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Thread: Struggle with junk food addiction...

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Struggle with junk food addiction...

    As some of you know or suspect from other threads and discussions on here, I have a junk food addiction. This addiction negatively impacts my simple living goals and lifestyle.

    -It has caused me to waste a lot of money, which has led to some more debt (about $2,000 in medical bills I should have been able to pay right away).

    -It has caused me to put on some elbeez. And didn't Flylady call that "body clutter?" An apt name, that is.

    -It has caused me to drive too much, because I will go driving all over the city to get just the right "fix."

    There are other problems it caused, but those are fairly illustrative.

    Perhaps more than anything, this addiction has intercepted my very purpose for simply living: Doing the things that are most important to me.

    By this I mean, I practice simple living (in the minimalist style) so I can focus on spending time with my dog, reading books, traveling to other countries, and engaging in hobbies/lifestyle experiments that I enjoy.

    But the junk food addiction pulls me away from all of those and compromises the resources (time and money and, to a perhaps lesser degree, health) needed.

    I am actively trying to find a way of eating that does not lead me to binges (or as I call them "junk food rampages"). I'd like to use this thread partially to document this, but also as a sounding board for constructive criticism and ideas.

    While I have been clean for about a week (no rampages) I have been purely white-knuckling it. And I have not been eating 100% healthy. Like I had some chips with dinner for the past two nights and I have also eaten a half of a watermelon both yesterday and the day before.

    So the struggle continues.
    ďI came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    A couple of thoughts - if one of the grocery stores near you has the service where they pack your groceries and you pick them up, use that to avoid temptation.

    the second suggestion requires buying things - i’m Sorry. Buy several nesting boxes with combination locks. Put your car keys inside the innermost box every time you come home, and on each lid write your best ideas for alternate snacks/meals or actions to junk food or other messages you find motivating. The time it takes to get to your keys may help you get through the craving. Also, the annoyance might make you choose to take your bike more often.

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    A couple of thoughts - if one of the grocery stores near you has the service where they pack your groceries and you pick them up, use that to avoid temptation.
    Oddly, I behave really well at the grocery and buy plenty of good things and few bad things, usually I buy only very good things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    the second suggestion requires buying things - i’m Sorry. Buy several nesting boxes with combination locks. Put your car keys inside the innermost box every time you come home, and on each lid write your best ideas for alternate snacks/meals or actions to junk food or other messages you find motivating. The time it takes to get to your keys may help you get through the craving. Also, the annoyance might make you choose to take your bike more often.
    This is an interesting idea. I was talking with my coworker who is also a junk food junkie. He was talking about how his boss in his department got gastric bypass. He is still out of work and recovering. My coworker, "Sam," said: "If you can't do things yourself you have to outsource the discipline. And that is what gastric bypass does. So I will probably have to do it in a few years or so too."

    Ideally I would like to cultivate a strength from within that overcomes this addiction.

    And to be realistic: When I am on a rampage a handful of locks and maxims will not stop me, not even close. On a binge I am a total, wild-eyed maniac.
    ďI came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    What about some healthy yet satisfying (for me anyway) alternatives like nuts and pepitas? Do you tend to crave sweet or salty junk?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    White-knuckling is not fun. And will power alone has not been shown to be a sustainable strategy when it comes to addictions and cravings.

    I'm sure there has to be an online support group--there's one for everything else. I'm not talking 12 steps--you don't seem like a 12 step kind of guy (I could be wrong). I know when my husband quit smoking, he said the discussion board on the American Lung Association website was really instrumental in getting through cravings. ETA: A quick search turned up this one: https://www.dailystrength.org/group/food-addiction

    A psychologist I knew explained that cravings are like waves. They get bigger and bigger but the eventually just fall down and go away back into the sea. So when you have a craving, if you can imagine the wave and then be reassured that it will pass, that might help.

    Another tip might be to actually allow yourself a certain amount of your favorite junk food. My 90-year aunt used to have a box of Russell Stover chocolates in a drawer. Every night she'd ask me, "Catherine, go get me my black pill." "Black pill" was one of the chocolates. but she only had "one dose." While I realize that sometimes eating one of something can trigger a binge, unless you are truly addicted to junk food, it might be something to try to keep you from feeling deprived.

    Above all, don't be too hard on yourself. That alone can trigger stress and a binge stress-response.
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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    The junk food seems to satisfy some need beyond the caloric. It might be worth your time (or even time with a therapist) to figure out what sponsors the cravings. Is it boredom? Perceived hunger (false blood-sugar low)? Your body seeking some nutrient or food group that isn't sufficiently present in your "very good" diet? A personality that generally favors addictions/jumps into everything both feet first?

    Is it possible to wean yourself from the junk food using some compromise mechanism. Maybe giving yourself a budget for the rampages? Cash, in a drawer, and when it's gone, it's gone. No more junk till the next paycheck or next month or whenever. Or maybe you can go get the junk food but it can't be the stuff you really want. You can go to Mickey Dee's but you can't get the Big Mac; you have to get the Filet O' Fish. (I actually used this technique to stop daily raids at the vending machines at work; after a while it just wasn't worth the trip.) I know that seems similar to the keys-in-the-box approach, but it does not seem that going cold turkey is going to resolve this for you.

    Oh, and just because you wrote this:
    By this I mean, I practice simple living (in the minimalist style) so I can focus on spending time with my dog, reading books, traveling to other countries, and engaging in hobbies/lifestyle experiments that I enjoy.
    I noticed that you did not include your current romantic interest in the list. No response to that needed here; just wondering if that was a conscious move.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    Why don't you sign up for one of those meal kit services for a month or so? The money outlay might be an incentive to cut out the junk food for that month, it might help cut out the boredom and the variety might help with the "blandness" feeling. Also, those are pre-portioned.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    As an aside, I don’t really understand how bariatric surgeries affect cravings. These cravings are all in our heads. The bariatric surgeries are in our torso area. They aren’t brain surgeries. Someone here can speak to that.

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    I like certain junk food but only allow myself small amounts. So for instance I will eat 10 chips with my sandwich for lunch. I never just sit down with a bag of anything and mindlessly eat. You have to eat 3x’s a day so just can’t quit cold turkey like other things.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    As an aside, I donít really understand how bariatric surgeries affect cravings. These cravings are all in our heads. The bariatric surgeries are in our torso area. They arenít brain surgeries. Someone here can speak to that.
    The latest research shows that the brain and gut are closely interrelated. See "gut-brain connection" for pages of fascinating facts.

    Also, I'm much more susceptible to food cravings when i'm eating a lot of carbohydrates, due to the action of insulin and blood sugar fluctuations, so I question the "all in your head" theory of hunger.

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