Saturday, August 29, 2009

Put a "kink in the link"

Lately I've been thinking a lot about food triggers and binge eating. I am very susceptible to triggers, sometimes I bypass them and other times they send me flying off the edge into a pool of fattening foods that leave me bloated and filled with regret.

My main food triggers are:

1. Boredom - I will eat if I'm not doing something with my hands or otherwise occupied somehow.
2. Work stress - I think this is the same for everyone and this one, I almost have reined in.
3. Chinese Food - One sniff of a Chinese food restaurant can send me into a pool of low mien.
4. Alcohol - After a few beers, when I get a little tipsy, I feel that I HAVE to eat fattening food to "sober up".

I have more, many more, but they are becoming less as I am starting to recognize them when they start instead of just jumping in the pool.

The reason I bring it up today, well, is for 2 reasons...I have found a healthy snack that oddly enough seems to push away cravings pretty well and I read a really interesting article about stopping the over eating binges. The author calls it putting a "Kink in the Link" and I like that. She compares it to Christmas tree lights, if one bulb is out, the whole chain is out.

Her main steps for avoiding a binge after a trigger are:

*1. Change your surroundings.A shift in setting has the power to change your mood—and keeps you away from the refrigerator.

2. Take five. A five-minute break, whether it’s a walk around the block, a sprint up-and-down the stair or a deep-breathing pause, has a similar effect.

3. Fake out your mouth. If you're craving something sweet, try a pickle, hot pepper or any other completely different taste sensation. And if salty snacks are your weakness, go for something spicy.

4. Reward yourself.Treat yourself to a relaxing activity you normally wouldn't do: a warm bath, a surprise call to your college roommate in London or uninterrupted reading of gossip magazines!

5. Get physical.Go for a stroll, run or do any physical activity at all.The endorphins released will often balance the chemistry of a "craving brain").

6. Sit with your feelings. Rather than stuffing negative or uncomfortable emotions like fear and anger by stuffing your mouth, try "being" with those feelings for five to ten minutes. Can you locate it (in your stomach, your chest) and describe it (a hot pellet, ball of ice)? Write it down. You’ll discover it’s less frightening than you think.

*From the article by Jonny Bowden - Overeating Triggers 101 on AOL

It's a great article if you have time to read it.

Onto my second point, the healthy snack I learned about on The Dan Ho Show on FitTV and Discovery Health channels. He was helping a girl who was having cravings for salty things like potato chips. He cut up a Granny Smith Apple, sprinkled it with lemon juice and salt and this took care of the sweet, sour and salty cravings all at once.

Now, at first I was skeptical, that didn't sound very good to me at all. Salt? On my apple? No thank you. However, one day I found myself in the situation with very little Weight Watchers Points left and craving potato chips and chocolate (yes, at the same time...I'm not a freak!) and I tried talking myself down, it didn't pass. So, I had an apple, I had salt, I had a lemon...

I cut up my apple into slices, sprinkled salt and lemon on once piece, took a bite...and it's an odd (but tasty) combination of flavors, but it worked. It's like it hits every different kind of taste bud on your tongue. Sour, salty, sweet...took care of every craving I had. Now I use that snack when I'm craving chocolate covered pretzels or any time of sweet/salty thing. It doesn't work all the time, it's not a miracle worker, but most of the time it will tide me over. It's little things like this that make my day just a little bit easier, so I wanted to share!


Tracy on August 29, 2009 at 2:12 PM said...

the apple thing sounds very interesting. I have to get control, right now carbs are my friends and I know they (that fudge nut brownie) aren't really. Weight Watchers is a step in my recovery.

Karen on August 31, 2009 at 11:44 AM said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. That article was really interesting. I find if I just leave the room, or even the house, it changes my mood almost instantly. I may have to try the apple trick - I found myself craving the salty/sweet combo all weekend!

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