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Monday, January 09, 2017

Fighting Food Addiction

Ever notice some foods you just have trouble with overeating? I know I do. Well, if you're anything like me, you go HAM at Italian and Mexican food restaurants with the bread & chips. Bread & chips aren't even the enemy, I just go to town on them, killing complete baskets on autopilot.

The thing is, I have the same problem with them at home. I'd go to the store and each week would perpetually purchase problem foods. Unhealthy Foods I craved, I put in the basket without a thought. It wasn't until I started purposely keeping them off my grocery list, was I able to fight the addiction.

Yes, you'll want those foods, you will crave them. Your saliva will kick in when you get to that aisle. You may even automatically reach for them on the shelf. I did. Many times. There is a psychological struggle that comes with addiction and overeating. But, you can't over eat what you don't have. Sure, there's a struggle, but the struggle doesn't have to be eternal. You can break it just like one can break smoking.

But what about that struggle? Should you live in torturous night sweats, dreaming about your forbidden foods? There's a better way.

Find alternatives

When you start working to change some dietary habits, you don't have to quit cold turkey. Instead you can get creative and find some alternative indulgences. They don't have to be raw broccoli. They don't even have to be textbook nutritious. They just need to be better than your old addiction.

Let's face it, the perfect replacement for all your favorite treats doesn't exist. There are no perfect choices. But there are better choices. A 150 empty calorie snack is better than a 500 empty calorie snack. What's more, you're not as addicted to the new food. You have a higher chance of stopping sooner with a newer, healthier food.

Sweet tooth? Instead of ice cream consider chopping up a fruit and nuts. Mix with some Greek yogurt and freeze it. It's going to hit similar sweet flavor receptors but it'll be healthier. Also, man it's just hard to eat a tub of Greek yogurt.

At the store, be mindful of your addictions. Keeping a log of what you eat may clue you in to a few you didn't even recognize. I recently found out, I'm an anynonymous fruit snack junkie. So is my 3 yr old. We now walk by them. I want them, he wants them. I cry on the inside, he screams on the outside. But after a few weeks, his urges subsided. John will still ask, but now he doesn't throw a fit when I say no. Sometimes it's good to tell your inner junk food child no. He may scream for a few weeks, but he'll thank you later in life.

Until Then

Until then, you'll feel deprived at times. You'll think about the food. I need you to embrace this so you aren't surprised. Know it's going to suck for a little bit. It's not comfortable but discomfort isn't always a bad thing. Life without discomfort makes it hard to cope with even simple stresses. For true success, you need to endure some unpleasant urges and feelings. And no, it's not easy. If it was, you'd of already done it. It's supposed to be difficult. You are moving in a new direction.

But that's the nature of training. From nutrition to exercise, train yourself to handle the unpleasant and the feelings will stop.

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