Crochet for weight control

In Betty Hechtman’s series of cozies organized around the exploits of a crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, Molly Pink, the intrepid protagonist, has come to crochet as the result of some particularly excellent homemade caramel corn.

In Dead Men Don’t Crochet, Molly explains:

I’d reasoned that if I could occupy my fingers with something besides ferrying caramel corn to my mouth it might help.

As it turns out, this is exactly the kind of advice, Katherine Applegate, Ph.D., might give to Molly Pink.

Dr. Applegate works at the Weight Loss Surgery Center (Bariatrics) at Duke University providing psychological services for prospective patients. Surgery is just one component of bariatric treatment; another component is helping patients learn replacement behaviors that will allow them to have a better quality of life after the surgery.

As part of that, the patients are assigned the task of identifying the common triggers that lead them to over eat. Usually the triggers fall into one of these four, broad categories:

Boredom
Stress
Anxiety/Depression
Comfort/Reward

As any crocheter (or knitter) knows, fiber crafting reduces boredom and stress, eases anxiety and depression, and provides both comfort and reward.

Once patients have identified their specific triggers, they are then tasked with the job of creating a list of potential substitute behaviors that aren’t calorie-based and that they can afford to do.

Dr. Applegate (who is herself a knitter and crocheter) said that crochet and knitting are not silly hobbies to be pooh-poohed, but can be helpful tools that should be considered for inclusion in a weight-loss plan. Either will keep your hands occupied, and if you’re doing one thing (crochet), you can’t be doing another (eating).

As for me, I will simply paraphrase Billy Currington, “A bad day of crocheting beats a good day of anything else.” Here is what I worked on today:

crochet blanket, crochet squares, crochet rectangles, crochetbug
I continue to work on my 2011 North Carolina State Fair crochet project

crochet squares, crochet quilt motif, crochetbug
A detail of the central motif of my 2011 North Carolina State Fair crochet project in daylight

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9 thoughts on “Crochet for weight control

  1. Looks great! – And just a note that my love of crocheting and knitting helped calm my nerves during my troublesome pregnancy the past 9 months. Shows that it is definitely theraputic besides being a wonderful hobby! 🙂

  2. That confirmed exactly what I suspected. When I was trying to lose weight before, I noticed that crocheting kept me from snacking so much. And I turned to knitting after both my last miscarriage and the death of a close nephew. It is a comforting hobby.

  3. Your project is coming along great! I just love crocheting so much, it definitely is a calming, “not eat so much” craft! lol

  4. While it IS a comforting hobby which soothes the savage beast, if a body spends too many hours doing JUST crochet and sitting on the sofa without a lot of other moving (aside from going to the pantry to snack between block attaching – I have no trouble snacking while crocheting… stitch a few, snack a bit – I’m incorrigible), unfortunately, weight can be gained.

    I gave up walking for crochet. And reading. And writing. And must get back to those other healthy lifestyle plans!

    You’re doing great, Leslie! GO GO GO! 🙂

  5. I have lost 100 pounds in the last year and a half and am working on some more. Crochet certainly has been a big part of this! Whenever I think about snacking, I pick up a project first. I get so engrossed in it that I forget all about that snack. Or I’ll bribe myself, saying “finish this square then have something”. But usually I forget about it by that time! 😀 Of course it may just mean that I have a short memory…

  6. This has been amazing to see unfold! I have watched you make all of those little pieces and thought you were CRAZY! But now seeing this – it looks like a WINNER to me! Such great work, who would have thought all of those pieces would look so great together! Love it….

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