Has your weight crept up the past few months? It seems to be a topic of great conversation lately. I know my circle of friends have not been immune to wondering about or noticing a few extra pounds since the start of spring. One quick internet search brings up a host of articles on the subject with varying themes: stop worrying about the weight you are gaining, sudden cooking at home will of course make you gain weight, tips to prevent, tips to rid yourself of the ones that crept on, emotional eating, etc. And if we’re not reading about it, we’re thinking about it. Are our leggings (and let’s be honest, it’s leggings. Bi-monthly grocery trips upgrade to my signature overalls, but leggings are my everyday not leaving the house go to, pandemic or not) feeling tight or is that a figment of our stuck at home imaginations? It’s been a hot topic for sure.
A poll has found that nearly one half of all women have gained a little weight during lock down. I started to wonder the whys of the poll. Where men are falling on the weight gain spectrum, for example? Except I was distracted by the banana chocolate muffins my son made over the weekend and the cookies dropped off by a girlfriend. As I slathered butter on the muffin, I researched an article I found the most interesting, about why the pounds aren’t cause for worry. We’re in a stressful time, something unique to most of us living. We’ve never had a pandemic and health crisis of this magnitude that affects every facet of life. During a stressful time, as we all are seemingly tapping into our inner bakers, it’s natural to reach for the comfort foods. I don’t know about you, but my comfort foods are either of the carb heavy variety or the colorful sugary fish kind. Both are often accompanied by a bubbly soda.
None of those things are conducive to shedding my northern Utah winter layer, but they are helpful in helping me forget that a tiny virus is upending every routine I’ve cultivated over the years. I know the shuttering of gyms also factor into most articles about the ‘Covid 15’, but I don’t even have that to excuse my poor pandemic habits, the ones I’ve worked so diligently to rid my life of, as I’ve always worked out at home. And, well, in my life, exercise never really bore weight loss fruit anyway.
Eighty or so days into this, I think I’ve pinpointed my personal culprit-- grazing. I’ve never been a huge grazer. Meals, but nothing ever really late at night and a handful or two of something out of the pantry sometimes, but nothing in which I’ve ever had a large problem. I think. Except, I found something just before the pandemic started: garlic and pepper pretzel sticks. They are magnificent. These sticks are short and squatty (the better to replicate in our own bodies perhaps?) and rolled in garlic powder, onion and pepper. The topping is not skimped on, either. Each stick is nearly white, dripping so much in garlic. They are salty and buttery and satisfy my every carb dream. One serving is about 30 grams total weight. One serving is also about 20 grams of carbs. Trust me when I say 20 grams of carbs, when weighed out, barely fills a really small bowl. And 20 grams when trying to keep daily carb intake on the lower side is nothing. And this is where my grazing problems come in. Once my serving for the day is over, it becomes very easy to grab just a couple more as I pass through the kitchen on the way to do, well, really nothing else. The first step is admitting there is a problem, right? So as I detour into my not-a-go-through-for-anything-else-in-my-home-kitchen, I grab a couple of garlic pretzels. Or dill pretzels. Really. I’ll take either. And then I want a little something else after I have those, so I grab a cheese stick or a handful of cashews (full salt, of course) just to balance my guilt for the grazed carbs and then about an hour or two later, the cycle turns again. For someone who doesn’t really diet, this has become an issue even when the issue had been eradicated pre-pandemic, except my pre-pandemic grazing issues were small or maybe not even there. I certainly didn’t pay any attention to them back then, but now, every move into the kitchen seems to mock and hold me to a higher standard of food policing of myself. Every snap of a pretzel sends me into hyper awareness and consumed articles of pandemic eating come flooding back.
I’ve decided it’s ok, though. I figure if I graze while ushering my kid into the kitchen under the guise of teaching him how to make the world’s most fabulous oatmeal cookies, I’ve solved the problem of not having a reason to enter the kitchen. Now, what do I need to teach him to make to solve the oatmeal cookie grazing issue that’s likely to come?