Snacking habit


(Laura) #1

I have a problematic snack habit.

It’s worst when I am at work at my desk and feeling bored.

I tried intermittent fasting off and on a few years ago (but not with Keto) and I think that has only made it worse. It isn’t for me, at least not yet. It just causes my brain to panic and want to eat everything once I’ve eaten one thing.

The snacking is time consuming and uncomfortable and I think it interferes with listening to my body. It’s inconvenient and no good for my psychological health or lifestyle freedom. I am not very good at knowing when I am hungry and when I am sated.

Again, I think this might actually be a product of having tried intermittent fasting too many times before, Because I really wasn’t THAT bad with snacking before I tried IF. I think I didn’t ease into IF, or I was too restrictive or didn’t eat enough or something. So if I do IF again then I’m just going to wait until it is a thing that more naturally happens.

My hope is that with keto, I will eat two or three good size meals a day and more importantly, that I will more easily recognize both when I’m hungry and when I’ve had enough. And if I’m hungry I’ll be able to wait longer without getting impatient.

Is this something that has happened for those of you in keto long term? How long did it take?

Hoping that I will soon quit thinking about snacking or wanting to snack. I am 5 to 6 weeks in.

Maybe it’s silly, but I feel like if I hear other stories with a timeline to them then I will feel encouraged that it will happen for me to if I keep going.

(Ohio ) #2

If I’m bored, agitated , stressed etc it gets harder to ignore hunger. Stuck in a terrible workplace. Yep.

Exercise ironically reduces appetite for me. Driving does too.

I make some peppermint patties from coconut oil, honey, peppermint oil & dark chocolate They also kill appetite, mainly because of peppermint.

Another trick is dental gum with spit bottle. Humans evolved doing a lot more chewing. Look at the jaws of our ancestors. Even your jaw needs a work out. * This also has implications for the respiratory system.


I am sure it’s different for different people…
I did IF way before keto, it came naturally to me. It changed on keto (smaller eating window, fewer meals) and went chaotic on anything close to carnivore (when I regularly went below 20g carbs for the first time… my number of meals shoot up but not every day and hopefully just temporarily).

Snacks as separate tiny meals as many people use them… Aren’t really my thing. It may happen but extremely rarely and it was like that all my life I guess. I needed my substantial meals and they satiated me for a while. I never eat when bored either but I hardly can imagine how a human can be bored unless closed into some place without anything to do, actually.
And if I just want to consume something without any need, a drink should do (not like I am always that good in practice… but I need to eat anyway, quite often and quite much, being a human so little harm is done if I eat without hunger - sometimes I must eat without it anyway, I rarely get seriously hungry).

Hunger is just one signal, it’s often not even reliable and it’s fine as long as we still can figure out when and how much to eat without messing things up. Even if someone’s body communicates and nudges and complains very well, it’s not always clear when there is a real need to eat. But we don’t need to do this perfectly, things may get balanced out even if we don’t wait until a Very Serious Need (like an annoying hunger)…

I only feel very clearly when I had enough when I eat meat (except chicken, that can’t satiate me). With other food it just doesn’t happen so clearly, between “no hunger” and “very satiated, don’t want more” I easily eat a huge amount. It’s not so much when I choose my items well but meat is still special. I think it’s common, certain foods (not the same for everyone) are too easy to eat a lot of, without getting a stopping sign.

If I am hungry, I eat, this was my only serious rule for long and vaguely it still is. But I have some very soft type of hunger now. It feels nice, I feel zero urge to eat, I can wait and it’s hard not to wait. I like fasting as long as I feel good. I prefer satiation but this soft hunger is okay too. I need fat adaptation and very low-carb for this type of hunger but I can get annoyingly hungry too. I eat almost immediately then, I am a hedonist, I don’t want to suffer (and my body would be mad at me and that’s not pretty).
But indeed, since fat adaptation waiting a bit (and often more) is usually not such a big deal. (I am still bad with that but my rule is very strong. hunger means I should eat, for me).

Fat-adaptation happened after 7 weeks on 35-40g net carbs, IDK if lower would have changed it but probably just being in ketosis was enough, 7 weeks is pretty normal.
But as more time passed and especially that I chose my food items better, my hunger changed again, it doesn’t come so often, I got the super nice type and satiation is often easier (but quick satiation doesn’t lasts so long).

I think you can expect changes yourself but maybe tweaking with your woe brings the really big changes, who knows.

And while our woe can change a lot, even making us a different, better person sometimes (carnivore instantly solves most of my eating problems), it has its limits (and we don’t even know our ideal woe right away. ketosis alone isn’t enough for everyone). Some of our problems are mental and we need to battle them ourselves for a long time, even on a helpful woe.

(Joey) #4

Maybe so. Maybe not? :wink:

First off, I wouldn’t worry too much about your hunger. When starting out, there are a host of metabolic changes that need to come into play - and they do so over time at their own pace (actually, at your own body’s pace)…

If you’re truly restricting your total daily carbs, your hunger will figure itself out. Make sure you’ve got sufficient keto snacks on hand … and eat them when you feel hungry… and don’t when you feel satiated.

