Confession: I am a major snacker! On a normal day I will eat about 5 smaller meals but then have after dinner snacks while we watch Netflix. The habit of eating smaller meals started when I was a teenager, and had a hard time keeping food down for a while. I’m not sure what caused my weird illness, but since I wasn’t able to eat much food before throwing it up, my stomach shrank and it has never really expanded again. But that’s another story! I have been eating smaller meals for years, with no problems, and I hear that it is actually better to eat smaller meals than three large ones each day. ANYWAAAAAY…now I eat a smallish dinner, and am full but find that I still reach for snacks later out of boredom. While watching Netflix, my hands are restless, so snacking is a way to help keep them busy. But, I am not actually hungry!
At the start of the year I decided to finally knit myself a hat, using really nice wool I purchased with a gift card I received for Christmas. Ideally, I’d have sat down and knit it in one day, but I had other tasks to do! So instead I decided to use my Netflix-watching time to knit. When it came time to snack, I wanted to keep at my hat, so I didn’t eat anything.
After a few evenings spent knitting instead of snacking, I realized I wasn’t feeling as lethargic or sleepy anymore. The only change I had made in my lifestyle/diet, was that I stopped snacking after dinner and started knitting! I continued this pattern for the rest of January, and am pleased to say that the amount I snack after dinner has reduced greatly! Sometimes my fingers cramp from knitting, so I will have a little nibble of something, but not nearly as much as before.
I mentioned my observation to my husband, and he decided to see if he could keep his hands busy with something other than snacks. Do you remember Silly Putty? My dad got all of us some as a funny Christmas gift, so David would play around with that while we watched Netflix. He found that it helped reduce his snacking, too!
So while knitting may not actually make me live longer, or have greater endurance, or build muscle, it DOES help me curb my bad snacking habits. If you find yourself wanting to mindlessly snack, I suggest taking up a “busy work” hobby. You can learn to knit, embroider, cross stitch or crochet, all of which are great hobbies since they also produce beautiful end products. If you do not consider yourself creative, or are looking for something requiring a bit less manual dexterity and concentration, how about playing with a stress ball, some type of malleable polymer like Silly Putty or Blue Tac, or a wooden comfort cross (you can buy them here, but I am not endorsing that link. I have handled this exact cross in person, and it is quite relaxing to run your hands over it!)?
I personally like knitting because it is fun, creative, and creates a tangible product that I can keep, give away, or even sell. In case you’re curious, here is what I have knit thus far in 2017!
My mother in law taught me how to knit socks so I could gift David a pair for Christmas, and since then I have really enjoyed making more! The pink pair is obviously for me:)
David wanted me to knit him a chunky, warm hat for winter, and chose three colours of wool! Instead of stripes, he asked that they be used as if one strand, which created a really nice texture and colour pattern.
Here is the hat I made myself! I had another white hat but it was store bought and had seen better days. I didn’t use a pattern for either hat, and just made it up as I went.
I hope this post encourages you to pick up a hobby or task that can help you stay healthy!