Is food addiction real? I’ve struggled with this question on more than one season in my life. Sometimes I can look at a food and not have any desire to overeat. Other times, the food feels irresistible!
The books I’ve read about food addiction have all come to the same conclusion. Sugar and white flour are the most addictive foods, and if you abstain from those, the desire to overeat will be gone.
I love the black and white idea of abstaining from addictive foods, but of course, humans are a little more complicated than that.
In reflecting on my own behavior, I don’t think it’s necessary to remove all sugar and flour. While I think foods with these things are delicious, not all of them create the urge or desire for me to overdo it. I can easily eat a tortilla wrapped around some eggs and cheese, and not need to eat 10 more tortillas. However, change that tortilla to a slice of toast with butter, and I’m weak for more! In fact, it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to eat 4 slices of toast for breakfast!
I think the most valuable take-away is to decide for you, which foods create an irresistible desire in you to eat more than one serving.
The questions to determine your trigger foods
There are three questions I ask myself in deciding if a food is a trigger food, or even a priming food (primes me to want more of that exact food.). These questions are:
- When I eat this food, is it hard to stop after 1?
- When I eat this food, do I continue to consume it without measuring or assessing how much I’ve consumed.
- How difficult is it to get more of this food? (is there just one cookie, thereby creating a self-limiting amount).
So, with these questions in hand, it is very clear to me which foods fit my addictive trigger foods, and which foods, if I abstain from eating altogether, will make overeating something of the past. Once I start on one of these foods, I feel sick from overeating. Once I start on one of these foods, I feel out of control and weak. So, while I do not believe them to be unhealthy foods, for me, the feeling of being out of control is not worth the first bite.
- Roasted nuts. This includes trail mix, sweetened, roasted, salted cashews, peanuts, almonds.. any of them!
- Bread or Toast with butter, or fresh sliced bread. Interestingly, I can eat a sandwich, and not have a problem eating more and more bread. But stand-alone bread, especially if I have a knife and can cut myself one slice after another is particularly tempting.
- Pretzels. We have a big bucket of pretzels, and it’s so easy to dip my hand in and eat massive handfuls throughout the day. Without measuring and without consciousness.
- Crackers. Saltines, ritz, triscuits, wheat thins.. any cracker in a package can lead to overeating for me.
- Graham crackers. I LOVE Graham crackers. And what’s worse, graham crackers dipped in cool whip!
- Cookies -Anyone who knows me knows my weakness for cookies. Cookies are typically the food I can eat until I’m physically ill. Once I eat one, if there are any left, I will think about the rest of the cookies util I can get my hands on them again, even if I’m still stuffed.
- Ice cream– Normally, Ice cream hasn’t been a problem food for me. We don’t have it around all that often, but recently, it’s been difficult to not pick at it straight out of the container.
- Peanut butter. It’s best to just not dip the spoon into the jar. If I can resist the first spoonful, it’s not a problem to ignore the container in my pantry. Each day I have a new resolve, so if I can withhold all day, I’m good.
- Cool whip. In a tub. I will spoon this out until it’s gone, or until I’m sick. Cool whip RARELy lasts one day in my house.
- Whipped cream. You might think this is the same as cool whip, but you would be wrong. I would ALSO eat a can of whipped cream, in addition to the tub of Cool Whip.
- Chewy Granola bars. Convenient, sweet, and always hits the spot. I love a good chewy granola bar. but this is also a food, if I can abstain, I can control myself around them, even if they are in my kitchen.
- Cereal– Any kind of cereal will do. And I’ve never eaten cereal with milk, or even for breakfast for that matter. Cereal for me has always been a finger food, like a snack. And now, with all the TEMPTING and delicious kind, it’s impossible to control the grazing. (Have you tried the Nutter Butter Cereal!?!?)
- Frosting – I always laugh when people say they don’t like frosting. I will basically put it on anything. On a spoon, on a graham cracker, or on any vehicle to get the frosting into my mouth.
- Cake. Is it just me, or has cake become trendy again? Recently, at a blogger event, we had the most AMAZING cakes! Churro cake was my favorite from Living Beautafully. I had two HUGE plates, was sick to my stomach, yet still kept plotting how I could get another plate of it!
- Flavored popcorns. OK.. last one. YOu know the new popcorns.. Chickapop, Chicago blend cheddar and caramel, etc. The kind from Costco where you can eat a 20lb bag in one sitting. Yeah. Those are now on my addictive trigger food abstinent list!
So, those are my trigger foods. Yours might be different. But, these are the food if I can avoid, I can with certainty tell you I won’t eat unconsciously, till I’m sick to my stomach.
What are your trigger foods that you feel are addictive?
So, what foods am I left with? Check out my next post to see what I AM eating!