I enjoyed having large, nutritionally packed meals

Healthy snacking includes natural foods and protein…

I am sincerely bad at snacking.

In fact…I suck at it!

Who knew this was even a possibility?! Let me explain.

I’d be at the beach with friends, still digesting my over-sized breakfast and counting the minutes until it was an appropriate time to devour my lunch, all while watching friends reach for small handfuls of trail mix or popcorn and feeling envious because I couldn’t do the same.

Why is this, you may ask? Because of my oldest friend who challenges me daily: Disordered Eating.

After years of struggling with more serious eating disorders that involved meal restriction, over-exercising, and -ahem- removal of guilty indulgences, I have healed and come a long way. Still, I fall victim of having an unhealthy relationship with food.

And, my other little evil friend, Comparison, led me to believe everything I was doing was wrong. I enjoyed having large, nutritionally packed meals, whereas my friends had the ability to skip meals and live on snacks throughout the day.

That’s the funny thing about comparison – you may feel totally fine with your decisions until someone points out they are different from their own.

For example, I feel totally fine with putting half of an avocado on my salad because it’s a healthy fat that will keep me full between meals, until someone gawks over the amount of calories and fat I am adding to a simple salad (good thing I didn’t mention the sunflower seeds, chicken thighs and generous drizzle of olive oil!).

Avocado is a natural source of the “good fats”…

This comparison thing took something from me: my ability to trust my judgement and know my own body’s needs. Comparison made me question my intuition based on someone else’s food choices. When I tried to change what I already knew worked for me in an effort to be more like my friends, it didn’t work out so well.

Instead of loading up meals with proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats, I tried downsizing with the addition of snacks. I wanted to be a part of the cool kid’s snacking club. I wanted to keep the avocado off of my salad knowing that I’d be able to reach for some almonds later. I wanted to loosen the grip my disordered eating had on me – the biggest challenge being strict meal times – and pack some snacks if we were running errands during “lunch time” or knowing we would be having a “late dinner”.

But this plan backfired, and lead me down a road that was much closer to eating disordered rather than disordered eating.

I felt deprived and hungry after each small meal. When I allowed myself a snack, I never felt satisfied. I also found it hard to stop snacking once I started, likely because my body was searching for the calories it missed at breakfast with that single 200 calorie protein bar.

Knowing your own health truths will allow you to make better food choices…

One handful of almonds led to another 3 or 4. When I acknowledged my true hunger, I’d add a banana to the snacking mix. But that still didn’t do the trick. I’d find myself rummaging through jars of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and handfuls of my daughters’ cereal to try and rid this hunger. I’d justify this wave of binge eating by telling myself my choices were healthy – even though nothing in great quantity is good for you! But hey, I rationalized, it was better than those who binged on cookies and cake (there’s that evil comparison again!)

And so…I snacked on.

Eventually, I would feel so full and guilt ridden, or carry snacking right into my next meal, dub the day as ruined, and continue right on snacking afterwards too. I did it all with the promise of making up for it later, perhaps with an even smaller breakfast the following day and an extra few miles added to my run.

The viscous cycle would go on for days. It created an even further unhealthy relationship with food, and most important of all, it prevented me from tending to me.

Why couldn’t I be someone who snacked throughout the day?

Why couldn’t one handful of nuts satisfy a twang of hunger?

Why did I feel the need to keep on eating once I started?

Well, because I am me. Lauren. And Lauren loves food!


Enjoying healthy meals is an act of self-love…

Lauren uses food as fuel to get through a day, recover from hard work-outs, to engage socially, and to respect my body.

I’m not any of the people I was comparing myself to, whether it be the barely-eaters or the cake-bingers. Maybe there isn’t something wrong with me after all.

Maybe my love of food leads me to eat such large portions because I want the meal experience to last.

Maybe I’m bad at snacking because snacks are supposed to be quick, on-the-go, or in-between, and I want my nourishing meals to be anything but these things. I like that my over-sized, calorie packed salads take me nearly a half hour to eat while I enjoy each bite slowly, between sips of water and conversations with my family.

I like knowing this salad will keep me full for the next 4 or 5 hours until dinner, when I can do it all over again. And, in accepting these things about myself, I take away the stress I create around food. I take away the comparisons and the yearning to be different. I embrace my snack-sucking, because it is part of who I am!

I, Lauren, food lover, am a bad snacker. And best of all – that’s A-Okay!