Nov 10, 2012

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Lately, I have noticed that my clients who have trouble losing weight (or lose weight very slowly) often engage in grazing throughout the day. Grazing is a fatal flaw that you must protect against.

Grazing is a defeatist behavior that a lot of overweight and obese people sometimes engage in. It is defined as the consistent, day-long consumption of low value food items (junk foods or foods high in carbs). Research suggests that those people who graze often become overweight. They also have a set of pre-existing traits such as binge eating and resistance to behavioral modification.

The best way to address the grazing habit is to eat three meals per day and to snack in between only if necessary (when truthfully hungry).

Binge eating and grazing is a condition characterized by a person’s need to eat compulsively. In some people, this behavior is the result of emotional difficulties. In others, it’s a bad habit developed because food is always available.

People who are binge eaters or grazers must understand that strict diets and weight loss medication is not a cure. Medication and keeping track of your calories does result in dramatic weight loss, but it is not a remedy for behavioral misconduct. The only remedy for behavioral problems is to change behavior.

If a person has a binge eating disorder and finds herself struggling to lose weight, professional (seeing a doctor on a regular basis) and specialized interventions are necessary. Such interventions are no more than asking for the help that is needed.

Should you find yourself in the habit of grazing, the obvious resolution is to break the habit. This is no doubt easier said than done, but consider all that you have achieved to this point. A bunch of you have lost 30 to 50 pounds!

The first step is to ask for help. Use your support network and all those who are currently among your inner circle.

Monitor yourself closely by using your food diary and all the other tools we discuss during your office visit. Record all that you eat or drink. It is possible you are not getting enough protein or that your meal portions are too small. Also, seek out patterns and record the habits and triggers that lead to grazing.

Using your support network, address your grazing behavior every time you come into the office.

Learn the different types of hunger, specifically head hunger and physical hunger. Continue to maintain and execute your food plan while making necessary adjustments along the way. This is called “problem solving” and many of you have heard me mention this during your visit.

In addition, cut out all junk food. Sit when you eat, and mindfully enjoy the meal. Eat meals that contain protein and fiber in the form of fresh and lightly cooked or raw fruits and vegetables because they make you feel full. Drink plenty of water over the course of the day except at meal time.

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