Lately I have seen quite a few different processed foods take over residency in our kitchen and it has me a tad bit nervous. Last week I mentioned my parents were in town for the week. What I didn’t mentioned however was that they brought an entire cooler of soda pop (or whatever you like to call that carbonated drink), a large bag of candy and another large bag of snack foods such as chips and cookies. All of these I have basically banned from our household seeing that I have issues with binge eating. This bad addiction I would like to say has been inherited from my parents but I had to admit that it was only stemmed from my adolescent years.
It flusters me a bit knowing I have overcome my issues with eating by the principles of a SAD (Standard American Diet) lifestyle full of high fat, calorie and sugar meals and have self taught myself how to incorporate daily exercise but still can not overcome binge eating. My husband grew up in an entirely different situation where his parents would strictly govern over each and every meal, snack and drink. Hence, it is hard for him to completely understand my issue with snack foods in the household. He has been wonderful in keeping an open mind to learn about my occasional struggles but I can tell it still doesn’t register completely. From his childhood, he learned how to eat just one cookie or just a handful of potato chips. Gosh, if that were only possible for the rest of us right?
Thus, a few processed snack foods in our household have been difficult for me these last two weeks. Although vegan, I have found myself eating more sugary treats. A few sugary treats to most people would be okay but to a binge eater, it is hard to stop until the entire bag has been demolished and the guilt has kicked into place. Additionally, I am hypoglycemic which means the sugar that I consume is not properly used by the body and makes the blood sugar very low if it is not consumed more regularly. This doesn’t mean one can just eat tons of sugar though. Nope, it basically that the person has to be very careful on what is consumed. Consumed sugar will make the blood sugar rise very fast and then plummet very fast which will end in me feeling sick or very moody. It’s almost the direct opposite of being a diabetic, without the other health associated affects.
So snacking increasingly more is raising red flags in my mind and the thought occurred to me that maybe some of you might have the same issue. As a reminder and maybe a little assistance to you fellow sufferers, here are the things I found that helps out.
1. Remove temptation. I’ve heard many parents complain it’s too hard to remove snack foods from the house because of the children. Let me tell you, I have an adult child in our household when it comes to sugar and he doesn’t complain one bit. If he has a sugar craving, I will simply make him a health alternative such as homemade donuts, cookies or whatever is a trigger food for you. There is always the option of picking up one item too for your loved one. I tend to purchase snacks for my husband and I make him take it to work. Out of sight, out of mind…
2. Have Ready Fresh Fruits & Vegetables. It is best to have fresh fruits and vegetables sitting out in front of you, especially high traffic areas. I have two bowls of fresh fruit sitting in our dining room and kitchen – also doubles as decoration. Not only will the bright colors brighten up your area, it will also encourage you to eat healthier snacks. Research found that if you have candy sitting out in the open in your office or in your house, you will eat it. If you fill up on fruit, you will not want any snack foods. You can also have freshly cut veggies ready on your top shelf of your fridge so when you open it up, they are ready to eat right there as finger food.
3. Preplan your meals for the week. This sounds like a basic idea but it really does work. I find that my binge eating happens when I don’t have everything planned out. For some reason something as small as a piece of paper will keep me from straying from my plan of no snacking on bad foods. Just make sure you remember to plan a well balanced meal and, dessert and a few snacks. Research has found that the human body works well on three smaller meals and a few healthy snacks.
4. Learn the Facts. It’s easy enough to see a box of unhealthy donuts sitting in the office or at home (if it dares to come in your house). Temptations are always going to be there so the only real thing you can do is to fight the urge to eat them all. Do a little research and find out how unhealthy those donuts (or insert other unhealthy item) in fact are and repeat it every time you want to devour the entire batch. This method does not always help but it does half of the time. Keep reminding yourself that those donuts smell wonderful but with the high sugar, fat and calories, they are unhealthy and will trigger the start of a downward fall.
5. Never eat unhealthy snacks alone. Snacking is natural and research has found that our bodies do well with eating every few hours, as suggested above in #3. Additionally, although I wish I could declare to never have an unhealthy snack again in my life, I know I would just be kidding myself. There’s nothing bad about having one unhealthy thing, as long as you control it. That’s the hard part, right? So, try eating the unhealthy snack around someone else at all times. I’m not sure if this works for everyone, but I tend to not eat as many potato chips or candy pieces if someone is watching.
6. Exercise for your snack. Other websites that try to insist taking a walk will reduce the want for a snack, but for me that never works. I’d have to do the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Cancer Research before I would forget about eating something that was on my mind. The urge to eat something at certain times can just be so strong, there is nothing that a little walk is going to do to remove the temptation, at least for me. So, my plan of attack if I want to eat something unhealthy is to try and work it off. For instance, when I want to eat 3 Oreo cookies, I learn how long it would to walk them off. Usually the knowledge of how long it would be to work off the calories deters me from even eating the food but sometimes I just have to seize that wanted item and the extra workout doesn’t bother me. So, if you want to eat something out of your meal plan, take an extra walk to work off the extra calories.
7. Drink lots of fluids. Many times websites will state that one should drink a cup of water before eating each meal and that will help with overeating at mealtimes. I do agree with this method but I would go farther too. I find that the more I drink during the day, the less I want to splurge on unnecessary food consume. My husband and I both have large 32oz Klean Kanteen containers that we fill up each day with fresh purified water. We then take these kanteens wherever we go throughout the day. For the most part I find that we drink the water completely but for the rare occasion we don’t, the end of the day is all about sucking in as much as possible without making ourselves sick. Then I compliment my water consumption with warm herbal teas and coconut water. Let’s just say I make constant restroom breaks. That’s okay though because it means I get a little more exercise and scientists have found that every hour a person needs to back away from the computer to freshen ones mind again. So, it’s a three way winner! If it’s a 3-strike your out type of deal in baseball I guess in this situation you are a winner!
Let me just finish off by stating that I am not a health professional nor do I ever claim to be one. What I write about is strictly what I have found to work in my personal situation. Whether it will assist you, I am not sure but if it works for one person, it might work for another person. I love sharing my personal experiences to assist those that are in the same life challenge as me. That’s just one of the beautiful thing about the internet invention and blogging.
Do you have any special methods of steering clear of those unwanted calories or sugary sweets lurking in your kitchen? Share your experiences in the comment section, I and others would love to know!