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    JOHNTJ1   72,505
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints

The No Fry Zone

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Everyone has them. They are trigger foods. Everyone around you can eat as much of it as they want and not gain a single solitary ounce. You and I, we put on five pounds just thinking about how good they taste. Worse yet, they lead us to other “less than positive behaviors.” Those who hold us dear find us hunched up in a corner at three am devouring a chocolate cake and hear a small voice crying “I can’t take it anymore!!!” Yeah I exaggerate and yeah this is often a topic we overweight folks shy away from. It’s the “A” word, addiction. We don’t like being thought of as addicts. It conjures up a picture in our minds that causes us to shake our heads really hard and utter that foolish mantra about moderation. We know that’s an excuse. There are some foods you or I can’t eat. It’s ok to be addicted to your favorite college basketball team, to live and breathe every step they take, every word they utter and every small action. We festoon ourselves in team colors buy books, magazines, apparel and paint our faces. Some of us sit in frigid temperatures at football games, shirtless, with our team colors slathered on our torso. We grin, and shrug our shoulders and say “we are addicted to…….”

When it comes to food, well there is a modicum of shame involved. As I prepared to write today it dawned on me that I wouldn’t suggest a drink every now and then to an alcoholic. Imagine telling someone with an addiction to prescription drugs that a little pain medication every now and then wouldn’t really hurt. It’s unthinkable. But when it comes to food and it comes to us, well we just would rather rationalize and stay in close touch with others who feel the same way. Some of us have that one food that pushes us over the edge. . Yours may be different than mine are but there is a food or foods we just shouldn’t eat if we want to stay healthy. We can’t have a “little bit.” They cause us to come unwound. We struggle to “Just Say No!!”

The food that triggers my massive addiction to a whole host of other foods is French fries. Yeah, you read that right, French fries. I can take or leave mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, even potato chips, but tempt me with a plate of fries and it’s all over. There are others. Diet soda deserves a really wide berth on my radar too. It triggers the proverbial vision of sugar plums. When I first joined Spark I lost close to 80 pounds. Sad to say I’ve put close to 70 pounds back on. I went back and reviewed my food journals and saw what I was eating when I was living healthy. There were no fries, no Cokes, no cookies. Lottsa fruit, lottsa veggies and meat three times per week. Then one day I was in a rush, Mc Donald’s beckoned I ordered some fries with a fish sandwich and the rest of my downhill slide came quickly as I made excuses for everything but the real issue. My appetite slowly evolved back to a lot of bad habits. I stopped listening to some of you. I regained my weight. It’s not rocket science.

So I sit here today a bit wiser. I’ve instituted my own personal “No Fry Zone.” I have a laminated list of foods in my wallet that will get me in trouble. When I get ready to eat I pull them out and review them and compare them against what’s in front of me. Part of my addiction comes from being unable to say “no.” I can create all sorts of excuses why I shouldn’t hurt someone else’s feelings.
In the end, it’s how much I value myself and my health and who I choose to hang around with. This blog may not be popular with some people. I’ve found that when you hit a nerve people recoil and defend. I know I do. As I walk away this morning, headed for work I know one thing

I am worth it
I deserve it
I am who I hang around with


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MIMIDOT 4/19/2012 7:44AM

    Great blog. You are so right. Thanks for sharing.

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KRYSTALGEM85 4/19/2012 7:40AM

    Great blog and you are right there are things that are better to stay away from.

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EXCIRA 4/19/2012 7:39AM


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RINA2002 4/19/2012 7:35AM

  Willpower certainly can't survive on its own. I find that when I have meals alone, I almost always make bad choices. When I eat with my husband or with my workout friends, I almost always eat the right portions and healthful selections. It's very important to know your weaknesses so that you can bypass them.

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MARIASPARKLE 4/19/2012 7:34AM

    Great blog, thanks for sharing!

