Friday, June 10, 2011

Food Haunting

How is it that food can haunt us?

It does. It haunts me sometimes, even when I am doing great and not really craving anything and not even hungry much, like now. Yet it can dance in my head because of *exposure*... a trigger of some kind, like the sight or smell of food... and at the end of the day, I FEEL BAD BECAUSE I CHEATED. (Yes, I call it cheating when I eat something I didn't intend/plan/truly want to eat, because when I do that I am cheating *myself.*)

Now, the important point here is that I feel bad for doing something I didn't even do. How crazy is that? It happened today but I caught it. Thus the blog post. It has happened before, when I actually ate one or two extra things in a day and at the end of the day I was lamenting how I "ruined" my day and ate so much and surely am doomed to obesity forever, and then when I go and add up the actual calories in what I ate, it is reasonable. Not nearly as much as I'd imagined. It's like the food thoughts are bigger than life.

Today I was at a party. I knew there would be food, so I just drank a shake beforehand and figured if they had anything on plan like veggies I would eat that. Well, they had veggies alright... plus dips, potato chips, Doritos, cheese puffs, freshly fried chicken nuggets and mozzarella sticks, little smokies in barbecue sauce, many kinds of cheeses, crackers, sugary punch, cake, taco dip, Fritos, and candy. I will tell you that fried stuff is my major weakness and all that stuff was in open bowls on a huge table right where we were standing for about 2 hours. I spent quite a bit of time glancing at and smelling those chippy things and fried things. I watched just about everyone else at the party eat that stuff. And yes, I wanted it. At first it was a mild interest. But as the hours went by it became harder and harder to resist until I was actually wondering if I could get away with putting a Dorito in my mouth and sucking off the powder and then spitting the rest of the chip in the trash. I didn't do it, though. I ate about a cup of veggies: cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and celery dipped in about 2 Tbsp of Ranch. When I got actually hungry I ate 2 slices of cheese. I drank water. I went about my day. I ate healthy. I was very busy all evening, but somehow all that food kept haunting me and dancing in my head. I remembered every smell and how every chip looked. I was not craving it badly enough to go binge, but it was nagging me.

I ate my Medifast bar and then, at 10:30pm, I ate one Kraft 2% American singles cheese slice. And then I thought, gosh. I had such a horrible, off plan, screwed up eating day! I will probably gain 2 pounds overnight from this. I ate so much. Ugh!

And then I got a bit of reality. Hello, *thinking* about Doritos all day is not the same as eating them. Thinking about them has no calories. The only thing I ate off plan today was 1) a higher fat dressing than usual, and 2) some higher fat cheese than usual (although I counted it towards my lean, so the only thing 'off' was the fat content).

I had a good day. I did great with what I had, and I am ready for another good day tomorrow. I won't let those silly food mirages haunt me anymore. It only counts if it actually goes in my mouth and stays there!


Anonymous said...

I wonder. How do you get Doritos off your mind without eating them? I sometimes have a crazy craving for say... doritos and will try to eat all sorts of lower fat/calorie subs to try to tame the desire, but nothing quite does it and it makes me miserable. Just thinking there are no calories in thinking does not work on my super human desire to eat what is not to be eaten. Any tips?

Princess Dieter said...

Speaking as a person who in the past (and from my teens) could down a whole large bag of Doritos without batting an eye (usually with a lot of some soda), this is how I tamed that beast:

"If you eat that, you can't stop at one. You'll have a fourth, half a bag at best, all at worst. And you'll stimulate the food reward/pleasure center pathways in your brain, meaning it's gonna be harder to resist all sorts of stuff. Just say no to the first one, and you strengthen your ability to resist crap. Which is stronger? Me or that bag of highly addictive chips?"

Haven't had Doritos since 2010. I guess, so far, I'm winning. :)

It's not just a bag of chips. It's a trigger. And it sets you backward in your food healing path...think of it as METH, CRACK COCAINE, you, that's what it is. The thing you have a jones for.

Well, Munchberry, that's my system. :)

Lyn, I have never experienced that haunting in that way. done so good!

jirons42 said...

I have to attend to such parties both today and tomorrow. I hope I have your resolve.

timothy said...

i can totally relate, i can have the hot dogs or hamburgers but the buns and ketchup taunt me! pigs in a blanket sing their siren song and crackers dance in my head, damn their evil enchantments! lolol
i love how you can channel my jumbled thoughts and state them so eloquently! great post as always! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Wow, what dedication. I am slowly working in to a state of mind where I won't cave and dive first face into an open bowl of chips. I am switching to baked Lays vs. doritos or kettle cooked jalapeno at Subway (my favorite). It's tough, but the rewards are priceless. Good job!

