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Crackers, I Tell You, It's Crackers!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013



I've been struggling to Spark over the past two weeks or so. I'm in a vicious cycle--I am not eating well so I avoid Spark; avoiding Spark People reinforces the impulses to eat poorly.

I have been caught up in the insanity of poor choices. I need to rectify things at once. Here's my story: by day, I'm a decent citizen. I walk in the morning and in the afternoon I almost always work out --aerobics, strength training, cardio, etc. at the gym. We prepare and eat decent and varied dinners. Sometimes the two extremely thin men I live with---Mr. Greasy Joan who does not understand how it's humanly possible to weigh more than 150 pounds and Greasy Joan Minor, my string-bean of a tall middle-aged son, cook. They have health in mind and it's typically vegetarian, wholesome fare with just the right amount of nutrients and sufficient calories. (Did you ever wonder who wears "men's small" sizes? That's my son!)

Nothing is wrong with this picture.

But about two hours after dinner I have been going berserk. I eat mindlessly in the kitchen. I don't have traditional "junk food" but we do have a lot of peanut butter and crackers. I get lazy at night and I never slice a piece of bread so I turn to crackers. And more crackers. Like a shark in a sea infested with crackers I cruise around the kitchen cramming these crackers into my maw.

And in about 30 minutes I can easily consume 500 to 700 calories of peanut butter and crackers.

I have banished foods that traditionally caused me night-time trouble. But I cannot banish peanut butter and crackers which the slender men in my life are heavily dependent on. They know how to eat them. One or two here or there when they are hungry. For me the carbs go straight to my brain and demand more more more.

That's my story. I'm crackers over crackers. I struggled long and hard to get into "one-derland". And just today I am a couple of ounces above it.

They are kind to me and they suffer me gladly, but my husband and son have given up having sweets in the house for my sake. They have given up having salty snacks in the house for my sake. A few weeks ago Mr Greasy Joan remarked that he missed having pretzels around. And I felt wretched. He can have a pretzel; but I will just finish the box mindlessly. I cannot ask them to give up crackers.

I hope that the public humiliation of announcing that I am helpless over crackers will spur me on to do something about it. Maybe I should write a daily blog chronicling my abusive co-dependent relationship with the crackers.

Tonight I will see if eating 100 extra calories at dinner makes any significant difference.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 5/8/2013 10:38PM

    Crack ho here too. Nice to know I have so much company! Peanut butter does not mesmerize me, for me it is cheese. Just a bit of cheese on my cracker...
I have succeeded in cutting down quantity...in choosing a lower-calorie yet tasty cracker (Wasa brod, Ak-mak, cocopops)...in substituting fruit of various kinds...
I really really like a bit of wine with my cracker or a cracker with my bit of wine...
Saving it until late in the evening does help.
Having a tasty finish to my evening meal does help.
There is no one fix for me...
I've read these cracker blogs in reverse order and it sounds like you are doing really well.
My problem when I eliminate entirely is that then I have a binge.
I'll be interested in the continuing story...and congrats on reaching (almost? now? Onederland! Woo hoo!)
emoticon emoticon

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EXOTEC 5/5/2013 2:37PM

    omg

Ile de France mini toasts.
ohhhh noo......

save me -
commiseration and condolences to you

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NOSNACKER-57 5/3/2013 5:28AM

    Hi there, might be those crackers have are High Glycemic which would cause you to crave them and eat them mindlessly. I had a box of Triscets and was getting into them so I threw the box out while I was strong and even too the bag out side, why because I have went dumpster diving :)

I bet that is what is is high gi, even if stone ground..wheat is wheat.



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LRSILVER 5/2/2013 5:02AM

    Good luck.

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LIBBYL1 5/2/2013 12:40AM

  ...also had a bad bad few weeks of eating. And at least you have the crackers. I nibble on anything - including just spoonfuls of peanut butter. The left overs meant for the next day . the remains of my daughter's lunch box. And not just at night. All day at the moment. At least you track yours and know the calories.
But this week is a new one. ...

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CRISPINI 5/1/2013 10:42PM

    Hm, you know, if it's the salt / oil combo that you crave, have you looked into seaweed snacks? They totally hit that salt / oil button for me and one entire package is only 60 cal. But I totally understand what it's like to graze. I work from home and when I get bored or tired of what I am doing I have this tendency to do the same thing. I would suggest looking at what is going on emotionally when you graze in the evenings and try to come up with non-food substitutes, perhaps!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 5/1/2013 10:18PM

    Hi! Welcome to the club! Cracker Eater's anonymous. No seriously. I get where you are coming from. On Sunday night I devoured an entire row of Ritz crackers with peanut butter. But normally I can control myself until I get stressed. Then, nothing else will do.

However, I have found a few tricks that have helped me keep some foods in the house that I'd otherwise binge on. One trick is to designate a food as "HIS". In order to eat it I have to ask his permission. Which makes me stop and think about whether I really truly want it.

