This post is copied from a post I made in an ongoing thread on the low-carb forum about eating on a budget. I realized that it is part of my personal story as well so decided to re-post it here:
Wow, great posts, Woubbie and Budgetmom, they give me a lot to think about.
I remember that when I first went low-carb it was much harder for me to stay within a budget. I simply had learned all my life that food is a primary source of pleasure and was working hard to keep it that way. This led to overspending on yummy things like nuts, full-fat cheeses and meat that kept me from eating sugar/carbs.
I spent a fair amount of money re-creating my old-time favorites with low-carb versions, often using expensive ingredients like nut flours and Xylitol.
As my taste preferences gradually changed over the months it became easier to do without those as my sugar addiction went completely in the background (notice that I'm not saying it is gone, I have no illusions there).
Now it is getting progressively easier to enjoy other foods that I never got very excited about even if I liked them.
The reason is because the role of food in my life has changed after going to low-carb. I had been a consistent binge eater in High School and college and only saw a reason to try to restrain myself more and more in my late 20's as I realized the sugar addiction. It took another 10 years, until I was pregnant, to realize that this sugar addiction was not easy to give up, in spite of attempts at eating mostly healthy, organic foods. I think what sugar, wheat and other high-carb foods do to my brain is what makes me carbohydrate intolerant as much as what they do to my blood sugar and insulin levels.
Overspending on groceries was really similar to a drug addict spending all their income on drugs searching for a high.
Once the physical sugar addiction was gone I was able to look at the brain chemistry (food makes me feel good) issues a lot more in detail and develop strategies of meeting my emotional needs that made food into less of a god and just into replacement parts for my body that can be enjoyed in good company.
With food getting this very different role, it is now easier to do grocery shopping with nutrition in mind rather than planning the next "feel-good binge".
This is especially true around the holidays.
All of this is a process that I suspect I'm not entirely done with either. After all I was raised in a family where food was given an extremely important role for emotional well-being. This is probably like growing up in a family of smokers and trying to kick the habit. The roots of the habit go very deep.
All this now ties into the next issue: that of being a saver or a spender
For me they go together because both food and shopping represented feel-good moments that would be regretted later. That lovely day at the mall, including a meal, a snack or coffee and several purchases (all "bargains" of course) worked to make me happy in the short run but the results would typically show up in two places: my waist and my wallet.
So now I feel ready to tackle both at the same time, therefore this challenge, not like I have a choice though, those credit cards need paid off before my daughter goes off to college.
For those who are interested, here is the link to the thread where I originally posted this: