By getting to the root of why you overeat in the first place! "Why Weight," written by Geneen Roth, is a non-diet book that contains exercises designed to help compulsive eaters learn how to stop using food as a substitute for handling difficult emotions or situations. You'll also learn how to enjoy eating and still lose weight naturally. This program offers reassuring guidelines on:
-- kicking the scale-watching habit forever
-- learning to say no
-- discovering other pleasures besides food
-- learning the difference between physical and emotional hunger
-- listening to and trusting your body's hunger and fullness signals
Each week at least one exercise will be posted and you are encouraged to share your answers, thoughts, etc..
Please share any insight, ideas, articles or other information that you may have.
Join us in Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating!
01-26-2002, 03:38 PM
Exercise 26:Forbidden Foods
We usually binge on the foods we won’t allow ourselves to eat unless we binge. It is only when we give ourselves permission to eat them that we can choose not to eat them. If, for instance, you allow yourself to eat chocolate any time you are hungry for it, then “a chocolate charge” will not build and you won’t feel the need to binge on chocolate at a later time. We forbid and forbid and forbid ourselves to have food that we like, food that brings us pleasure. It should be no surprise to us that when we feel a crack in our steely resolve to restrict ourselves, and make a decision to binge, we immediately run for those foods we have not been allowing ourselves to enjoy.
Make a list of the foods you will not allow yourself to eat freely and without guilt. Let yourself think of the food that you determined years ago to shut our of your life, perhaps as far back as childhood. Are sweets included? Bread? Take your time in making the list, remembering foods that you banished, or attempted to banish, or still berate yourself for eating whenever you “succumb”.
My forbidden foods are:
Then there is a chart in the book to use…I will describe it:
Column 1 is numbered for Week 1 thru Week 4
Column 2 is “The food I chose from the Forbidden Foods List is:
Column 3 I bought plenty (you mark yes or no)
Column 4 I ate it when I was hungry (you mark yes or no)
Column 5 I stopped when I was satisfied (you mark yes or no)
Column 6 is When I ate it, I felt:
Eating my Forbidden Foods
Using the chart keep a record of what you discover when you do the following
1. Look at the list you made and decide which is the first food you would like to eat again without guilt.
2. Bring that food into your house this week. Bring more of it than you could possibly eat at one sitting – and eat is when you are hungry and until you are satisfied. Allow yourself the pleasure of good tastes.
3. As you eat it, notice whether you like it as much as you thought you would. Notice how it tastes, how it feels in your throat.
4. Remind yourself that you can have it again any time you are hungry.
5. Do the same next week. And the next.
6. Bring one forbidden food into your house each week, until you have no forbidden foods.
01-26-2002, 03:41 PM
I don't know, this one will be a hard one....
01-26-2002, 06:43 PM
Is that scary or what? Bring in more than I could eat in ONE sitting!? Whew~! That's a leap of faith! LOL But I understand the concept of wanting it all the more because you can't have it. I think I really need to pay attention to the later half of those suggestions especially numbers 2 and 3...eat it when I am hungry (not bored, not sad, not happy, not...) and enjoy all of the sensations it brings...
I am a chocolate freak. It would have to be my number one "forbidden". My biggest problem is that I don't stop eating it when I am full, and I'll scarf it rather than enjoy it. I think the best choice for me would be to get rid of the junky chocolate "substitutions" I have and get the really good stuff. And then, when I decide to have it...savour it. I am so bad at delaying gratification...it's like I have a fear that it won't be there if I don't eat it NOW (still working on where that came from as we always had food when I was a kid...but then again, maybe it's this whole forbidden concept...get it now, because you can't have anymore when it's gone...hmmmm....)
Chocolate is the big forbidden one. I'll have to really think about others...maybe cheese...if it's here in the house, I eat it ALL. It doesn't have the same "forbidden" quality to it because I always thought cheese was healthy (which it is I guess, but in very moderate amounts). Now, I buy the fat free cheese slices, but again, I think going back to a smaller amount of the "good stuff" would be a healthier choice for me. I have the mindset that just because it's fat free, I can 4 or 5 slices...not true. I need to work more on the concept of portion control and understanding my body's signals of satiation and fullness. I need to slow down and savour what I eat and enjoy it for the fuel it is, no more.
Hmm...this has really got me thinking...
LuckyLadyBug, Crone, Sprite, thank you for your warm welcome!
Here's to slowing down and savouring my food this week!
01-26-2002, 07:10 PM
I know, Lorraine , this exercise will take some time for me too. I don't know if I have whined here or not but I have a terrible head cold and bought a frozen pizza for later. I haven't felt this awful in years and need comfort. I never buy frozen pizza because they aren't as good as the real thing but then that is the exact reason I bought it because it isn't that good so I won't eat much of it. But then we are back to your remarks about getting the "good" version and enjoying it.:mad:
I just don't know if I can have my "forbidden" foods in the house yet. This exercise surprised me because I didn't know I was suppose to be so strong already!! :(
01-26-2002, 07:30 PM
Lucky, so sorry to hear you're under the weather. Have a nice relaxing afternoon and get over that cold!
