Fair warning: I’m going to be talking a lot about dieting and food. Read—or don’t—with your mental health in mind.

All snacking is emotional eating.

I heard that on a podcast a couple of weeks ago. I’m still thinking about it, still teasing apart how true it is for me, when it is and when it isn’t.

According to the “experts” in the field, you will stop snacking on the carnivore diet. You will eat however many meals you end up with, eat until your full, and not need to eat again until your next meal, whether you’re eating one, two, or three meals per day.

Is this true? I don’t know, and I don’t know if this will be true for me.

One of the things that the experts have said that has proven to be true is that I have needed to relearn what it means to be hungry. My hunger signals were all messed up. I was eating based on the number of calories I consumed and ignoring whether or not I was still hungry.

On carnivore, you’re supposed to eat until you’re full. This is a new thing for me. I’m still trying to figure it out. I now generally stop eating and ask myself if I’m full. I need to sit with that for a short while to see if I am. Or not.

I have been trying to cut back on the number of snacks I eat.

But when do I snack?

I snack in the morning sometimes, after breakfast. I’ve come to realize that I’m not actually snacking at that time. Mostly, I’m still hungry. I might have a hardboiled egg. Or I go have a spoonful of tallow and that solves the hunger/snacking problem in the mornings.

In the middle of the afternoon, I frequently have a snack. It’s become a habit, and is associated with time.

Is that afternoon snack emotional eating? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Sometimes I want a snack, or a treat, because I’ve been working hard and I want to reward myself for all that I’ve accomplished. Other times, it’s just because I always have a snack at that time and there is no reward, it’s time based.

Instead of eating in the afternoons, I’ve taken to making myself a flavored soda water. I have peppermint, almond, and vanilla. I put a little bit of one of those in a glass with carbonated water and that satisfies the “treat” impulse.

I don’t snack after dinner. I do give myself two little squares of really good, 80% cacao or higher chocolate. I don’t think of it as a snack, but as dessert. Not having that makes me feel deprived. So it has an emotional content, but I don’t feel as though I’m overdoing it given the amount I have.

When else do I snack?

I snack on days when I’m really tired or I feel bad. I’ve come to realize that I’m looking for that secret handshake. If I eat this, I’ll feel better! It’s rarely the case, but I find it difficult to stop because I’m tired.

Is that emotional eating? It is, but I’m not trying to make myself feel better emotionally. I’m trying to make myself feel better physically. I believe that puts a different spin on it.

When I was younger, I would stop eating anytime I got depressed or upset. That changed eventually, probably in the last ten years or so. So I’m aware that when I have a bad time, I will eat.

This last week, though, I was angry. Really pissed off about something.

And I found myself reaching for a snack.

That surprised me. I didn’t realize that I ate when I was angry. That was absolutely emotional eating.

I’ve managed a few days with no snacking. The first day I did it was more difficult. The second and third days, it was easy, seemed natural.

I’m going to continue to work on eliminating snacks from my life, for the most part. I still have them around for the times when I need them. But that may change as well.

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