Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hi Ho Trigger

I hit 200 pounds on Sunday. I guess if Oprah can confess it so can I.

I have been using my food plan like a diet. Big surprise, it is not working. I just can't stick to it. But then I never could stick to restrictive diets. I lost a lot of weight on this plan a couple of years ago and just loved it. So what is the problem now? It is too limited. Who can go the rest of their lives without eating sugar, flour, nuts, bananas, cherries, avocados or grapes. I guess I could maybe pass on the mangoes but how in the world can you live and never again eat corn or ham? Or chew gum?

I decided to come at my increasing girth from another angle. I am not going to bring my trigger foods into the house.

According to much of the reading I have done one bite of sugar sets off a chemical reaction in some of our bodies that cannot be ignored and a craving and binge are sure to follow. I think that generalization is hooey. I do know what for me sets off a binge cycle. And that is really all I need to know. My prime set up for a binge is having my trigger foods close to hand. During my Christmas hiatus I sat down and figured out what food I could not leave alone or stop eating once I started. Here is the list.

1. Popcorn. If start eating this I am ravenous for hours afterward.
2. Mints. I could eat bags of these. (And have.)
3. Jam and jelly. I eat it until the whole jar is gone. Also chutney.
4. Baked goods. Most anything baked sings a siren song to me. Desserts are out also.
5. Apple cider and Vegetable juice cocktail. I drink the entire jug of both.
6. Flavored yogurt. Can't leave it alone until it is all gone. Yes even the
low sugar low fat kind.
7. Dried fruit. Lord help us I can eat a whole container of prunes. I then have to spend whole days and nights outdoors.
8. Flavored almonds, i.e. dark chocolate, vanilla, sea salt or chili flavored. The plain ones I can leave in the cupboard until they go stale.
9. Pistachios and macadamia nuts.
10. Ice cream, ice milk, frozen yogurt and gelato. Especially gelato.
11. Leftovers...not for long. Also lunch meat. Especially liver wurst.
12. Pizza and pretzels.
13. Soup. Is this not weird? I cannot leave soup alone once I have made it. I am obligated to eat it until the whole pot is empty.
14. Lasagna. See above.
15. Scalloped potatoes. Not fried, not baked, not mashed, just scalloped.
16. Candy. See mints.
17. Cherries and grapes. Same fallout as with prunes.
18. Hamburger assister. Anything and noodles. And gravy. I could drink gravy.
19. Cheesecake and all soft cheeses and flavored cheese and cheddar.
And Yes,
20. My old nemesis Peanut M & M's.

It is a long list but not impossible to ban from my house. Did you notice what is NOT on the list.

1. Bananas. I have never sat down and ate an entire bunch of bananas in my life. Or mangoes.
2. Potato chips. I don't like them. Corn chips I can take or leave. But pretzels...Nellie bar the door. I can inhale them.
3. Cold cereal. I could be drowning in sugary poffs and would not open my mouth to swallow it. I don't like it.
4. Peanuts and walnuts and cashews are okay but I wouldn't cross the street to seek them out.
5. Store bought bread. I have a loaf in the fridge going moldy.
6. Corn, I have never binged on corn.
7. Balsamic vinegar. I do not drink the stuff. Or blue cheese dressing or mayonnaise.
8. Honey. I have to microwave my honey because it keeps crystallizing. Also molasses and maple syrup.
9. Most potatoes, except scalloped.
10. Meat, fish, shell fish and veg. I do not binge on any of theses.
I have quit early with this list because what I can eat without bingeing is much longer than what I can't eat.

I guess my point is that it is purely personal what foods trigger my cravings and binges. Sugar in whatever form it enters my blood stream does not inevitably push me over the edge into overeating. It is something else. I don't know why the above listed foods send me face down into them. I suspect they have emotional associations of pleasure in my past. Comfort food.

But that is another post.

Take care of yourselves. I am.

Love Bea


Annimal said...

Very excellent list and very insightful. I need to make my own list. Top of it would be home-baked goods. When I make banana or pumpkin bread, I nibble, slice and open handed attack it until gone.
(nice thing about a house of teenagers--no such thing as leftovers)
I agree with you that a single bite of sugar sets off a cascade--phooey.
What sets me off is feeling the need to nurture myself, that inner aching that for the previous 49 years has been cuddled by food.
I am trying an experiment with diet pepsi though. I've been reading how the brain "reads" it as incoming fuel, but no fuel is digested, so it increases the appetite to make up for it.
I am not going to buy DP anymore, I am going to fix a nice cup of satisfying tea in the afternoon instead.
good teabag--tsp honey--lemon slice.
Yum, nothing better.
I'm going to see if that helps with my afternoon attacks of "Gotta EAT something"
I'll let you know.

