If you are a sampler or grazer, you eat continuously all day, not knowing exactly what you are looking for, but hoping once you find it, you’ll be satisfied. You may be eating because it’s there, eating to avoid things you don’t want to face, eating because you’re bored, or eating because you’re uncertain. Perhaps you have a hard time telling when you’re hungry, so you create a rule: when in doubt, eat.

When you’re sampling food you may not notice how much you eat, because you’ll try a little bit of something, and then just a little bit of something else, and on and on. Over the course of a day, a week, a year, all those little bits add up. Often sampling (“I’ll just take a little bit of this”) turns to grazing (“Maybe I’ll just have a little bit more”) or even a clean sweep (“While I’m at it, why not finish this off?”) In extreme cases, this can become a habit that goes on all day, every day.
Sampling and grazing often happens during large, unstructured blocks of time, such as over a weekend when nothing has been scheduled. This is because, as a sampler and grazer, you have a hard time identifying, in any given moment, what you want to do. Unstructured time becomes a nightmare because the inner guidance which should help you take action on your desires is missing.

If sampling and grazing is a problem for you, it is likely you have difficulty making decisions. You may have a hard time figuring out what you want out of life or what will make you happy. It’s like you are missing a compass to steer by. If you spend a lot of time around other people, you may substitute other people’s compasses for your own.

Sampling and grazing begin to disappear as you are coached through a process of trying things out in order to discover how to sense whether a food, a person, or a job is something you want or don’t want in your life.

What can be done about sampling and grazing?

  • Identifying the difference between hunger-based eating and eating due to boredom or avoidance,
  • Identifying what you want to do instead of eating and developing the ability to follow through on it.
  • Learning how to make decisions through the process of trying things out.
  • Learning to distinguish when you are doing something because you want to and when you are adapting to what someone else wants.
  • Learning to add more structure to your day, allowing you to keep active doing the things you love.
  • Learning to get the type of support you need from the people in your life.

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