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FARIS71 4/19/2012 7:32AM

    That is so true. We would not offer an alcoholic a drink or a Rx drug user a pain medication. Why do I offer myself those intense trigger foods? Thanks for shedding light!

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DFROMTX 4/19/2012 7:29AM

    emoticon blog! emoticon . We all have "triggers" of some kind to fight.

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DMF2012 4/19/2012 7:26AM


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IDLETYME 4/19/2012 7:23AM

    Great blog and I love the last three lines! We are all worth it! emoticon

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BARB_48 4/19/2012 7:14AM

    Very well written! Perfect description of the addiction(s) that we have to deal with. Thanks for sharing. It's just what I needed to help me stay focused.

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SUZICANDO 4/19/2012 7:12AM


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TEACHING1ST 4/19/2012 6:56AM

    You do always hit that proverbial nail on the head, John. Sad to say, one of the things I gave up for Lent was candy---and I've only had 1 piece since, with absolutely no loss at all. It's so hard to keep away from those triggers and not even see a positive result. I'm proud of you for sticking to it and love the laminated list idea. I have a pile of school stuff to laminate and can add another 'list' to that, lol!


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JUNETTA2002 4/19/2012 6:53AM

    You are so right. We all have them

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MEREDITHB51 4/19/2012 6:49AM

    I've recently come to the same realization - that sugar is my substance of choice and that I have to treat it as I have cigarettes for the 24 years since I quit. Great post!

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MLT7211 4/19/2012 6:44AM

    Congratulations on avoid trouble and knowing that you are worth the effort!

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SHANTODD420 4/19/2012 6:43AM

    You hit the nail on the head thanks for sharing.

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MRE1956 4/19/2012 6:39AM

    Sigh - chocolate is my "DOC"........I SOOOOOOO hear you on this issue! Thank you for sharing!

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CARLATHISTIME 4/19/2012 6:37AM

    I am with you on the fries as a trigger.. wishing you all the best! emoticon

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THINKPINK06 4/19/2012 6:31AM

    thanks for sharing!

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ONEKIDSMOM 4/19/2012 6:31AM

    Yep! Got a list, myself that I cannot bring into the house... and a few that I can't even have "out"... they trigger a response in me similar to that of an alcoholic. Honesty about this is essential to long-term success!

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GRAMPIAN 4/19/2012 6:30AM

  So true! emoticon

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    Great Blog!! Thanks for sharing.

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SCHECK5 4/19/2012 6:18AM

    you hit that one just right...very nice blog!

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CAMAEL100 4/19/2012 6:07AM

    The smell of home made baking is my trigger! And as a mom of two who likes to bake with them, I have to learn to manage it as opposed to staying away from it altogether. Friday is their treat day at school where they are allowed bring in one small treat - so I am baking cookies in the morning - wish me luck.

I have learnt to make smaller batches or else put the leftovers straight in the freezer!

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SPROUTLET 4/19/2012 5:47AM

    Such a true description of food addiction and the daily battle! Thank you for posting.

I just read about a technique that hypnotherapists use which involves picturing the trigger food becoming something disgusting. They used French Fries as an example. In a state of relaxation, you're asked to imagine a bowl of French Fries, and then imagine the same bowl filled with worms instead. Anyway...

I wish you the best.

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PATTOMMC3 4/19/2012 5:38AM

    You are so very right!

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SUSANK16 4/19/2012 5:37AM

  Interesting idea about the card - certainly a good reminder

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LYNMEINDERS 4/19/2012 5:15AM

    I love the No Fry Zone...need to create one of those for myself...thankyou

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SUZHOLLE 4/19/2012 5:11AM

    Wow! Awesome blog! You really got me thinking about being on that lose-gain roller coaster. I've lost over 80 lbs on SP but have been struggling lately with binging when I get home from work. I don't know what my trigger food is/are but I do know the time of day that's worst for me. I just can't even taste something until dinner or it sets me off. Thanks for helping me think about things differently. emoticon

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THEIS58 4/19/2012 4:57AM

    Well said. Great phrase!

