For the first year as a private duty caregiver – in an Orthodox Jewish home – my sense of nutritional control completely disappeared.
I was a vegan when I started – no dairy, eggs, or anything made with dairy or eggs, which included nearly everything my new client offered me. I ate whatever she offered even though I’d eaten well at home. After all, what else did I have to do all night long? Homemade cookies, cakes she boasted that only contained half the sugar the recipe called for, challah (Ugh! So good!), and the freedom to raid her pantry for peanut butter and crackers, my favorite snack. How could I keep saying no thank you to her hospitality?
Now I could rationalize my reasons for abandoning my vegan nutrition and snacking on the wrong foods, all night long, that I was just being polite by accepting her hospitality, or that the little bit I was eating wouldn’t hurt.
But, nope neither of those reasons wash. So these are the reasons I came up with to explain why I snacked all night long at work.
I Need WATER! WATER! WATER!
Did you know that you might actually be thirsty when you’re reaching for something to eat? Well, it rang true for me. I started reaching for my water bottle every time I felt the urge to snack, and I didn’t just sip. I drank at least a full 8oz. and focused my mind on how full I felt when I drank the water. It worked. 🙂
For 8 hours straight, I’m sitting – unless I’m up for the 15 minutes it takes to take care of my sleeping patient every two hours – I’m sitting with no television, sick of Facebook scrolling, and semi-sleepy, a red flag that my tummy will be growling soon. So, I got my idle hands moving. Reading wasn’t enough to take my mind off of food. As a matter of fact, a lot of times, I found myself reading about food. Drawing was better. I found apps on Google Play that showed how to do step-by-step drawing, I bought an adult coloring book, I crocheted more, and I started writing while at work.
I Was “Distracted while Eating”
Now this one took a while for me to figure out. At first I thought that I was not eating enough at home before I came to work. But I ate whole meals before I left home – while watching Sanford and Son or Golden Girls. I didn’t focus on what I was eating, how I was feeling at the time, or how I felt after I finished eating. I also spent my eating time stressing about what uniform I was wearing and leaving on time to catch the bus.
Crunching passes the time and helps me to think when I’m writing, reading or watching a movie.So this could also go under Distracted Eating. It doesn’t matter what I’m crunching: celery, carrots or crackers and cookies. Any crunch will do on those long nights of caregiving.
I Made Snacking a Nightly Habit
It didn’t matter how much food I ate at home, after 12 a.m. was snack time for me. I used to bring a lunch bag with whatever I wanted to snack on, or I’d snack on what my client’s wife offered me. As soon as my patient was settled and the clock struck 12, my mind automatically decided it was time to eat. I was eating at home, coming to work eating, and then eating again when I went back home – sitting at work, on the bus ride home, and at home with barely any exercise time. Now I have a new rule: No eating after I leave home.
Now that I have corrected all of these issues – particularly my rule not to eat after I leave home, my nights at work are so much better because I don’t feel like my behind is continually spreading from eating all the time – AND I’m being productive. Even when I was just noshing on fruits and veggies at night, I still felt like I was eating too much, and I’d get sleepy from eating regardless of the source.
So take heed! Does any of this sound like you? Why do you snack?