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Food Rehab: Trigger Foods

Friday, July 05, 2013

So I was going to start out this post with a "The food I have the hardest time saying 'no' to is..." but then I realized something. That wouldn't be *A* food; I have a LIST of foods that I have trouble saying "No" to. That list would include:

+ Sharp cheese
+ Soft, fresh bread
+ Cosco Carrot Cake
+ Two Tart cookies
+ Cupcake Jones cupcakes (particularly the cookie dough one)
+ Oreo Cookie ice cream
+ Hawaii's BBQ chips
+ Bagels and cream cheese

If I don't have them around me, it's not hard to say "No". (It's especially easy to say "No" to the Two Tart cookies and Cupcake Jones cupcakes, because I have to drive downtown to get them!) But if they are near me, my mouth drools, I start to make chewing motions, and I otherwise look longingly at them.

Finding out what my tempting foods are wasn't difficult. It's the foods I dream about, I crave for, that I drool over when I am near. The hard part instead is my subsequent reaction to them.

Because of my current weight loss regime, I can't eat ANY of those things. For me, I think this was a good thing; before, I couldn't resist any of those items. Literally. If they were available, they would end up in my stomach. For me, going on the diet program Take Shape for Life gave me great incentive not to have anything to do with them. And when you are first trying to work through your food addiction, complete eradication and removal of these items is VERY important.

It's been almost 8 months since I ate any of those items, and I'm doing OK. Being away from the memories about how "good" they are helps. It also helps that my entire existence does not revolve around getting them and eating them. I've restructured my life so it doesn't include weekend trips downtown for cupcakes and cookies or trips to the grocery store after work for more cheese and BBQ chips.

But when I get off program and slip into maintenance, THAT is when the work will begin. THAT is when I will really have to find another way to hold myself back. And it seems hard, but I think I already have some of the tools in place:

1. Like I said above, my life isn't structured around getting one of my temptation foods. I don't spend weekends making trips downtown that "conveniently" end up in the Cupcake Jones/Two Tarts area. I don't drop by a grocery store to pick up chips and cookies and candies during lunch, and I don't buy loaves of bread and cheese after work for dinner.

2. Closely related to number 1, I plan my meals. I don't have to wonder and fret about what I am going to eat; it's all ready. I don't have to rely on my "hunger" (actually more like my body cravings!) to tell me that I need to have some cookies or cheese; I rely on the time.

3. I am learning when to say "I'm full" or "I've had enough" instead of eating everything in one go. The day will come when I do eat another Two Tart cookie (BTW, these cookies are small, not the ginormous coffee shop saucers that you can buy). And that day, I will eat one or two and be satisfied, instead of eating a half dozen or a dozen.

4. I see where I was and where I am now, and I don't EVER want to go back to 268 pound woman. That life, chained to food, unable to do the things I wanted, was NOT FUN. I am FINALLY becoming the skinny girl I've always known lived inside me. I like this person, and I don't want to lose me again!

5. The food industry WANTS me to eat and eat and eat and eat. That is how they make their money. They don't make money when I am satisfied; they make money by constantly making me want more. Why would I want to "feed" their pocket books with being unhealthy and fat?

6. A lot of the foods I particularly like aren't that good for me. They are filled with sugars, fats, and salts, but also names of ingredients that are unpronounceable and man-made. Do I want to end up like that Twinkie joke, my body "dead", but perfectly preserved in 200 years???

These things I think will carry me through maintenance. But one thing I've learned this health journey is that I AM NOT ALONE! I need the support of friends and family to make it through. So I leave this post somewhat open-ended and with a question for my wonderful SparkFriends, who have supported and encouraged me constantly:

Do YOU have suggestions for how to keep me through maintenance, to keep a healthy perspective on foods and to maintain an appropriate relationship with foods that I find tempting??? What works for you? What are your trigger foods and how do you handle them? Is it possible to eat your trigger foods or do you have to eradicate them entirely from your diet?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • OOLALA53
    I never removed any foods, but I did limit them to only certain times. I still overate them a lot but that has dropped away for the most part.