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NCSUE0514 4/19/2012 4:53AM

    "No fry zone" - I love it!
I've begun to learn the value of avoiding trigger foods. Thanks for the reminder of how important this lesson is!

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FAERY_FACE 4/19/2012 3:42AM

    Wow. What a great blog. I have been struggling with my trigger food, bread, the last week. I never thought of myself as an emotional eater until I realised that I am emotional about giving up my "daily bread". Than you for an honest insight into your life.

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POPPY1010 4/19/2012 3:08AM

    My addiction is home made bread. My husband loves it but if I make it for him I end up eating far more than is healthy and then I feel guilty.
So now I have found a bread that he likes and I dont. Just add cheese to the mix and it makes me feel nauseous.
Thanks for your honesty, and I love your background... RESPECT SELF.
Have a great day x

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KJOETIEPAAI 4/19/2012 3:07AM

    what a great idea to make a list that you keep. Now I see more value in tracking my food.
I don't really know what triggers me, but it's always sweet.

But thanks to reading healthy books, I do get my head around smart choices... But sometimes, I just crave these foods that will get me off track big time...

good for you!!!!

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PHILOSOPHER_GRL 4/19/2012 3:07AM

    Your post is right on the money. I'm glad I took the time to read it. I too lost over 70 lbs when I first joined SparkPeople and then, one day I had a free-for-all and that was all it took. It was downhill from there. I am trying again to lose all those pounds I gained back. This post will stay with me when I think of eating a "trigger food." Thank you for the wisdom you've shared here.

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HYATTI1 4/19/2012 2:53AM


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TELISHA76 4/19/2012 1:51AM

  Ok I'm new to spark people and you've already hit a nerve! I must admit I really like cake. It has gotten me in trouble in the past. As I embark on this journey I will undoubtedly remember this blog. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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THEJENNIX 4/18/2012 11:19PM

    Well-written as your previous post was. So inspired and motivated by your zest for well-being. Love it!!! So excited for you!!

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RSTENNER 4/18/2012 5:13PM

    You have said it all, "NO FRY ZONE", I need to put a few of these signs up in my kitchen and my wallet and purse when we go out to dinner once a week, maybe a sign in my car if need be! Thanks for the great tip today!


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    I'm a former fast food addict. I have to fly by the golden arches and every other greasy logo as I can't afford to smell the food or entertain the idea of eating it because if I do I will certainly stop and have just one.......................BIG FISH and LARGE FRIES or something equally awful. And just one is all I need all day for calories and way more than I need for fat and carbs. Some people can order a plain burger and throw away the bun and choke down a dry salad but that doesn't work for me. That would leave me ravenous. My addiction doesn't understand moderation. I have to AVOID.

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WILDHONEYPIE1 4/18/2012 2:56PM

    You always make me think. I've often thought about why eliminating gluten from my diet has worked well for me. I think you have "hit the nail on the head" in that eliminating gluten has also eliminated most baked goods which are a HUGE trigger for me. (As evidenced every time I bake any type of gluten free anything.) Thank you as always. emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 4/18/2012 2:02PM

    I'll see your french fries and raise you a cookie!

I am starting to see just how much a of a trigger sugar is for me. Cookies in particular. For me, they are the ultimate comfort food (my mom was the cookie-baking queen) combined with a known addictive substance (sugar). What a powerful combo!

I did a slightly different kind of fooling myself a few weeks ago. I found cookies that are all-allergen free and really quite good. Ha. The reason they are so tasty is because they are mostly sugar. But I since have had to admit that just because they are safe for my suspected food intolerances and made with organic cane sugar, it's still GARBAGE and it trips my brain into garbage thinking: "at least they are healthy cookies!"


