Shaking Hands With The Devils(food)

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There’s a certain group of people out there who are afraid of certain foods and not because they’re allergic, which would cause them to go into anaphylaxis shock.  Example:  Sugar, more specifically, chocolate cake or Oreos or ice cream. You can pick a Sugaraphobe out of a crowd in a minute.  Their eyes get all crazy and they gasp with horror if someone says something like:  “Hey Molly, there’s a plate of birthday cupcakes in the break room… help yourself.”  Heck, you might just find them under their desk, with their hands over their head, crouched down, in the tornado-preparedness position. Terror would take over.  Some people don’t even like to talk about sweets; just the thought of sugerous-smilous makes them sweat.   As if, like in Harry Potter, just the mention of, “He Who Must Not Be Named” could make the bad guy appear…sugar lovers conjure up images of fat latching onto their thighs if they even hear the word brownie. What causes this mania?“I can’t have anything that has sugar in it, in my house. If I do, I eat it all. I have no control, so the only way to not eat it, is to not have it in the house.  Period.”   So that suppressive thought process works, right?  For a week maybe a month, then what? Thoughts of anything sweet begin to take over, you can’t stop thinking and wanting. And not a little, a lot. Next thing you know you’re buying a bag of macaroons and eating a dozen before the grocery bag is folded and put away.  As soon as you’re done your 12thcookie, the chastising, disappointment and shame begins. The third and final stage, also predictable:  You vow to keep sweets out of your house, for good this time, but that never happens. The cycle continues. Sugar wins.

So let’s agree, the all-or-none approach doesn’t really work-work, from a manage your life, long-term perspective.  Wouldn’t it be nice to think you could actually make friends with food, I mean, enjoy it without surrendering to it, particularly to food that holds you in it’s spell?

Making peace with food is possible, but it takes some introspection and a little planning. If you’re looking for a magic pill, I’m plum out and P.S. there are none. I do have good news that can work for you in your effort to not overindulge in foods that have power over you.  If you address this albatross, I mean really address it, once and for all, you can live a life that includes good-tasting food that makes you happy, but you have to be willing to look at your less then symbiotic relationship differently. I know this is scary territory.  But like anything in life. If you don’t face the fear, you can never take your power back.

I don’t want to make this seem too simplistic, but there is a basic principle that can keep you in control of your choices and it has to do with figuring out what you like and finding a satisfying alternative.

Replace don’t eliminate.

And not with diet foods or substitutes that insults your taste buds.Eat real food. Example:  For chocolate and/or sweet craving, try Teddy Grahams or animal crackers.  I really like chocolate animal crackers.  Here’s why they work: They’re sweet and good and you get a decent amount of chewing per serving which satisfies your brain and your tongue.  To address the quantity issue, when you get home from the store, dole out a serving, which translates to like 24 Teddy Grahams and 20ish animal crackers, then put them in ziplock sandwich bags.  Have them at home, in the office, wherever.  Eat them everyday if you want.  No big deal.  I’m not saying this one tip will change your life, but I am saying it’s a great way to start.

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