Measuring Handfuls

I have another bad habit that I would like to share with you all.

I often grab handfuls of food here and there. Most often after I eat an unbalanced meal that leaves me craving something more, and most often I am pouring dry cereal into my hand and eating that.

Maybe it’s like a desert of sorts.

One night after I ate my dinner and was munching on cereal I found myself thinking on things. As I was stuffing my mouth full of unbolused for carbohydrates, I wondered just how many grams could it possibly be.

So I checked.

pop_nutriI pulled out my Eat Smart Nutrition Scale and punched in the figures for the Honey Nut Cheerios and placed a typical handful of them on the scale. For each “handful” of cheerios I was inhaling, I was eating about 8 grams of carbohydrates.

Stunned, I sat there and thought about how many handfuls I would mindlessly eat in one sitting. Four? Five? Eight? Holy crap batman!

Then I starting thinking about how long I have had this habit, and how often I would do this. Way too long and way too often.

It makes total sense if you think about it. I wouldn’t take me many handfuls to fill up a cereal bowl full of cheerios.

Here I thought (or tried to convince myself) that what I was eating didn’t really add up to much and wouldn’t matter. Now that I am aware of just how many carbs I am eating when I do this, it has been much easier to avoid the habitual behaviour.

Funny how the context of things can skew our perceptions sometimes.

Funny how the reality of things can help us adjust our actions.

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24 thoughts on “Measuring Handfuls

  1. Hi Scott
    I must say that to me your a wealth of information and your Blogg rocks.
    I just checked out nutritional scale you said you used to calculate your “handfuls” and liked what I saw on their site so I ordered one. I am a gadget freak!!!! Then it dawns on me that it doesn’t save the food you enter from food labels which will mean I’ll have to enter nutritional info every time I weigh my favorite\
    boxed/packaged foods. Oh well…I am very impulsive. I still think it will help me when I impulsively eat my “handfuls” I always like a night time snack of “angelfood cake” but never can divide it correctly and this will really help me to have a portion that fits into
    my range of carbs/fats/calories The serving on the label are too many carbs for my daily carb\calorie goal. So I can just cut off a maller piece and let the calculator tell me the difference from the labeled serving nutritional info. So not all is lost
    Danka Scott and may it get easier everyday for you

  2. I just spilled pop on my laptop two days ago and quickly pulled power cordout of back then ran and got my hair blower to dry out between keys and imagine my face when I see my keys melting!!!! I decided I’d call and use my warranty thats till covering my laptop and told them 4 keys and one shift key wore out and came off. They are sending me new keyboard but I have to send in tjhe old one in 5 days. I guess I’ll send it in nd they’ll figure out I threw the missing keys away. If they see they are melted I may not get covered under warranty. Other than that the laptop works fine. When I saw your picture of missing keys I had to laugh as it looks like mine but I only have 5 missing keys and tey are all right beside each other.

  3. Hey Scott,

    I think we all go through this, I just can’t pass up grabbing a handfull or two rather than just put the box back in the cabinet-Cheerios I do love and the Honey nut I’m gonna have to grab a few or just go on and get a bowl and be sorry when the numbers go way up on the glucometer.

    Seriously though I have less problem with this than I do with chips, going to have to measure a handful of chips now.

    Have enjoyed reading your blog will be back soon.


  4. Oh, the Norwegian nurses’ comment is priceless.

    I just wanted to say hello and ask how your handful portion control is going. You have big hands, I’m guessing, so you got it rough! 🙂

    It’s SO Easy to do.

    Sending you handfuls of snow…

  5. Scott-
    I’m impressed that you took time to pull out your nutrition scale and figure it out! I bet this will make a difference in your bolusing.
    Your post made me think… I should measure a handful sometime.

  6. Hallo stranger 🙂

    I am a Norwegian diabetes nurse that discoveres your blog today, and now I have spend alot of time reading in her.
    I have really joined it !!

    Thank you.

  7. Um, yeah, I’m definitely a “grazer” (as dieticians like to call it) too. Handful here, handful there. I’ve had simliar realizations to yours. I try to use plain nuts – which if you don’t want to gain weight might be a problem, but in the blood sugar department they are wonderful (and less tempting to go back sometimes).

    Sometimes I eat honey roasted peanuts – which have waay less sugar than the peanut M&Ms I’m actually craving, but still some. If I’m not paying attention, I can easily go through that 12 serving container in 2-3 days. Same with Peanut Butter Bumpers cereal (which is pretty “healthy” for non- diabetics, but it doesn’t have much fiber for the carbs).

