I wanted to write about menopause and the changes it has wreaked on my body. But I read an interesting article on snacking and decided, “Oh, I like that topic better.” Then it hit me how the two are linked.
“Americans Cannot Stop Snacking,” an online article in “Bloomberg Businessweek” shouted at me as I reached for some cashews.
“In a new survey of 1,139 people by Nielsen (NLSN), 91 percent of people said they snack daily, including 25 percent who snack three to five times a day and 3 percent who are ‘always snacking,’” wrote Vanessa Wong, associate editor for “Bloomberg Businessweek.”
The survey reported—big surprise—that women snack more frequently than men, some as often as three to four times a day. Women prefer chocolate, candy or cookies, while men reach for the salty treats.
I have a 10-gallon plastic storage tub behind my desk chair at work where I keep my snacks. I do this for two reasons: because it puts them within arm’s reach and because it hides them from my co-worker who, like clockwork at 3 p.m. every day, trolls the office asking, “Who’s got snacks?!”
You might wonder, “How does snacking relate to menopause?” Those of you over 55 are nodding in understanding: The more you snack, the harder it is to tie your shoes. Painting your own toenails is practically out of the question. Even shaving your legs can get hairy. (I didn’t mean to do that.) It is as if every ounce of food you consume, healthy or otherwise, finds its resting place in the general vicinity of your belly button, give or take 12 inches.
Both men and women snack to satisfy hunger or cravings, the survey reported, but more women snack for stress relief, boredom or as an indulgence. Snacking for stress relief or boredom seems avoidable, but unlike Martin Luther, I’m all for indulgences.
Bottom line: Snacking seems to be very American and I am an American; in menopause you don’t have to shave your legs as often, and that’s convenient. At some point, my 83-year-old mother (who weighs herself twice a day) and I are going to have to accept the fact that bodies at age 60 and 80 are very different than at age 30.
I’ll snack to that.
Terri Lackey is managing editor of Gather magazine.