100 lb. Club - Learning to eat "just one"...

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01-08-2011, 12:40 PM
Does anyone have any mind tricks or willpower exercises that can help me get better at just eating one of something. How do people do this?

For example, I would love to have a small biscotti with my coffee in the morning. I make a nice whole wheat dark chocolate biscotti - no fat, not a lot of calories, not super sweet. They aren't addictive like chocolate chip cookies or potato chips - i'm not sure I'll ever get to the point where I can take just one homemade chocolate chip cookie and not go back for seconds until they are all gone.

It just seems to me like I should be able to eat just one biscotti. But I just can't seem to do it. I don't eat them all the day I make them but I can't manage to limit myself to one a day. It isn't hunger and it isn't that I'm deprived of chocolate - I do have chocolate often enough that I'm not totally craving it all the time.

How do people learn to just have one of something? I really want to learn this this year.

01-08-2011, 01:13 PM
I know what you mean I use to ALWAYS go back for seconds at dinner or snacks I now tell myself the food will ALWAYS be there tomorrow and I can have one then or if you are a calorie counter you can always save some calories to have another.

01-08-2011, 01:30 PM
I'd be interested to know. I can't do it unless I am in public with friends or at work. Then the thought of being seen to have too much bugs me. :listen:

01-08-2011, 01:37 PM
I like to see how long I can make something last ... which is easier when I'm the only one eating them :) If I have seven of something left, I like to plan on one every day. BUT if someone else is enjoying them at a much, much faster rate, then my mind goes into the "hey - I need to have an extra one today in case it's gone tomorrow!" mode...
Good luck!

01-08-2011, 01:56 PM
The easiest way for me is to think about how I look, and what I looked like at a bigger weight after eating the bad food. After thinking about my image the cookie, chocolate, and other junk foods almost sound disgusting. I know in my heart I don't want to look and feel that large again. It might not be willpower but I just keep thinking about that and it keeps me in check.

01-08-2011, 02:11 PM
I can't thats why I don't allow any food that would lead me to have more than one !

DixC Chix
01-08-2011, 06:54 PM
Vladadog ~

I think if I had an answer to that I'd be rich...really, really rich. :carrot:
Its probably different for everyone. There are things I just can't have one of so I tend not to have any. When I do have something that "tastes like more" I try to eat it slowly with itty bitty bites and maybe with something else so I can make it last longer. Also sometimes I have to brush my teeth to stop savoring the taste so much that I want more.

Good luck and if you find some other tricks and tips I love to know too!

01-08-2011, 07:08 PM
Vladadog ~

I think if I had an answer to that I'd be rich...really, really rich. :carrot:
Its probably different for everyone. There are things I just can't have one of so I tend not to have any. When I do have something that "tastes like more" I try to eat it slowly with itty bitty bites and maybe with something else so I can make it last longer. Also sometimes I have to brush my teeth to stop savoring the taste so much that I want more.

Good luck and if you find some other tricks and tips I love to know too!

Me too! I think the brushing your teeth is a really great idea...after I brush my teeth it makes me not want to eat for a while.
Vladadog you are doing an amazing job with your weight loss. I have noticed it in the Jan. daily weigh in's. I also am hoping to be in the 180's soon :)
Sorry I don't have an answer about the eating one thing- I have no self control if these things are in my house. If I eat even 1 it triggers a binge in me. So I will stick to my clementines and grapes :D

Nola Celeste
01-08-2011, 07:41 PM
Eating "just one" is a toughie for me too. Pretty much the only way I can do it with some foods is to ensure that there's "just one" to eat. That's not really practical for things like biscotti unless you give the rest away to co-workers or friends, though.

Maybe those biscotti will always be "more-ish" for you even though they're not as calorie-dense as, say, chocolate chip cookies. They might be just close enough to trigger the same "gotta have another" reaction. I have that problem with certain brands of crispbreads--they're plan-friendly choices by themselves, but they always make me jones for more just like cheez-its always did.

The teeth-brushing suggestion also sounded like a good one. One thing that helps me is to get up and do something else as soon as I've finished something that I think might make me want seconds. If the "something else" involves busying my hands, so much the better--writing is good for that, so is painting, and so is a manicure (manicures have the additional benefit of giving you nails that'll get messed up if you dive into a bag of food, so you have extra incentive to keep out :) ).

01-08-2011, 08:20 PM
It just seems to me like I should be able to eat just one...

Thinking this, I really believe, was one of the biggest obstacles to my sustaining weight loss. I kept failing because instead of doing what was effective, I tried over and over unsuccessfully to do it the way I thought I "should" be able to.

I wasted decades trying to learn how to "eat just one." I'm finally realizing (can't say I'm always able to see) that "should" does not always mean "can."

For me, some foods are like alcohol to an alcoholic. One is too may, and a thousand are never enough.

It's been incredibly liberating to just accept the fact that for many of these things, I simply cannot. The only way I can eat "just one" of many things, is to only buy one. Sometimes that's not even enough, as there are some foods that trigger so much hunger for me that if I eat even one, it can trigger binges of everything else in the house.

That doesn't mean I never have some of these foods, but I do have to look at them as potential time bombs. I have to ask "is even one really worth it to me?"

Most of the time it's not. More and more though I'm realizing this before I make the attempt rather than after.

01-08-2011, 09:18 PM
I've mastered great restraint.