Their ready availability will serve two purposes: (1) you will not feel any anxiety over whether you can munch on something if you feel the urge - because you can, and (2) you will avoid reaching for something that is NOT keto-friendly, like some crappy bag of junk carbs. It’s #2 that will destroy your ability to make meaningful progress.

#1 will take care of itself over time. When your body is ready, it will stop sending those hunger pangs, and you will regain a stronger sense of when you’re really hungry, and when you’re merely bored or anxious.

When you’re bored or anxious, you’ll eventually find other ways to channel those feelings. For now, munching on some bacon strips, or a hard-boiled egg, or some pork rinds, or a piece of hard cheese, or a beef stick/jerky, … you get the idea. Something that will please your taste buds and let you feel free to snack.

Over time, snacking will naturally lose it’s magical appeal. But that’s going to be after your metabolism is in a much better place than it may be at this point.

Hopefully, this helps a bit. :vulcan_salute:

p.s. - As a lawyer/mother/former-distance runner, you’ve associated carb snacks with easing tension, boredom, anxiety, etc., because that’s what most of us do in time-compressed stressful situations. The carb/glucose roller coaster kicks in and our habits get reinforced. Without that carb/glucose cycle (i.e., on keto), you will find that old habits won’t immediately disappear, but the foundation on which they’re built will dissipate, and new habits and associations will be much easier to approach - when you’re ready.

Hang in there. You’ve got this.


Hi Laura, I have a snacking habit too! What has helped me is eating bigger and more filling meals, each with a few interesting components. I didn’t want that to be the answer, but it did improve things massively. How do you know you are eating enough? Are your meals delicious and do they leave you satisfied?

Also - Structure! Being more intentional about the parameters of what e.g. “lunch” looks like (OK, I’m going to have soup, cheese, berries, an egg and a coffee), so that I anticipate wanting the variety and satiety of multiple foods in advance and plan for that, really helps overcome the sense that each meal is endless and open-ended, and that my day is strung together by unintended snacks. You might actually be eating the same amount of food overall, but it is more convenient and psychologically more satisfying to have it as a single meal.

Gillian Riley and Ellyn Satter are two excellent, intelligent and compassionate writers on the benefits of introducing structure and intentionality into your eating habits, if you’re interested (though neither subscribe to keto WOE as such).

I think you should trust your gut about fasting. It’s not for everyone at all times. I personally have a history of disordered eating and extreme dieting and so I’m wary of too much “restriction” or anything that feels like extreme hunger, because (for me) it leads inevitably to bingeing. But others may have a different experience.

Re. Knowing what true hunger is - try Googling “hunger / fullness scale” and see if any of that resonates with you. I am wary of a lot of “intuitive eating” rhetoric (which I don’t think takes sufficient account of addictive appetites, damaged metabolisms, and our hyper-palatable food environment) but this specific tool has been helpful for me in recognising actual physical hunger.

Good luck!!

(Laura) #6

Thank you!! I’ll just stay on keto then and be patient when it comes to everything else-- amount of food, sleep, energy. So many things are improving anyway. I guess metabolic changes take more than 5-6 weeks?

I do need to stop snacking on peanut butter with a fork, and 95% chocolate. Those things aren’t un-keto, but they’re not a meal.

It seems patience and faith are key here.

(Laura) #7

[quote=“Camellia, post:5, topic:109880”]
Are your meals delicious and do they leave you satisfied?

This is a really good point. I so need more time to cook-- and time to eat. I like to eat most my food during brunch through mid-afternoon time. My dinner appetite is smaller. But this has me at my desk, scarfing down some cold fish or something as my legal assistant buzzes me to tell me the FBI has arrested a client or similar. I rarely even have time to use the tiny microwave down the hall. Hence me eating peanut butter from a jar while write a brief against a deadline . . . I find keto foods especially are tastier hot-- not cold like a sandwich. Maybe I just need a better food-heating method than crappy office microwave?

Then at home I have the most . . . energetic young child. He is like a human version of Bugs Bunny. He’s fun, but not conducive to a reasonably uninterrupted and well-plated meal. Possibly I need to turn him into a little chef, as he is a very adventurous eater.

I also love your point about structure. I just need to get the hang of this, as it’s new. There’s lots of prep and new stuff to remember to buy . . . Then I end up packing my weird lunch while getting my son out the door to camp and again, wish I were just making an easy two sandwiches like before. I’ll visit the recipe section and see what others are eating.


I’m a super snacker… especially when bored. Upping my protein helped huge, many people say raising fat helps them, but I don’t loose fat when my dietary fat is cranked way up.

(Laurie) #9

Roast beef, roast pork, etc. Take the cold leftovers to work. You can embellish the meat with whatever. As mentioned above, variety is good. Cold egg salad, plain boiled egg, shrimp, a delicious special cheese to go with the roast beef slices?