Second, I've recently started going gluten free and outside of the couple of stressed out cracker days I've been doing much better with the starchy, salty, sweet combo. Perhaps buying yourself some gluten free crackers (I really like the blue diamond ones) and try eating those.

Another thing I've done is to change the venue. If I eat the crackers/peanut butter in the kitchen, then I try to delay going into the kitchen... I'll just do this other thing first. It's tough to get through the first couple of minutes but if I do something active and fun I can usually get through it and not want it afterwards.

Upping the calories at dinner might help too. Or have something that says dinner is over (like a cup of fruit). Then go brush your teeth. I've heard it works for a lot of people. The brushing of the teeth signals food consumption for the day is over.

Good luck!

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THEMRSH 5/1/2013 9:54PM

    Try adding a dessert at your dinner. Like an oz of chocolate. I am following The Plan and each night at dinner I have an oz of dark chocolate and a glass of wine. It's like my finish. It's comforting and calming and I leave the table knowing that I don't need nor want anything else. This didn't use to be the case prior to starting this practice. I would eat and eat and eat up until the moment I crawled into bed.

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MONETRUBY 5/1/2013 9:50PM

    Lots of great suggestions here, so I have nothing to add as far as that is concerned. I will tell you that I can also find myself mindlessly snacking, even when I know I am not hungry and not in need of food. It is a battle of wills-my will to be healthier versus my will to eat what I want, when I want. No easy answers, just continually figuring out what works for me. I wish you the best-it's not an easy thing to figure out how to outsmart your desires.

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SPARKLE1908 5/1/2013 8:50PM

    I would space my meals/snacks out and save the PB/Crackers for as late as possible before bed...once you eat them, brush your teeth and go to bed...sometimes we have to try a jedi mind trick on ourselves in order to move forward...but you have gotten plenty of good advice...I hope you find what works for you!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 5/1/2013 8:48PM

    I'm a cracker whore too. They are my cryptonite. I would buy crackers I don't like in order to not be tempted but so far I have not found any I don't like. Unless they are stale and rancid they are not safe with me. And peanut butter is the same. Love it.

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POPSY190 5/1/2013 7:54PM

    I'm always bad after meals, especially at night. It's as though the meal primes my appetite. Salt's my downfall - I allow myself a bit of vegemite (yeast spread) on oat cakes (2) at night. That seems to stop me over-indulging right after dinner as I know I have them coming up.
The others are right - you are certainly not alone in this!

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CMRAND54 5/1/2013 7:36PM

    I feel your pain. My husband weighs about what yours does, and eats anything he wants. He just doesn't want as much. He can eat 3 Oreo Cookies and stop. He can eat one Ho Ho or cupcake and be satisfied. I keep going back for more. I ate 2 gluten free ice cream sandwiches today. We just have to keep trying.

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NORWOODGIRL 5/1/2013 5:55PM

    Breton crackers are my downfall. Fortunately I am the only one who eats them so I no longer buy them.

This is a helpful post. The people who responded show how common it is and how many ways have been tried to find a solution. I really, really appreciate it!

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SCOOTER4263 5/1/2013 5:07PM

    I have no helpful hint - just, perhaps, able to offer the satisfaction that you are not alone in this. I fall to pieces in the presence of crackers (especially those) and also the Terra Chips, which are made from vegetables but essentially delightfully greasy, salty things that are potato chips except not made form potatoes. I have to deny their existence.

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SHIRAZSOLLY 5/1/2013 3:13PM

    Night time snacking used to be my biggest problem, too. I finally just stopped. It was hard at first, because I really, really wanted to... I was jonesing, even, to go into the kitchen. It made me embarrassed to realize that I did indeed have an addiction to my secret sneaking of food at night. It took about two weeks for me to feel like I could really "handle" my new habit of not ever eating all by myself in the kitchen after everyone else went to sleep. Now it's no big deal. I just don't do it anymore. That doesn't stop me from having salt/fat cravings at least two days a month, though.

Peanut butter and dairy butter are the worst things to give in to because they undo exercise so fast, but they seem to be what I want the most. I ate about 5 tbsp. of peanut butter two days ago. I seem to be able to do without them ONLY if I have some salty and garlicky soup or something else instead. (The garlic intensifies the salt/fat taste so less is needed.) But if I don't have my salty, garlicky whatever, lookout, because I WILL overdose on peanut butter or dairy butter. And I can undo my exercise in no time.

I am trying to decide it's not a character flaw, but something about needs of women in a certain stage of life. I bought some ConcenTrace trace minerals to supplement my otherwise very good diet. I think they help.

There are probably a lot of women here who feel much kinship with you here! (Not only on the cravings, but also on the skinny husband thing. MY husband is 20 years older than I am and looks like he models clothes, dang him.)

