How to stop the snack monster on your weekend watch
Weekend watch on a sunny day can be brutal. Most of us alleviate our boredom by snacking. As I sit here on watch now, I know that if I was out on my bike or skateboarding on the beach I wouldn’t feel hungry. But I’m inside at the crew mess table, listening to the little voices in my head tempt me to snack.
The only difference with the little voice now and the little voice a few years ago is that I now know what the snacking feeling may be instead of true hunger and what to snack on to keep me feeling clear, focused and energized.
It’s not snacking that is the issue; it’s why you snack and what you snack on that leaves you feeling worse — physically and mentally — than at the 7:30 a.m. start of your watch.
Why do we snack?
- We are hungry.
- We are thirsty.
- We are bored.
- Hungry: Plan ahead for your weekend watch and make sure you have healthy snacks for yourself. Make sure you have enough fruit, dried fruit such as dates, or even fruit bars. Better yet, eat enough healthy carbohydrates in the day such as fruit or grains to stay full until the next meal.
- Thirsty: Most often, we mistake thirst for hunger. Keep a water bottle next to you all day. Drink 1 liter of water when you first wake up and up to a liter 30 minutes before meals. Drinking during or right after meals can dilute digestive juices and slow digestion, making you tired. When you feel like your stomach is empty and you crave something to snack on, drink water first.
- Bored: This reason isn’t as easy to beat because you’re stuck inside, but finding something to do will take your focus away from snacking. Call someone, watch a movie or read something to take your mind off of snacking.
Simple ways to eat clean onboard
Eating clean onboard is a top challenge for many crew. The good news is that it’s not difficult; it only take some planning and effort. Even if the chef does not cook the healthiest food, you still have control over some of your food choices and all of your habits.
Be consistent with these tips and you’ll see results in your energy, moods and overall health quickly.
- Make a firm decision about what “cleaning up your diet” means to you. How would your ideal diet look? Become clear about it and write it down. It becomes easier to make good choices when you have a vision for yourself.
- Become aware about negative thoughts on how hard it is to eat healthy onboard. Change your thoughts to how can I eat healthy onboard? When you do this, you find solutions rather than excuses.
- Take an active role in choosing your snacks and meals, when you can. Buy them yourself if you have to. Get a large Tupperware that fits in your closet and keep healthy snacks and even some fruit in there. Ripen bananas wherever you can and freeze them so you always have smoothie material handy.
- Limit alcohol. When you are drunk or hungover, the last thing you want is a salad or healthy food. If you drink alcohol, drink water in between and have something productive to do the next day so you will stay away from drinking too much.
- Stay hydrated. The thirstier you are, the more you will crave junk food. You also may confuse thirst for hunger. Keep track of how much water you drink and have a goal each day.
- Start each day with a large smoothie of fruits and greens. If you don’t have greens, purchase Barley Grass Juice Powder to add to fruit smoothies. Chia and Hemp seeds add essential fatty acids to help with cravings and keep you full.
- Eat fruit in the morning. Don’t be afraid of fruit. Fruit hydrates and provides vitamins, minerals, enzymes and the fructose every cell in your body runs on. Just make sure to eat enough of it. One banana is only 100 calories so if you do not eat enough of them, you will be hungry right away.
- Make fitness a priority. When you start working out and are in a routine, most people feel like eating healthier. When you pull into a port, go for a walk or run instead of hitting the bar straight away. Also, try to work out in the morning when you can so you will start the day in the right mind for a day of healthy choices overall.
You’ve got this.
Angela Orecchio is a chief stew and certified health coach. This column was edited from entries in her blog, The Yachtie Glow (www.angelaorecchio.com), which offers tips for crew on how to be healthy, fit and happy on board. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.