The whole idea seems scary doesn't it? Are we supposed to not gain weight with that food in the house? :lol: If I ate all that I'd like I'd definately gain. But then again, maybe the idea is to tune into our senses and stop when we are satisfied...truly staisfied, not stop when the food runs out.
Anyway, just a thought...
01-26-2002, 07:30 PM
Hmmm. Thinking about this awhile, but some preliminary thoughts are that for me, any food can become a trigger when I start to rely on it too often for comfort. My strongest trigger food is vanilla slimfast in a can, which cools and calms me and makes me feel good when things go wrong, which is quite often. But unlike the warrant underlying this exercise, I never try to NOT drink it. But I do find that however many cans I have in the house on a given, I will drink that many cans by morning. It didn't used to be that way. I used to keep it on hand and drink a can here and there, but now it is a trigger food that I can only control by buying the cans one or two at a time.
There is a book called "Thin Tastes Better," by diet doctor Stephen Gullo. This has a really good exploration of the topic of trigger foods, but alas I can't find it in my heart to follow the doc's recommendation to simply eliminate the offending food. For one thing, I don't want to and for another, I know my behavior well enough to know I'd just find another trigger food.
I'll post a better answer to the exercise soon. Very interesting thing to consider.
Sprite: The hot water heater burst a year ago and I can't bring myself to pay for a new one, since it is so hot most of the year here and I have old pipes that keep the water warm enough to bathe in. It's only in the dead of winter (it's 70 degrees here but goes down at night) that I have to heat bathwater each day or take a cold shower. I've just decided to live with it a bit longer, since I have other priorities for spending $.
01-26-2002, 10:58 PM
I was really surprised by this exercise too!
Chocolate and icecream are my trigger foods. I can't remember the last time I had icecream. I just won't buy it because I'd eat the whole carton. Chocolate you can buy in smaller amounts but if it's in my house I will eat all of it until it's gone! I guess I haven't come as far as I had thought yet because I just don't think I'm ready for this exercise yet. I know myself and I just don't feel that strong yet.
CRONE I guess it's easier for you to live without a hot water tank. Where I live it would be impossible.
LLB Get better soon!
Lorraine:I also have a problem with delayed gratification and feel the same way. Eat it now or it will be gone!
I have to really think about this one and am not sure if I am going to do it.
01-27-2002, 09:52 PM
I agree Sprite I don't know if will do this either. I don't think this girl is ready, YET....
We will see after I ponder it some... otherwise we could come back to it at a later date.
01-27-2002, 10:54 PM
You know, in theory, this exercise is a good one. When I was losing the majority of my weight, I did something similiar. I realized that there would always be food around and it was simply up to me to decide how much I would eat at any given time. So, yes, I could keep supplies of "forbidden" or "trigger" foods and dole them out to myself each day. And I also saw the value of having more than I could possibly eat on hand and I did that, too. It worked then.
But in maintenance (more or less), it doesn't seem to really work for me. I seem to be back in my old mode of "I feel sad (or happy or anxious, etc.), so I'll have a little extra of that; oh, I opened that box, I'll have a little more; oh, well, I might as well have ..." It's not the bullemia of old, but it skirts the edges.
On the other hand, I have less "trigger" foods than I used to. I can keep donuts on hand without eating them all, but I have to keep them in the freezer. If they are not in the freezer, I'll eat them all.
But vanilla slimfast in a can? I'd better not risk it.
01-28-2002, 01:11 AM
Satisfaction...the more I think about the exercise, the more I realize it comes down to the concept of satisfaction and what that term means to me...does it mean full stomach? I'm not sure...what does satisfaction mean to the rest of you? How do you describe it?
01-28-2002, 09:02 AM
Hi guys, I found your discussion interesting - my question is WHY do so many of us have such an obsession with food and see it as the solution to being sad/depressed/stressed/anxious??
Have most of you struggled with weight a long time? I did as a teenager, was skinny for 15 years then after my 4th child (in less than 6 years) lost the battle - have been struggling for NINE years now since she was born to take it off ... up and down, up, up, up.
Also, do you guys find that time is a problem?? I try to figure out whether that is an excuse or a legitimate issue with which I have to deal.
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate ... I read an article that said that chocolate affects womens brains differently than men, True!! That's why women are usually more obsessed with it ... I am going to try that Vanilla slimfast.