You know, if you eat too many of those crackers, your blood sugar will skyrocket and you will put yourself in a stupor... stoned, even. Better to try the celery BusyBee else mentioned if you must have peanut butter.

Comment edited on: 5/1/2013 3:26:04 PM

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BUSYBEE37 5/1/2013 2:42PM

    put your PB on the old standby....celery. If not that, then something else that is NOT carb based. See if that helps. Maybe the carbs are what's setting you off.

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JIBBIE49 5/1/2013 2:06PM

    You could skip dinner and not have those calories until about 10 pm if that is when you really want to eat. But, the fact is that those crackers are no different thb eating cookies or cake, as they are all carbs and the crackers have a lot of SALT. Dr. BECK in "The BECK SOLUTION" says to yell STOP!!! NO WAY!!! GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN NOW!!! and a lot of other ways to deal with it.

Roger Gould MD in Shrink Yourself says the voice in our heads "Harriett" wants to lie to us and after we eat, she tells us how WORTHLESS we are and what a FAILURE we are which has nothing to do with the crackers, so like Dr. Phil says there is a PAY OFF. I quit doing night eating some time ago, and drink a quart of kool aid with Stevia made with Spring Wateris how I fill up. When I was doing the night cravings I'd take the food in the bathroom (always ice cream, sugar of some kind, etc.) and take a bite and when I was ready to swallow I'd spit it in the sink. I'd do that until the craving past (usually when the food was gone) and then I'd clean the sink, brush my teeth and drink my no cal drink. then I'd go read a book and KNOW that I didn't have the food in my body and HARRIET wasn't telling me how I'd failured.

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BRAVELUTE 5/1/2013 2:03PM

    See how it goes with extra food at supper. If that doesn't help, I'd consider reading the labels on the peanut butter and crackers. My guess is the culprit is the peanut butter. The peanut butter I used to buy had sugar, salt, and oil added. And I craved that combination.

I switched over to other nut butters (almond or walnut) that are ONLY ground up nuts for a while. Then I found peanut butter that was ONLY ground up peanuts. The oil separates from these, but I know how to stir it up. I just bought a nutribullet and I'm going to check out grinding my own nut butter fresh as I want it.

What a difference that made. I actually plan a snack or as part of a meal, to eat 1/2 of a sprouted grain English muffin toasted with a tablespoon of one of these "clean" nut butters. And I don't crave it. Once or twice a week, the planned serving, and that's it. I COULD plan it daily, but I don't like to get in a rut.

So? there's technically nothing wrong with nut butters or putting them on something, unless the way you're doing it causes a binge. Experiment and figure out what is causing the binge and try to figure out what will fix it.

Oh, I also like to eat sliced apple with the T. of nut butter as a dip for an evening snack.

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KLUTZY68 5/1/2013 1:40PM

    I blogged about getting rid of PB yesterday--and then binged on it last night, with crackers! emoticon I know I didn't get enough water so I'm trying to be careful about that today, but I'm hungry. I keep thinking about going paleo...

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HELMTGRL 5/1/2013 1:24PM

    I have a bedtime ritual: a grapefruit. I peel each section (takes forever) and eat it, in bed. It cannot be eaten anywhere else; it has to be the last thing I do before getting ready for sleep (and the cat hates it, so sits at the end of the bed glaring).

Knowing that I will have that grapefruit allows me to fight off the cravings, which otherwise would be of the "OMG, I'm hungry I'm gonna die" nature. Summer, of course, wreaks havoc with this, as grapefruit are out of season, and so I have to come up with something else, but you get the idea: perhaps knowing that you will get something to eat, and limiting what that is, would help.

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5KGRANNY 5/1/2013 1:14PM

    This may sound silly, but brush your teeth. At night after I have brushed my teeth I won't eat anything else so if I have the urge to eat I brush my teeth first.

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AMARILYNH 5/1/2013 1:12PM

    emoticon I can't help with the crackers but I can tell you one thing - it is NOT humiliating behavior!! It is human behavior!!! I too have a problem with night time cravings - and when I'm tired my willpower often goes into hiding. I just read a blog I think we can both learn from - I'll go find it and come back to share it. But just wanted to send you hugs!!

Here you go (can't do a link here - sorry):

http://www.sparkpeop
le.com/mypage_public_journal.as
p?id=PIXIE-LICIOUS

I love her idea - ask yourself if you are hungry enough to eat an apple and if you are, eat it!! For you maybe add some peanut butter so it won't elevate your blood sugar?

Comment edited on: 5/1/2013 1:15:37 PM

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PINKNFITCARLA 5/1/2013 1:10PM

  I hope adding the extra calories at dinner helps, or maybe filling up with water after dinner (if you can do that and not get up all night!). Kudos to you for doing well the rest of the day though! Some of mindlessly eat all day.

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