Also, you can order plain hamburger patties and have them delivered. Get some takeout menus and figure out what they have that you can eat. Maybe dry spareribs without any coating, or an omelet …

You can alternate days of hot and cold foods, or interesting and boring foods.

I totally get it about having hardly any time to eat at work. As a child I was forced to eat a lot, so I learned to swallow without chewing. That came in handy during my grab-something-when-you-can working years. (Backfired eventually though.)

Good luck!

(Joey) #10

I would suggest reading the labels and doing the math. Almond butter tends to have less carbs than peanut and is more filling. And 95% chocolate is usually sweetened. You’re really close to 100% unsweetened, so consider that for now. (I love chomping on a piece of 100% unsweetened cacao with a glass of red wine for dessert - an acquired taste :wink: ).

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #11

@Lc14503 Two suggestions.

  • Re IF. See my modest proposal here. Simple, easy. Even children can do this - and did almost daily when I was one.

  • Re snacking. Cacao/Cocoa butter. Make sure it’s 100% pure. It will be solid at room temp but melt in your mouth, just like M&Ms :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Tastes a lot like chocolate, feels a lot like peanut butter and does not contain any of the non-keto stuff in either. This is the ultimate ‘keto snack’ if there is such a thing. In my humble opinion.

(Laura) #12

That’s far more doable than the IF that I keep reading about! We ate that way in the 80s, too, or some of us. I don’t remember “snack” time at school; now there are two snack times plus lunch during a 6.5- hour school day.

I’ll try this modest proposal— thanks for that!

(Jane) #13

I relied on savory fat bombs early on and snacked on those. Eventually I quit making or wanting them. 3-4 months if I remember correctly.

Be kind and patient with yourself - it will come in time.


The three best pieces of advice I remember from this forum in the early days were:

  1. don’t walk away from a meal until you’re full - if that means cooking again or getting something from the fridge, do it
  2. when hungry, don’t snack, eat a proper meal
  3. if you’re not sure if you’re hungry, think about eating a hard boiled egg - if it sounds tasty, you’re hungry: go back to step 2 and eat a meal. if it sounds eh, you’re not hungry: go and do something else

Those things really helped me. I never snack now (and I was always snacking pre-keto). Best of luck.

(Joey) #15

Great advice, but here’s a variation on this theme that works for me: When a hard boiled egg sounds tasty, I eat a hard boiled egg :wink:


Well yes, but we’re trying not to snack - so it would be counterproductive to eat just a single hard boiled egg. Maybe have six instead. :wink:

I realise you’re jesting, but I suppose it’s an important distinction for those new to keto and I should elaborate a little as to why it helps. In the early days, your hunger signals may well be a little broken and it can be difficult to work out what’s true hunger and what’s not (it could be boredom, or a schedule/habit you’re used to keeping, or handling an emotion).

You can, of course, swap a hard boiled egg for another unprocessed food - it’s about the food being “boring” enough for you to determine your hunger, whereas most of us could always find room for something that was a “treat”. (You’ll probably think you’ve always got room for nuts / dark chocolate / creamy coffee etc.)

(Joey) #17

Sage advice. :+1:

Even after 2+ years on keto eating, on those occasions when my stomach does a little grumbling (used to be frequent, now it’s very rare), my first impulse is to think: “perhaps I’m hungry.”

Now, upon further reflection I realize, no, I’m not … it’s that my stomach is grumbling.

Minutes later the grumbling stops. And in the stillness, I’m amused at how I used to interpret that noise vs what it actually means: apparently not much.


Yes, that’s such a good pick up.

The one that really struck me was the difference between being physically full and satiated. They’re two very different feelings; I was always seeking volume of food assuming that would fill me up, but now I am satiated, I’ve realised it’s not volume that matters at all.

(Take time to smell the bacon) #19

Borborygmus is the medical term—a fancy way of saying “air in the digestive tract”!

Yeah, that was a real eye-opener when I first experienced the difference!


Yep, they are. It’s far from impossible to be very hungry while very full (2 liters of food and very very recently drank water does the trick for me if the items aren’t well chosen) and it’s easy to be very satiated and not wanting to eat anything while having an empty stomach. For me, at least. But it seems many people have certain things correlated. I know stomach/gut rumbling isn’t hunger and I feel it, it never made me want to eat, rather in the contrary - but for many people stomach growling and hunger are the same (or happen at the same time). I even saw satisfaction mixed with satiation, not just fullness… And appetite has very little to do with hunger in my case while they are hand in hand for others. So these odd things are probably the product of someone else having very different experiences. Or ideas, probably not everyone interprets their bodily signs right who goes and writes an article about it…
Some people are even volume eaters or it seems from their behavior… I never knew well any of such persons, my relatives need a bunch of calories though possibly some decent volume too but dense food works very well while low-cal food with big volume not so much. To me only this makes sense, the body wants nutrients and energy, not a bunch of water and fiber… But some people are more sensitive to the volume. Or maybe they need all the time and joy from a bigger amount of food? Who knows? I surely wouldn’t like to get satiated too easily every day but it’s convenient sometimes.