01-28-2002, 12:10 PM
Ecchs: Satisfaction means different things to me at different times, which is why my trigger foods shift. I don't find it particularly satisfying to be full, though. In fact, I dislike it and when I'm in control, I find satisfaction in just reaching a level where I've enjoyed whatever I've eaten and know that it serves my life and desires. This also applies to "controlled" splurges that I think are a sensible way to blow off steam and release the tension of weight maintenance.
But the issue you raise is so complex that the above represents just one answer I might give.
Moonstone: I was a skinny child, oddly enough. Gained weight in early teens; lost weight to the point of anorexia in my 20s; gained in the early 30s and tried to self-destruct by bullemia (and a few other bad things); got healthy in the 40s but gained lots of weight; lost 100 pounds, still struggling with weight issues (can you tell? :dizzy: ). Story of life.
Time is definetely a problem, but IMO many people (including me) use that as an excuse not to do what is in their own best interest. There is always time to do what we have to do, we just have to decide what that is and then do it. We strategize; we give up other things; we multi-task; we get creative; there's always a way. I tell myself that every single day. Was it Hannibal or Alexander the Great who said: "I will find a way or make one."
So, it is both a legitimate issue and an excuse, I guess! :devil:
Re chocolate! :s: My understanding is that it contains substances that raise endorphin levels in the brain. Vanilla has the same substance, but in smaller amounts (no matter, vanilla is where it's AT for me). I have also read that it affects women differently than men. On the other hand, I've read about studies that show it doesn't raise endorphin levels and doesn't affect women differently. Hard to say. Chocolate and vanilla certainly make people happy, but whether that's just the sugar and fat they put into it and the romantic or other happy associations, who knows. I like semi-sweet chocolate best and that has less sugar and fat, so ...
My personal advice (unsolicited) to all persons managing their weight: Eat the chocolate (or the vanilla).
Resistance is futile. :cool:
01-29-2002, 09:54 PM
I have been lack at posting but still have a terrible cold....trying to get better......:(
01-29-2002, 10:20 PM
Get well soon, LLB!
I've 100 percent decided not to risk this experiment, although I do continue to eat whatever I like. So I have trigger foods, but not forbidden foods. But some of my trigger foods ARE forbidden to come sneaking their way into this house in any appreciable quantity. I think I'd better keep it that way for now.
Anyway some things are better in the abstract. Last week I wanted Godiva truffles (vanilla, of course). The only place to buy fresh Godiva truffles is the Godiva shop in a mall that is a 45-minute trip from here through traffic. Thinking that I would be moved to brave the trip soon and get the stupid truffles, I wasn't in a particular hurry. But every day I considered getting the truffles, two of them, and sitting in a chair in the mall and eating them. But I never went. And I don't care.
Had I had a stockpile of vanilla truffles in the house, I hate to think of where they would be now! :)
01-30-2002, 08:58 AM
02-01-2002, 09:50 PM
The exercise for next week will be much more fun and insightful....I will post it Saturday.
02-02-2002, 10:34 AM
I just wanted to drop in and say "hi" -- this exercise was definitely interesting. I've been crazy busy and sick for the last month (better now though). I've lurked but haven't managed to post.
The idea of keeping more of your "trigger" foods in the house than you could possibly eat is intriguing. I know that I've seen it before as the first step in breaking the compulsion.
I had a tiny flirt with the idea -- I bought a rice krispie "health food" (had dried fruit, nuts and PB in it -- so good!) square one day and ate it, mid-afternoon when I was hungry. The next day, I walked to the store (about a mile) and bought two (instead of telling myself I was only allowed to have one, i thought i could either save one or eat both if i wanted). I ate both of them when I got home. I was hungry, and felt satisfied after, and didn't have any impulse to stuff my face. It worked out well. I intend to keep some kind of food like that in the house for that situation. Maybe I can beat compulsion yet! I saw a recipe for something like that on epicurious and i think I'll try to make some (DH would like them too).
Lucky Ladybug, I want to thank you again for continuing to post these exercises. They (and the thought and discussion that they encourage) are so helpful! I'm going to try to go back and do the ones I've missed -- there were definitely some that seemed like they would be very useful.
You are doing so fabulously!
Hi to everyone else! I've got to get off the computer and get some exercise; typing just doesn't cut it!
Love to All!
02-02-2002, 11:49 AM
Thanks Babette I hope it is helping. I know these exercises are helping me. I haven't had a big Ah Ha...but I have noticed in suttle ways that I eat and think about eating differently.
Last night I was at the grocery store and decided I needed a "candy" treat for my hard work. (old thinking at work) I went to the candy isle and walked back and forth about 4 times and realized nothing appealed to me so I went to the checkout lane. Before I would have still bought something and ate it.
Babette if you need any of the exercises it can be long and stressful looking for them so let me know. I have them all in Word and could PM the ones you are missing to you.