    I have been at it for 3.5 years. I got past the honeymoon and the slumps. It is getting easier all the time. I don't aim for a certain weight goal. I aim for true hunger, satiety, and vitality. I might be able to be a few pounds thinner if I lived for the scale, but I'd rather not, if that's what it takes. But it is some people's path.

    It takes 2-5 years to get solid with new eating habits. If you're a year in, great!
    1710 days ago
    I just read this part of your blog and not sure if you will revisit it again. I read the book The Hunger Fix and found out that I am a foods addict, the science behind it is there and sound, I am also a geek so I actually understood what it was saying when they were explaining the science behind it, food addicts are addicted to food just liked alcoholics are addicted too alcohol or druggies are to drugs, the brain scans prove it. It is all located, well most of it in the pre frontal lobe. My problem was that even when I was full I still has to have dessert or something sweet, and I just could not stop at one cookie. I also loved pasta, fresh bread, butter, things like that. After reading the book I went on a detox diet, and yes I dreamed of cupcakes and breaking my diet accidentally with cookies - hated those dreams! But the one thing the book preaches is that just liked a drug addict or alcoholic you have to stay away from your trigger foods for life, but if you do slip up, you just have to detox again. I love knowing that after I finish dinner I am full and content and am not searching the cupboards for the allusive sweet thing that just never seemed to satisfy my hunger, no matter how full I was. I eat much healthier now, took awhile to get my family on board and I eat a wide variety f foods. Dinner is my main meal with most of my calories, I usually have a small breakfast then maybe a snack then dinner, just how my sleeping pattern goes is the reason why. I started during the last week of April, am disabled, unable to do any type pf exercises with my legs and have been sick it seems for the last month. I got in about 2 weeks of exercises before I became sick, just my lucky! I have finally lost 25 pounds, my husband does not really seam to notice, to busy with other things but I am not doing this for him, like you I am doing this for me. My daughter when I told her how much I lost said "oh you lost a kid", my daughter is 26. I just looked at her shook my head and told her that is what every mother wants to hear from there child when they tell them they have lost weight that they lost a toddler. I had to laugh though, only she could put it that way. When I finally loosen the other 20, to make it 45 altogether wonder what age range she will come up with, or if it gets to 50? All my kids were extremely slender growing up with her and my youngest being on the small size for years. She actually wore size 5 (she was 5 and 6 years old) 2 years in a row, I was beginning to think she was never going to grow. All of three wore slims, she is not even 5'2, the biggest she has ever been was 7, she is down between a 1 and 3 do to medical issues, she is not happy because for the first time she lost her boobs. My mother struggled with her weight all her life, she was only 5'2 also and had diabetes, I had gestational diabetes and she was adamant that I would have them also, I believe the only reason I did not was because I had a very active job so no weight problem, I could eat what ever I wanted and I burned it off, it was only after I was injured at work and could no longer that weight became an issue and food became more of a crutch. So now I am finally taking it in hand and loosing it the right way for the right reasons and will have to stay away from sweets and breads and trigger foods for life so I can stay this way. I love being back in control and if that means giving up those foods I can live with that. I will just eat more fruits and veggies and put them in plain greek yogurt, add a little sugar and freeze and there is your ice cream! Better for you and nothing artificial and has protein. I pray this finds you well on your way to your goal, and I pray you find better solutions than falling back onto trigger foods. I know that staying away from these foods and breaking these habits for life can work I have done this before with fast food before I knew the science behind it. I still do not eat fried food to this day. Sugary foods are much harder to give up though, but I am going to do every thing I can to live this way. Sparks has an excellent article about the different sugars in The Truth about Sweeteners.. I just read it yesterday and went to the health food store and purchased a few, still need to find a couple more so I can experiment, these have more minerals and some even have iron in them, which artificial sweeteners and refine sugar does not. Just another way of helping get a healthy fix on our life style change. I pray that your journey continues successfully and happily. Let nothing stand in your way. Use adversity to your advantage, funnel anger to your exercise, and never let anyone take your self worth away. You have come to far, done to much to hand that over to anyone else. Be proud you earned that right.
    1714 days ago
  • MY1FAN
    Love your blog. I'm 7 months out of not eating my trigger foods. In the past I would go for awhile not having them and then I would re-introduce them back into my eating plan. That didn't work to well for me because I would always end back at square one. Losing control over them. So I decided to leave them alone for good.
    1721 days ago
    I think the attitude that's helped me is that I HAVEN'T gotten off the program and slipped into maintenance. I reached my "goal" weight 14 months ago and I haven't gone back to my unhealthy habits. I'm still refining things -- eating more natural healthy foods and finding exercises that I enjoy. (I'm 15 pounds below my initial goal weight!) It's about a healthy lifestyle, not about the number on the scale. I still log every bite of food, weigh myself daily, wear a pedometer, etc. It's just part of my life. I've had success with eating small portions of what I used to consider trigger foods. I can eat one serving and put the rest of the pint of ice cream back in the freezer! I strive for honesty now, instead of eating in secret.

