Alan used to quip “Little snacks make bigger slacks” as a joke when we were kids, but I never forgot his line, and this past week while Alan and I were in San Diego I used it as a mantra whenever I would be tempted to indulge in a little extra something with him…which was pretty much always something chocolatey. Now, not all little snacks make bigger slacks. Many diet plans encourage smaller meals at shorter intervals, and that might be a helpful strategy for you. An apple, some raw veggies, or a small serving of some protein source like hard-boiled egg, cottage cheese, yogurt, or a a dozen almonds between meals on a scheduled basis might be necessary to keep you from becoming hypoglycemic and are unlikely to make you fat, but an unplanned snack of “fun food” at an irregular time (or even a routine bedtime smackeral of something yummy) is very likely to have an adverse effect on weight.
On this past week’s trip, Alan and I weren’t eating at regular times; work and/or sightseeing schedules took precedence, and sometimes by the time we stopped to eat, I felt almost faint waiting for our food. A couple of times, I succumbed to the temptation to eat a fresh, warm roll that was beckoning me from the basket on the table (which isn’t permitted on my diet plan). Although it wasn’t as effective, once I tried adding a little sugar to my water to make “lemonade,” and another time (more effective) I ordered a cup of tea with milk and sugar, which the waiter brought out immediately and gave me something to play with long enough to keep me hands off the bread basket.
Much of the battle of eating right is always being prepared. “Semper paratus” (“always prepared”) is the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard, but I first learned it from my two big brothers, who were avid Boy Scouts and taught me all sorts of survival skills—foremost among them, to “always be prepared.” I brought some dried fruit and nuts on our trip, and they’ve come in very handy on a number of occasions for meals and snacks in our room, but it occurred to me that the wise thing would have been to carry a small, healthy snack in my pocket even “for such a time as this.”
It makes a lot of sense to be prepared for situations where we might be hungry but unable to eat for an hour or more. Otherwise, we’re tempted to eat whatever is available or eat so fast we overeat when we do get the chance. It may sound crazy to eat an apple as we’re heading out to a restaurant, but there are always to-go boxes for leftovers! From now on, I’m going to try “Semper Paratus” for my motto!
(P.S.—You might not want to take a round hunk of cheese on on a plane, however! I got stopped and thoroughly investigated on my flight home, because my round cheese was the “perfect shape” for explosives! :) Live and learn!)
(This verse is talking about purging ourselves from moral problems, but I think the principle works in reverse too: If we’re prepared to act wisely, we’re less likely to act unwisely.)