    I try to measure out individual servings ahead of time and put them in baggies or tinfoil. That way, when I’m tired/stressed/not paying attention/not wanting to care, the measuring is already done for me and I’m forced to count my carbs and realize how much I’m eating. I also like it because somehow it feels less restrictive or punitive to me grabbing a baggie than having to measure and count out every time I sit down. You might want to try that with the cereal. (You can also buy the individual packs of snacks, but the baggie solution is a lot cheaper).

    I actually try not to buy big boxes/bags of cereal (with the exception of the super duper 10g fiber kind) or crackers because I know I cannot deal with it. I LOVE cereal but my blood sugars just don’t do well when I eat multiple servings at a time.

    Also, in terms of grazing and snacking in general… let me just say, thank goodness for the pump!!!!

  8. It’s scary, isn’t it? I am bad to munch myself. I have to try very hard not to keep that kind of stuff in my house. (Especially cereal since I LOVE IT and it makes my blood sugar CRAZY!)
    By the way, I totally want one of thoes scales…

  9. Scott, I have an impulsive streak when it comes to stuff like this. Especially if I’m stressed, I may reach for a little of this or that, and then guesstimate.

    The problem is that unless you are keenly award of how many, you can’t even begin to estimate accruately. Was it 5 handfulls or 7? Hmmm…

    The consequence of an error for me depends on the type of food – something really healthy and you are not “punished” as much for a poor estimate. Something evil and watch out! I may be 300 or 50.

    I try to do right, I just don’t alway do it. We can always do better. We are human.

  10. Boxes of cereal are the devil. They’re about on par with a bag of chips, except chips tend to go heavier on the fat and lighter on the carbs (better or worse is up to you). I made the mistake of ripping into a box of Kashi the other night while watching a movie on Lifetime (hahaha) and I ended up having to bolus about six units for my little er…snack. I have a 1:10 insulin to carb ratio, so yeah. Handful. Sure. I’ll be sticking to eating my cereal in a bowl from now on.

  11. I think I have eaten half a box of cereal like that before. One time I ate all but about 4 of those Krispy Kreme mini-cruellers. I have no self control over eating. Some day I’ll see a psychiatrist who will tell me deep down inside whats eating me, lol…

  12. I was so glad to find your blog. As a diabetic who has had piss poor control my whole life I need someone like you to guide the way. I finally got the big picture after 20 something years of diabetes when I was diagnosed with a staph infect. that dev. due to ketoacidosis (sp?) Anyway, since that episode of my life I have been on the pump for a little over a yr. now and am beginning to research the continuous bg tester. Unfort. it is not covered by my ins. but I see it happening in my near future. Anyways, thanks for the eating tips. I will keep your blog in mind when I feel like no one understands. So far you’ve helped a lot!

  13. I have found that if I don’t write stuff down and measure, I have absolutely no idea what I’m eating. This is an unpleasant realization but it’s true.

    Otherwise, the dieters rules clearly state:

    If you eat it standing up, it doesn’t count.

    As Carol said, if you don’t use a plate, it doesn’t count.

    If you have a diet soda with your double bacon cheeseburger, it cancels out the calories!

    Eating leftovers while cleaning up doesn’t count.

  14. I’m just envious that you can eat cereal. Cereal hates me – Honey Nut Cheerios sound wonderful, but I would definitely pay – no matter how much I bolus.

    My downfall is the handfulls of trailmix. Love the stuff. I need to watch that.

  15. I hear you on this one. I’ve been paying much more attention to serving sizes lately and it seems I was “super-sizing” most of my meals (ack!).

    Good luck and happy weekend!

  16. Damn! So if handfulls aren’t free, how about eating off a paper towel? Surely the towel must absorb the carbs, especially if you use the expensive more absorbent kind. Seriously, I hear you loud and clear. It continues to amaze me how many forms denial can take in order to slip back into my life. Kind of like playing whack-a-mole!

  17. Scott, by the way I am in no way intending to call you a “fat-o” in my previous comment. It’s just a word I use (wayyyy to often), and I don’t mean to be insensitive!!!

  18. I have this habit except I actually bolus so it’s not that big of a diabetes deal, it’s more of a fat-o OMG the calories deal. Good luck breaking the habit! Food is not our friend!