The Grazer

Erin is an amazing woman. In her early 50’s, she has a richly rewarding job that she loves. It has her in meetings, on the road and engaged intellectually all day long. At 5’4” and 140 pounds, she always looks put together, but she is 8 pounds above her most comfortable weight for the past few years. She came to LMN to try to figure out where the weight was coming from since she “never has the time to eat a real meal” and “doesn’t like sweets.” She thought her issue may have been pre-menopausal, thyroid issues or something medical, but her lab tests came back clean as a whistle.

Here’s what a typical day looked like, and here are my comments to get her on the right track:

7AM Wake. Coffee with milk and off to the gym.

Start with a snack within an hour of waking up in the morning and before the gym! A small banana with 1 tsp peanut butter would rev metabolism and energize your exercise! Add a full glass of water to keep you hydrated.

8:45AM Handful of nuts and about 10 oz of a smoothie (yogurt, berries, banana, flax).

Grab an individual portion of Wonderful pistachios and swap the sugary smoothie for a plain 6 oz Greek or Icelandic yogurt (2% or whole). This is breakfast. Eat with intention.

10AM Part of a bran muffin at a meeting.

That bran muffin has zero nutritional value and you may not have been hungry, but eating it because it was there. Plan for these moments by treating yourself to a cup of green tea and a piece of fruit if you are hungry.

2PM Starving. Too busy to eat lunch, but ordered a wrap with grilled chicken, feta, veggies and olive oil dressing. It came with chips. Didn’t eat them. Glass of water.

It happens that we can’t always time our meals perfectly, but we can have a plan in place for this situation! Setting a timer on your smartphone is a great strategy if you need a ‘time to eat’ reminder! would have recommended a hearty soup or chili with an ounce of cheese. Hot foods slow us down and force us to be more mindful than room temp foods. Also, using a utensil keeps us from wolfing down the food and missing satiety cues. Add a 16 oz mineral water and drink half before you begin eating so that you’re getting the water in.

4PM Finally, at my desk for the first time all day. Picked at some popcorn and probably too much trail mix from the office pantry. Another cup of coffee with milk. 6 Hershey’s kisses from the receptionist’s desk, about 45 minutes later.

An afternoon snack is a great idea! If you plan ahead and eat it with intention, you would feel great about it. Always plan for a cup of tea with your snack and have a formula of veggies + fat to go with it. Examples are 12 almonds, 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds or a single serve guacamole and carrot sticks.

6:45PM Home before dinner date. Hungry-ish. Opened and closed refrigerator 5 times. 2 slices deli turkey, 1 tablespoon hummus, 8 baby carrots, 5 olives, few slices of apple.

We’ve all experienced this kind of grazing. The day ends and you deflate with food. It’s rarely true hunger. When you walk in the door next time, go straight to your bedroom. Take off your work clothes and spend 5-15 minutes actively de-stressing with a meditation, warm shower or your novel. Go ahead and have some crudites, canned artichokes or a hummus snacker and cucumber slices before dinner, and don’t forget a cup of herbal tea or seltzer!

8PM Dinner. Grilled salmon, charred broccoli, baked potato with a little butter. 1 glass of red wine. 2 bites of tiramisu.

A beautiful choice. Well done. Eat half the potato and up the veggies with a starter salad next time.

11PM Teaspoon of peanut butter.

Did you need it? Probably not. Next time consider the kitchen closed after dinner.



Erin is a grazer. Whenever she stops moving, she looks for something to eat. She feels like she’s picking “all day long” and while there are some good choices and behaviors in her days and diet, she needs some serious planning to organize her and help here meet her goals. A once a week shopping trip or online order for nuts, nut butter, eggs, yogurt and veggies will set her up for success.

Tip: If you think you are a grazer, before you eat anything, make a rule to slow yourself down, put a napkin on your lap and plate your food. It may prevent you from picking!