My daughter went to a birthday party last night. After the party, we were discussing the normal details....who was there, what everyone wore, what kind of food was served, etc. When my daughter mentioned chips and dip, I suddenly began craving french onion dip. When I was bingeing, I could easily eat almost an entire container of french onion dip in one sitting. I would typically feel sick afterward, but I would still do it almost every time I bought it. In fact, with the exception of planning for a party the only time I did buy dip was when I was planning a binge.
I decided to try to find an alternate option to satisfy my craving. When I did my weekly grocery shopping this morning, I bought french onion soup. I ate that and an apple for lunch, and I enjoyed it. It calmed my craving for french onion dip. I must admit, this shocked me. How often have I read this technique in magazines, books, web sites, and blogs. I've never thought it would work so I didn't even try. From the viewpoint of an overeater, the alternate options sound less than appealing. Cheese flavored rice cakes instead of Cheetos? Fat free/sugar free pudding instead of ice cream? Seriously?? Now I know that I need to give this a closer look.
About three hours later, I was hungry. I contemplated my choices and nothing sounded appealing. A salad, an orange, perhaps even a 100 calorie pack of microwave popcorn. Then I decided that a peanut butter sandwich was what I wanted. On my current eating plan, peanut butter is not a recommended choice since it is high in fat. We have natural peanut butter (for my son the health nut), which is much lower in fat but looks disgusting. My daughter and son both assure me that it tastes really good but I still haven't tried it. So I ate a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich. Yum, yum. At least I used whole wheat bread, I rationalized.
If I had stopped here, it would have been basically ok. However, the first peanut butter sandwich tasted so good I had another.
Then my "all or nothing" thinking kicked in. You've been there, haven't you? "Well, I've blown it. Might as well keep eating." "I've already messed up, why stop now." "I'm off plan, so why not eat ___________ (fill in the blank)"
I proceeded to eat two pieces of toast with real butter and some snack mix. Then I stopped.
Lesson learned: it is possible to replace an unhealthy food craving with a healthy one and be satisfied.
Lesson learned: french onion soup is not a main course.
I'm not going to dwell on this mistake. It could have been much, much worse. I will learn from it and move on.