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Food and Money - a connection

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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. emoticon
For those who are interested, here is the link to the thread where I originally posted this:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ERIN1957
    need a lot of work :(
    1589 days ago
    Great blog!

    My husband has always commented, when we see a movie star who has become fatter & more famous, that you can tell now that they are doing well financially. Success makes them fatter - at least some of them.

    Others are like this also. They can afford restaurants, fine wine, fine candies, etc. Also sometimes the more successful, the more busy they are and the less time or desire to cook a meal.

    For us, I have saved so much money by eating healthier, as we use to eat out every.single.meal

    I am saving even more now, over when I started my journey. Food just isnt the priority. Good quality is, which does cost a bit more perhaps, but in the long run, we just arent eating as much. It is more just for fuel than for pleasure. I do enjoy it when I eat and I am thankful for it, but my life does not revolve around it like it use to :)

    I have also found good places to shop for those items of interest to me. Hardly even go to the regular grocery store anymore, except for maybe produce until I can get back to my other stores. My old store where I use to shop regularly, moved into a new building, so if I do happen to need something on the inner aisle, I have a very hard time finding it now :)
    1589 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/12/2013 2:48:12 PM
    1590 days ago
    Great blog thanks for posting.
    1590 days ago
    geat blog, and I have a big sugar addiction, and I do realize that when I get rid of my unhealthy carbs, I will be on the right path, but it is oh so hard, I give up candy, cookies and sweets and eat fruit constantly, (not such a great idea) but, anyway really enjoyed the blog, and I will study on it.
    1590 days ago
    Thanks for posting this Birgit. It's interesting to draw a correlation between eating and spending money. At first, I was tempted to say that while I do overeat, I don't overspend. As I read further, it occurred to me that I do in fact "binge spend" sometimes in much the same manner as I overeat.

    1590 days ago
    I added the link of the original posting on the low-carb forum at the end now.
    1590 days ago
    Really well said -- thank you for this!
    1590 days ago
  • REJ7777
    It's encouraging to see that by solving one problem, you solved the other. They seem to be intricately linked... for better or for worse.
    1590 days ago
    Excellent blog! I think I'm approaching my budgeting in nearly the same way I'm approaching my changes in eating and exercising - one positive and doable habit at a time.

    In terms of getting my eating under control, I had no success until I addressed the underlying physiological imbalance. Once I knew what was causing the majority of my problems I was able to switch to healthier eating overnight. After that point, though, all other changes have been gradual, step by step, and sometimes sidewise moves.

    I'll have to give some thought as to what the fiscal equivalent of low carb is, though!

    In FlyLady's world, fixing a problem by getting at the root behavior/disorder is called shining the sink! The first thing (and nearly the ONLY thing) you're required to do when you take on her system is to go and not just empty and clean your kitchen sink, but to actually SHINE it as well.
    1590 days ago
    Can you post a link to the original discusssion? I'd like to read the posts that you mentioned.
    1590 days ago
  • RUDITUDI2000
    Just the blog I needed today....love it. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1590 days ago
  • GABBY0913
    Love this post! I completely agree with your link of binge eating and overspending; I found that just as I over ate, hid my snacking/binging habits, and lied about my food intake, I also over spent, hid my shopping/spending habits, and lied about the products I brought home. Sometimes they would coincide; I'd tell my husband my friend bought me dinner, when really I paid for the both of us to go out to eat. Now as I'm getting my eating under control, I'm trying to help my spending as well. I've created a nice mess of debt for myself that is no one's fault but my own, and I have to fix this myself.

    Thanks for sharing!
    1591 days ago
    this is an interesting link I wouldn't have seen, thx for sharing
    1591 days ago
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