book signing 7pm
November 2, 2014 Laguna Beach Books Presentation, Q&A + signing 4pm
(more venues and dates to be announced)

See you Tuesday on the blog for the launch of At Home With Madame Chic!

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18 comments:

Kat said...

Read your second book and I'm really enjoying it!

Kat said...

Lol that should have said. I'm reading your second book and really enjoying it!

Maureen said...

This is a great topic; I'm sure just about everyone can relate.

I've noticed that I'm most prone to snacking right when I get home from work. When I have the urge to snack at that time, I either walk right out of the kitchen and take my dog for a walk, or I just get dinner started. If I do have a snack, I will at least put whatever it is on an actual dish and sit down at the table to eat it rather than stand in the kitchen noshing out of a bag.

Jennifer, I'd like you to know that it was your "Snacking is so not Chic" chapter that first motivated me to recognize why and when I snack and begin to change my habits. Thank you!

I pre-ordered At Home with Madame Chic yesterday, and I cannot wait for it to come in the mail.

Maryjane said...

Excellent topic Jennifer....thank you for raising it, and the whole idea of self-discipline and a happy life. There are just So many areas of my life where a little touch of discipline would enhance my experience. Snacking and poor eating choices are #1. Getting out of bed and getting ready for the day promptly is #2 (my children are grown! I just ordered your second book and look forward to it winging it's way across the Pacific to Melbourne. Then I really will spend a day on the sofa....reading it! :)

mimimanderly said...

I've been planning meals on a weekly basis for years now, and that helps a lot. I keep a calendar on my kitchen wall just for meal planning, and once a week I go through my recipes and pick what I'm going to make. On days when I have more time to cook something special, I'll make something that may take longer to cook. On busy days, I'll make something that's quick or take something from the stockpile in the freezer. (I'm a great believer in making large quantities of some dishes, like chili or stew, and freezing some for hectic days.) I find that when one eats adequately at mealtimes, one isn't hungry for snacks.

I used to snack at night, in front of the computer. Since my husband works nights, and our big meal of the day is lunch, I used to just open up a can of soup and that would be my dinner. Then I thought, why should I eat something that I wouldn't dream of serving to someone else? So now I sometimes make a vat of soup and freeze portions for my dinner. Or I might make an omelet. It's something light, because I've already had my big meal of the day, but it is nourishing and filling. AND I sit at a table with a placemat, place setting, and a cloth napkin to eat my supper. Since I've been doing this, I no longer get the munchies at night.

Also, I simply don't buy processed snack foods. If anyone does want a snack, I have more healthful alternatives like fruit, hard cheeses, and unsalted mixed nuts.

BeccaA said...

I have a few techniques for not snacking:
1. I recently switched to a paleo diet and I find that having a low carb diet means I don't get the blood sugar lows and resulting hunger that lead to snacking.
2. I remind myself that the first bite of a treat is the most satisfying and each subsequent bite is less satisfying. I think about how once I am done eating it is the memory of the treat that I am left with, so if I stop with one bite I will still have the pleasurable memory. This helps me eat less when I do snack.
3. When I shop I only buy healthy treats--fruit and nuts not cookies or crackers.

Denise said...

This is a great series of discussions. It's so easy to lose focus and stray. I used to be more of an emotional eater when stressed or frustrated, but once I recognized this, I've been able to at least not let these get me down. I've also found it easier to wait now that I focus on preparing high quality, good tasting food. Eating at home and waiting for the meal is much easier when there is something to look forward to enjoy.

Yesterday I was feeling like munching and stopped to figure out what to do instead so I decided to start prepping for dinner a little early. Just the act of keeping my hands busy and having to focus to not make mistakes helped me get through the urge.

Can't wait to start reading your book over vacation next week.

Keep up the good work.

Rose said...

Once you start meal planning you start saving time and money, food waste goes down and nutrition levels go up. It took me a few decades to learn this but I have the message now. I do have a non-sugary snack about 11am with my morning coffee because, even though I eat breakfast, I find that I'm flagging without it. I don't snack the rest of the day as it simply makes me feel too full and sluggish.

Coco Mademoiselle said...

I am from Germany and I was an aupair girl in Paris and I noticed that many mums took a snack (le goƻter) with their children every day at 4:30 pm. This helped the mums not to be ravenous at or before dinner time. Moreover, by sitting down with their children and having a piece of chocolate or a cookie and some fruit, the mums had the chance to talk with their children about how their day at school or kindergarten has been. I think it is a really nice tradition, plus, if you know that you have your snack at 4:30 pm you will be less likely to snack before or after that.

Simply Me said...

Sometimes our energy levels do dip mid-morning or mid-afternoon so a snack and a sit-down break is often needed and welcome. So, in the spirit of Madame Chic, why not elevate "snacking" to a more chic and formal affair? Each week, shop for some chic snacks for the week ahead. Have fun thinking up snack ideas that are not only healthy but can also be enjoyed in a more formal, mindful and even decadent way. For example, imagine enjoying a 0%Fat Yogurt (no added sugar) taken out of the plastic pot and served in a beautiful cut glass bowl with some chopped fresh fruit or nuts on top or a pot of Earl Grey tea, served in a china cup and saucer, with a small slice of good quality fruit cake or a square of decadent dark chocolate. Or maybe a small slither of good quality tangy cheese, served with crackers, a sliced apple and a champagne flute filled with sparkling water. As you can probably tell, I do "snack", but I have recognised my need for a break and small refreshment in the afternoon and have formalised it into proper sit down affair which I look forward to (like Madame Chic's Le Gouter?)and I try to do it in a more fun, healthy, stylish and mindful way.
It needn't cost a lot, and I don't do it every day, but on the occassions when I do feel I need a snack and a break, I have a small selection of healthy and chic options to choose from.

simplyeliza said...

Oh dear. I'm reading this with a handful of kettle corn as we speak!

That's unusual though. My snacking habits really changed when I realized I was most often tempted to snack just after getting home from work. Once I recognized it was part of a transition ritual rather than true hunger, I switched tactics. Now I get home, go through the mail, change clothes, and then sit down with a cup of one of my favorite teas. It's relaxing, satisfies my need for an indulgent treat, and contains few to no calories.

:)

Gracie said...

Sevral years ago I developed a problem with my pancrease and had to take one pill 10 minutes before eating. Wow was that a wake up call. First I thought no biggie. Then my rude awakening was my bad unaware habit of eating while preparing meals, eating first thing I stepped foot in the kitchen, and my "drive by" eating (you know, passing by food sitting out and grabbing as you go by). My perscription instructions allowed only 3 pills a day. It was time for life changing habits. "You better make this count" became my new mantra. Funny thing, it made me put myself and my needs first for a change.

M.Lane said...

This is the first thing you have ever said I just cant do. I am somewhat devoted to snacking [as you would quickly see if you spy me in the bar at La Dolce Vita] but only with champagne, cheese and/or caviar.

I can't stop!!!

Great post all the same....

ML

Gracie said...

Oops I forgot to write what I do to suceed.
1. Only fruit left out on counter, it takes too much energy ignoring the other stuff screaming my name.
2. Hide food. Yes, I can make a chocolate bar lasts for weeks if I know it will still be there tomorrow. Raised 4 teenagers at once, had to hide food to survive.
3. Freeze goodies, won't have to worry about eating before it goes bad.
4. I sit real close to my husband when he's having dessert. I just want to taste it, see what its like, not have a whole serving.
5. Embrace your eating quirks. I've been dubbed the edger because I like the edges of cookies and cake. My husband likes the center, I'm pretty sure he does. Well he cuts off the edges of cookies and puts them in a baggie for me anyway.
My mom had ALS and had to have a feeding tube installed never to eat food again. It had a big impact on me about me. Enjoy but don't abuse eating. I wonder, what was the last food she tasted.

The Hipsterette said...

Eating, or snacking, too much is an emotional issue, and self-discipline is the answer! Look forward to your future posts.

The Hipsterette

Unknown said...

Interesting topic, Jennifer, thanks! I try to encourage my children to snack healthily - although I don't call it that - or they wouldn't do it! They can eat whenever they're hungry but not an hour before meals and teeth are cleaned (including mine!) at 8pm. I put a small pot of a snack in their lunch boxes and set the table for a little tea when they come home, which i have too. After that they can get what they want whenever they want within the rules. There's no junk food in the house. I made them join me in a 'trash-it' hour and we talked about why trans fats and sugar are so bad for you. Like I say, I don't preach to them about the 'good stuff', it's just there: berries are left of the table, they help me make pesto and bean dips like hummus (with veg sticks), yoghurt and fruit compote (a little maple syrup), goats cheese and nut butter on homemade crackers, peanut butter (palm oil free) with apple slices etc. At tea time, there's a small piece of cake. Everyone's happy Amandax

Jo K said...

Hi Jennifer
Your new blouse is really pretty and the colours bring out your eyes - great choice.

On the subject of snacking, I think the difference is between an uncontrolled snack and a controlled one. What I mean is that a slice of cake and a cup of tea at 4.30 is a reasonable snack (to me) whereas half the cake eaten over the afternoon or a family sized bag of crisps munched over an evening is a different kind of eating altogether.

Also, some women (maybe some men too) actually undereat at mealtimes, I think, and deprive themselves which leads to cravings later - some of which aregenuine hunger. If you are within your BMI range, I think it is wise to try to let go of all the 'diet' ideas and eat full, satisfying meals.

sinistrainksteyne said...

A third bowl of icecream?! I feel ill.
I usually have a handful of dried fruit and nuts mid-afternoon, and that seems to solve the snacking urge. And there's always fruit in the fridge.
I definitely don't want to be spoiling my appetite today: roast chicken with homemade stuffing, roast potatoes, gravy...

 
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