    It feels so good to be healthy! I wish you all the best!
    1721 days ago
    Once you get in the habit of LABEL READING you will be amazed at the shelf life garbage in there. The shelf life, preservatives and flavor enhancements are chemicals our body does no need, A lot of it is addictive.
    Learn to substitute your own favorite foods, Make them Freeze them and Portion control them. THE WORD CONTROL IS KEY Control what you BUY.
    Control what you Prepare for your family. Control what you eat and of course portion control.
    Look at the practical side of that. It helps your wallet to become fatter and your body leaner.
    Avoid processed foods they are the result of wanting year round availability of everything and it works and people buy and become so used to those foods they cannot get them out of their mind. Once you find YOUR own foods it is much easier and maintenance should be a walk in the Park. If you are hoping to get to maintenance to eat these things that got you there in the first place you are overly prioritizing the goal. The goal is to eat healthy and change your priorities. That is the time others do just that and then they come back over again. That is the dreaded YO-YO effect. Put the bad choices behind you and find your new good choices.
    It takes will power and determination at first, eventfully it is a healthier lifestyle. emoticon Pat in Maine.
    1722 days ago
    Hey Girl! I hear you 100%. You know I'm doing my DIY medifast plan (week 10 now), so I have to make all my own meals! Trigger foods are right there in the grocery isle and I often think that some of them are healthy and could be incorporated some way with "portion control".

    For example - Honey roasted nuts and almonds, are my trigger foods. I can swallow a jar in seconds! Like a crack head I would go, yeah ok...1/4 cup serving, pssshh no problem. Then boom before the end of the day the whole jar was gone. I put it in recipes, replace whole meals with them etc = which led to binge eating and buying more food. I find that like a recovering addict it's never a good idea to let your main "trigger foods" back into your plan ever, and not just the bad ones like Costco Carrot Cake lol. Trigger foods that are semi healthy are a problem too.

    I wouldn't give a recovering alcoholic a shot of whiskey here and there so...why would I do that to myself if I'm a food addict. I can live without it! Find something else, there are always options. Yeah its not fair, yeah it sucks, but the rewards are better. I find that I had to stop validating why I "deserve it" or why "I can have it now...look at me, I'm getting healthy, I'm in control". When I have trigger foods in my face I'm never in control, no matter how I would LOVE to think so. My life is better. My mental health and physical health is better without those foods in my life F'N me up and tripping me up on my journey. I DON'T need that stress. I will always be on a "Diet" and that is not a bad thing. It's the people who aren't who need to watch themselves!

    k out my blog entry


    1722 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/6/2013 7:59:15 AM
    Great blog! You are not alone! For me, most of the food I love I can not eat any more due to life threatening allergies so that is an easy out for me. I love love chocolate and ice cream but most that stuff contains nuts and I can't have that. Frozen bananas taste better than ice cream! Another favorite dessert in our house is made with Greek yogurt, tofu and chocolate.