Anonymous said...

I have had days where I have been in contact with all sorts of salty, sweet, high fat, low nutrient food and I swear, even though I didn't eat any, I felt like I had off day and ate off plan - even when I didn't! I can totally relate to your thoughts that you cheated simply by being presence of these foods - it's amazing how our minds play weird tricks with us. I guess it just goes to show the benefit of tracking your food.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, big former junk food addict here. The longer you keep junk food out of your body, the easier it gets. I have no huge cravings 95% of the time now - even when I am around food I used to love. In fact, right now, I have cookies, potato chips, tortilla chips, ice cream, etc. in my home for my visiting nephew, and I barely gave them a glance. It CAN be done, but imo, if you look at what your weaknesses usually are, i.e. sugar and grains, then there is your answer. Some addictions cannot be broken by continuing to fee them, even just a little. IMO.

Lyn said...


the Princess said it well. I remember that I cannot be happy with one. I remember how if I eat one, the frenzy becomes almost unbearable and I want to eat much much more. And I remember that I do not want to take the first step down that path. Not again.

Usually if I write about something and then sleep on it, it is out of my head the next day :)

Anonymous said...

My weakness is coke..I am such a huge caffeine addict. And swiss rolls. I could eat a whole box, which is why i have grounded myself from them!!!

optifastblogger said...

I'm on week 4 of Optifast and it is so low salt that I have to say I am actually not craving salty snacks, which have always been my biggest weakness. I'm hoping when I get to transition and maintenance I can continue to do without them! You did fantastic with a lot of big challenges in your day! I have folks in my Optifast support group at Kaiser that dream about eating whole pizzas and wake up looking for an empty pizza box and feeling guilty. Sometimes our mind is our worst enemy!

He Took MY Last Name said...

I can imagine how that must feel. It's got to be like torture. I know that once I start thinking of something, craving it, it won't go away until I eat that specific item. Usually steak. If I am craving steak, well I best be buying me one, or I'll eat everything else BUT steak trying to satisfy it. I imagine its something along those lines, except all in your head? Rambling. :(

Anonymous said...

You probably know this already, but I had a revelation recently about food obsession. Namely, that for every junky food the key is to have a lower-junk version that I feel okay with eating. I mean, just getting the brain to un-hook from that particular thing opens up the options even more and can usually get back on track, or mostly. Like, if I really want potato chips, and convince myself to have baked potato chips. Well, I could have sweet potato chips if I'm making them. And I could have a greek-yogurt-onion dip with that or salsa. And cut up some fruit while I'm waiting for them to cook. And now one sweet potato is enough when before it would have been the entire 10 oz bag, plus I've added protein and veg to it.

theresa said...

awesome! Your posts are always so "real". Love it.

~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch said...

I so related to this! I don't think people who have never fought with food understand the torture that goes on inside our heads.

I've been having a terrible time with after dinner cravings while watching TV. I think it's because I haven't been eating enough during the day so added a snack to my late afternoon today to see if that would make a difference. I'll see how I do tonight!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lyn, Princess Dieter and others who gave their pointers. I am still trying to figure out what exact foods send me down the wrong path (it generally is not Doritos). I know it is carbs. Maybe sugar. Def the combination. Reward pleasure pathway - giving into it or cutting it off really is meaningful to me.

Very interesting post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I feel silly posting in response to this blog but not as silly as I would have felt if I had written in response to the ones from 2007. I don't know if you even look at responses from months ago but as I am getting closer to the present, I am feeling a bit more brave.
As you already know, I have USED your blog for the last several months to get refocused and you will never know how grateful I am. I could have posted a reply for every single blogs but ... see above.
This subject (obsessive thinking about one food) is very timely, since I've just spent about 3 hrs. scouring the Internet for a recipe for my "haunting food". It is something I have discovered at an Amish restaurant, several hours (and many toll bridges) from my house. Yeah, yeah, I've had every imaginable kind of doughnut that could possibly appeal to me but the "Long Johns" at this tiny family place tortures me! I'll leave it at that, so I don't trigger anyone but no addict could be more enthralled by the thought of the desired substance as I am for this particular item.
I have lots to say about arms but, again, with the subject having been touched upon so many months ago, I refrained. Perhaps if it comes up again, now that I'm no longer a posting "virgin" to your blog, I'll hmmm disclose...
Thank you for being the catalyst in my changing my life and for never giving up. I admire you more than you know, regardless of what you eat or don't and where you happen to be in your journey.
Warm regards,