LG said...

That is a very good list and one I should consider. I know cheese would be one of them but in thinking about it, I'm okay when I go out and get cheese on a sandwich. It's more that when I'm at home, isolated and watching tv that it becomes a problem.

Helen said...

I totally agree that banning your own "bad" foods from the house is KEY. I did that years ago. out...other "good" foods can become bingey and triggery too. If we have a tendency to fixate on particular foods, I think that tendency can be transferred when the old triggers are gone. At least that has happened with me. I hear people say that if we deal with WHY we eat that this fixation/behavior goes away. I personally can't say if that's true or not...I personally think this behavior might well be ingrained in me...forever. So I just have to learn to deal with it as best I can. Which changes from day to day sometimes!!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

we definitely all have our foods that trigger us. I have replacement foods that I keep around (along with the trigger foods). Not sure why I don't get rid of the trigger foods... (I have 3 kids and a totally unhealthy b/f! but he will eat good healthy stuff if I put it on his plate). Maybe I feel like I accomplished something if I pick the replacement instead of the trigger.

I know when I binge it's because I'm stressing over $, I feel/am poor and think "I'm never gonna eat again!" so I eat it all. I had this issue with french fries with a combo meal. It took me a year to convince myself I could have fries WHENEVER I wanted, I didn't HAVE to get them with my combo meal, so now I replaced fries with a salad. Now I'm used to it.

so my "emotional why" is because I'M BROKE... at the moment, well at THAT moment.

Cindy in CO

Vickie said...

My guess would be that pretzels are sort of like baked goods.

And I have always thought banana's were on the avoid list because they tend to 'stop' up the GI track - not because they are triggers.

the low sugar yogurt tends to have artifical sweetner in it which is sweeter than sugar - so I am wondering if things made with artificial impact you too?

I totally agreed with Helen - if we tend to get stuck on things - have to be VERY careful that we don't just move from old trigger to new trigger.

Good post - glad to have you writing again!

Wendy said...

Hi Ethel,

I just read your post and feel compelled to answer you right away.

Ethel, burn your list, get on the Internet and order a book by British author Paul McKenna called "I Can Make You Thin". It's the best $25 (or so) you'll ever spend and it just might change your life.

In a nutshell, this is Paul's system:
1) Eat whatever you want.
2) Eat when you are hungry.
3) Eat consciously. This means very slowly, savouring each bite and putting down your knife and fork or your sandwich or your candy bar between every bite. It also means eliminating all outside distractions. When you eat, that's all you do. No reading a book, listening to the TV or the radio. You don't have to eat alone, but by eliminating distractions, you stop shoveling food mindlessly into your mouth until you feel like you're going to burst and work up a load of guilt.
4) Stop eating as soon as you start to feel full. You will be shocked at how little food it takes to feel yourself filling up.

When I read your list, it was clear that you are an emotional eater. It is also crystal clear that DIETS DON'T WORK. We can never find enough willpower to deny ourselves what we need and like forever. In McKenna's book, he pays special attention to emotional eating and cravings and explains how to overcome both.

I'm begging you to look up Paul McKenna on the Internet. There are tons of videos showing him working with people. It's really amazing. If you follow McKenna's system, you will eat what you want, but stop when you feel full. And if you're truly, physically hungry an hour later, you eat again. It makes so much sense.

Your suffering has reached out and grabbed me on the Internet. If I can help you by telling you about Paul McKenna, I will be thrilled.

There's also a site on Facebook called "This is not a diet" where a group of ordinary people come together to support each other and put the McKenna plan to work. Check it out.

Please Ethel and all readers here who are struggling with weight issues, look up Paul McKenna. Buy the book, or don't buy the book. Just put the program to work. You will be shocked at how it can change your life.

I have been on the McKenna program for only three weeks. Conscious eating is not necessarily that easy but I'm not giving up. According to the program, you should not weight yourself any more often than every two weeks. Last week, after two weeks on the program, I had lost 4 pounds. For me, this is incredible since I am a very small person and losing one pound is a big deal. I won't be weighing myself for another week and we'll see. I've been out of town for work and staying at a hotel, so we'll see what the results are, but I have confidence that at very least I will not have gained the weight back.

Ethel, I'm going to check back with you in a few weeks to see if you or anyone else has taken up my suggestion.

Be well.


Cindy...154 said...

I am really glad you are posting. I was almost 200 pounds when I started blogging. I tried very restrictive diets and found I could not stick to them either and sometimes I went a little crazy afterward eating stuff I had missed. I think we have to check in with ourselves regularly about what foods may be causing trouble. And get to know ourselves and be nice to ourselves. See what works and do it. I am just glad to see you back. All that snow. Wow. I can relate to refried beans and ice cream for dinner, too.

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