We ARE all worth it! I'm so grateful that we all have each other to help figure this stuff out and solidify it for each other. Because we also are who we hang around with. emoticon

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MSSUNBUG 4/18/2012 1:45PM

    I've gotten a lot of flack for eliminating foods from my diet. I don't shy away from the "a" word, although I definitely once did. When people ask me why I'm not eating such-and-such, I tell them I'm allergic. It's true to the extent that when one eats a food they are allergic to, they have set the stage for bodily discomfort, sometimes the kind that lasts for days, emotional distress, and a whole wide stage of unpleasant side effects. Mine might not be, for the most part, physical reactions or manifestations. But they're "allergic reactions" all the same.

Recognizing and drawing boundaries is a really important step. I've dappled in a lot of my trigger foods off and on since I began identifying them a few years ago (I can spare anyone who thinks this is a good idea the suspense: it always leads to regret, and the taste of the food is never worth the emotional and mental tailspin I have to climb out of on the other side). There is only ONE I have never touched, not in nearly three years: french fries. THey are, for me, the biggie. I relate in a lot of ways, John.

Now that you've identified the foods you can't eat, time to focus in on the ones you can: which are delicious, colorful, and won't put you through, emotionally or physically, what those trigger foods will! Kudos!

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_AIYANNA_ 4/18/2012 1:34PM

    As always, my dearest John, your words have really struck a chord with me. Thank you for giving me something to think about and something to work on.

I am a highly addictive person and have been fooling myself for the longest time that I can control it.

Take care,
Elen from Greece xxx

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LESSOFPMCD 4/18/2012 1:32PM

    Another great blog! Knowing your triggers is great - stay away from them and you are able to keep on the path to health.

Why do others think they know us better than we know ourselves?

Recently I stopped drinking and friends and family still are saying just one won't hurt but I know that isn't true.

We all know our limits in our lives and we only have ourselves to control what does or does not go into our bodies.

We have to take responsibilty for us and not be persuaded by others. You sound determined to relose the weight and keep it off this time.

Remember we can do this and we will do this!

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WORLDSERIES11 4/18/2012 1:13PM

    Once again you tell it like it is. I love how you always mention that "I am worth it"....I need that reminder...alot!

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REJ7777 4/18/2012 12:42PM

    It helps me to read about someone I respect having food addictions. Those who don't have one can't understand those who do. Moderation is great for those who can handle it. But in my case, I just have to keep certain foods OUT of the house. They can trigger a binge. And there's a element of shame to that. But it's better to deal with reality than to deny it!

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You have a wonderful way with words. Thanks for sharing, and best wishes on your weight loss journey.


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KATHRYN1955 4/18/2012 11:33AM

    I have heard it said that the combination of sugar, salt and fats is every bit as addictive as heroin. It is what the fast food and processed food industry count on to keep up their sales. We need to get downright angry and decide that our good health is worth more than lining the pocketbooks of big business. I realize that as responsible adults we make our own decisions, but today's fast-paced society makes it more convenient to take the path of least resistance when it comes to food preparation. There, now, I have had my rant for today. And as you say, as easy as it is to gradually slip back into old behaviours, deep down, we know what is really happening and we will do almost anything to justify that addiction.
Thanks, John, for a very thought-provoking blog.
I shall now go to prepare my very healthy lunch and I will take the time to make that vegetable soup.

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EGALITAIRE 4/18/2012 11:30AM

    So very true. I don't know that I have an addiction to one food, but many. What I have found is working for me is pre-planning. I have focused on thinking ahead to situations where I might be tempted.

It takes a lot of work and focus, but it has been working for me. My basic philosophy is that I can't just eliminate a food or foods without having something specific to replace it with.

If I don't have on hand a specific on-plan replacement, I will feel deprived. When I have something to replace the forbidden food, I feel like I have a choice, and I choose healthy.

Sounds a little like mental gymnastics, but it has been working for me.

Stay strong and Spark On

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