    I know the stuff, that I would eat in one sitting I do not keep in the house. For me if I want to treat myself to a cupcake I buy one and a savour it. If I am going to have chips, rather than buy a big bag and end up eating more than I planned I buy only the small snack size bag. A better choice than potato chips which I love is sweet potato chips, no oil, no salt.

    Keep up the good work!
    1722 days ago
    Most of this blog could describe me to a 'T'!! Although I am not quite as far a long in my self-realization journey as you and I still get cravings that are at times REALLY hard to not give into but getting better. For me, I had to completely banish the weakness foods from my diet but I am hoping by the time I finish MF I will be able to just occasionally indulge in small quantities of the yummy foods but not often.

    emoticon and emoticon .... definite weaknesses!! Doesn't help that I live in wine country either!!

    Thanks for another great blog!!
    1722 days ago
  • OKIE30
    Great blog! I'm just starting on my journey, but I will say that once a week, you could treat yourself to high caloric foods.
    1722 days ago
    I would think one of the best things to do is to learn how to cook healthy versions of some of these foods. One of the awesome things about the internet is all the food blogs, and so very many of them are healthy blogs. So if You want to splurge, avoid the chemicals, and learn to make twinkies I have done this for my daughter before- they are really good- and are requested for b-days instead of cake some years. Limiting prepared foods(boxes, cans, packages)and instead have the ingredients on hand to make healthy meals with less salt, sugar and fat, but with better flavor through herbs and spices. It is more work. I have nights when I would love nothing more then to buy a stoffer's frozen lasagna and shove it in the oven and be done with it. But my family would be just as happy if I made a vetable lasagna and it's healthier. I plan a weekly menu, including snacks and try to stick to it. Learning to see the number of portions in a recipe( I divide food portions into individual containers if there are leftovers), and preportioning snack in zip lock bags is very helpful.
    Sweets and breads are always going to be my trigger foods. I don't avoid then 100%, but I do limit my contact with them.

    Chocloate Covered Katie is one of many fave blogs for healthy desserts -http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/<
    BR>and a good starting point.

    You are smart, and obviously ready to make the jump to maintenance, understanding that its something You will have to work at, just like losing weight was. I predict You have the discipline and commitment to continue with your healthy life style and live life to the fullest.
    Continued SUCCESS!

    1722 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/5/2013 8:02:34 PM
  • TONYAB2000
    It seems that the "maintaining" part of weight loss is probably the hardest, once you reach it. You are healthy, you are happy, you are where you want to be, so it would be so easy to slip up and start back up that slippery slope of overeating again. Unfortunately, I have no ideas for when you reach that goal. I'm still quite a few pounds away. You have a wonderful grasp on where you have been and where you want to be so I think you will do great.
    1722 days ago
    hungrygirl.com has some cool transformed recipes of bad stuff we love to eat made with healthier items. i haven't tried any yet, but plan to!
    1722 days ago
    Hi Carolyn,
    I am months away from maintenance but I have bought 2 great cookbooks," eat what you love" and "more eat what you love" that are full of yummy recipes for all kinds of treats but made with way less fat and calories. When I was in the middle of my sugar addiction these probably would not have satisfied me. But I'm hoping that now that I am retraining myself that these better versions will taste just as good once I've hit my goals. I can post more info about the books when I am home if you are interested

    Keep up the great attitude!

    1722 days ago
  • AGOALOF150
    You are doing sooooo well. A lot of people on here look to you as an inspiration, hopefully that helps to keep you motivated.
    I have heard that the challenge is maintenance but you have been practicing good behaviour for the past 8 months and you need to remember that and that even though you have hit your target, the job has just begun and that it is a lifestyle change. you can still have these treats but you need to be very aware when you do.

    1722 days ago
    Wish I had the answers ... ! You are a little further along on your journey than I am. I think you are doing very well making good choices now, as they are prescribed by your current program. But you are evaluating the past and looking ahead and planning for the future, which I think will serve you well.

    No question that maintenance takes as much -- or more -- effort to succeed. That is where so many of us slip up. Best wishes! I look forward to reading responses from more seasoned maintainers!
    1722 days ago
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