I portion control a snack, so if you decide you want this treat in the morning, set it in a snack sized baggie and leave it out for you in the morning, perhaps eat toward the end of your last cup of coffee, if you have lots left to eat you can freeze them perhaps and take one out the night before and leave it out for yourself to defrost through the night. There are great ways to provide yourseld restraints. Good luck

Goddess Jessica
01-08-2011, 10:20 PM
Cookies are my downfall so I tend to portion enough for a week (7), give the rest away, and then put them in the freezer. If you go back for seconds, you have to eat it frozen (not as good for me) and won't have one tomorrow (sad!). Also try ending your coffee/tea with the biscotti and not going back for another cup. A second cup sometimes mean a second cookie!

01-09-2011, 01:41 AM
yup, this is a tough one to be sure. Is it ONLY that it tastes good and you want another, or does it go deeper? Are you fearful of success and/or failure so you're sabotaging yourself? Is it a compulsion? there's so many reasons behind food, it's a bit nutty! Personally, I tried being the type to just plain NEVER have anything tempting to me in the house. I very quickly realized that it wasn't the food, it was MY response to it. I can't police the entire world and only have exactly what i want around me all the time, i go other places, am in different situations -- things change. So i had to change ME, the only constant in the equation.

As dumb as it sounds, really strong sugar free gum helped me a LOT in the beginning. I'd get some insane craving for bowl after bowl of (ice cream, cereal, chips, etc.) and i'd chew half a pack of gum til i calmed down, and then wrote about why i was so mental about it lol. I can't say what will work for you, no one can, but there's light at the end of the tunnel. If i can do it, anyone can believe me!

01-09-2011, 01:49 AM
what is this "just one" you speak of :shrug:

While it might be impossible for you to have 'just one', is it possible for you to just 'make one'?

I'm not familiar with the methods of making biscotti, but to me it looks like you can make the dough/batter/stuff for it, cut off enough for one piece, put that in the oven, then put the rest of the mixture in the freezer?

Then, you won't be able to have 'just one more', because there's only just one to be had ;) Even if you do go for another, defrosting then oven heating then baking might take so long and or be too much effort that you decide you don't need another!

01-09-2011, 02:00 AM
It depends on the item.

I can eat just one chocolate because I freeze them Then it lasts longer melting in my mouth, and I go for green &black dark chocolate. Pretty intense flavor, so that's plenty.

Cookies? Cakes? I can't. So I don't bake those things at all. If I buy them, even if it costs more money, I try to get it at the 7-11, starbucks, or something similar in the 1 person size baggie. I know I will eat the whole bag, so better to get the smallest bag possible! I also have frozen choc chip cookies to make them go longer.

Soft, white bread? Ugh -- just keep away. I'd eat the whole loaf in one go.

I think it is easier to resists once at the store and not buy trigger foods than to buy and resist a hundred times at home. It just doesn't work for me. I will cave and binge on the trigger item. That's why it is a trigger item for me.

I'm not using my meter right now because I broke it and I haven't replaced it yet, but I bet if I tried it out right after eating all those trigger things, it's because it spikes my blood sugar too high and then I feel crazy and lose control and binge.


Elvish Mistress
01-09-2011, 07:11 AM
I have terrible self-control as well. During this past year, I've had some health problems that made me have to give up caffeine. And let me tell you, that was HARD. Since I mainly had a problem with soda, during the weaning-off process, I would keep them in the bed of my truck, in the middle where I couldn't reach. Then, if I wanted one, I would have to go outside in the 100 degree heat, climb into the bed of my truck and back out again (no small feat at my height and weight) to get a soda. Then it would be too hot even to put on ice so I would have time to change my mind while it cooled down.

Ok, after typing all that, i realize that this probably wouldn't help with a food issue at all. And the main point is that it helped for that particular moment, but it did nothing to change my behavior -which is why I can not even keep the stuff in or around my house. Period. Sooo... if you do find something that helps with the behavior, please let us know! :)

01-09-2011, 09:11 AM
I don't know. I went from eatings tons of everything to only eating what's allowed by my calorie range and for whatever reason, I've found it fairly easy to say no when something doesn't fit into my daily plan. If it were that easy for everyone, just saying no when it doesn't fit, weight loss would be easy. The only thing is, I am worried someday this might change...I have mo idea why my mind suddenly made the switch and if might not switch back one day.

01-09-2011, 12:59 PM
The only way I can see this happening is if you take a break from obsessing to free your mind but this is unrealistic to most since taking a break from actively trying to lose weight will be sort of detrimental to the progress they have made thus far.

good topic. I think it's different for everyone too, though I could relate to pieces of what most people here wrote. for me there definitely was an all or nothing aspect to eating "one" or "one portion" of what I considered "non-diet" food (ice cream, bread, chocolate, cake, potato chips, etc.)

separating eating food from non-hunger feelings (tiredness, sadness, comfort) has helped me (not perfect at that still); getting away from the all or nothing thinking -- I have to stay perfectly on plan, or I've just completely blown it so I'll eat what I want. Which isn't true. A cookie or piece of bread won't destroy my program, but it's a tricky line to walk. I can't do it too often or I won't lose weight. When I reach for whatever, I tell myself that there's an endless supply of it in the world, and that if I just have one now, at some later time I can have more, I'm limiting my intake for another goal.

and yes, for me, it's better if I don't have those loaves of Italian bread around. I'm going to finish the loaf, maybe not all in one sitting, but I will end up having more of it than I really want to have -- with my weight loss goals in mind.

I also think for me that (almost) lifelong dieting set up an obsessiveness with food and eating that was tough to break, I had to make peace too.

01-09-2011, 03:46 PM
Alas, I do not have an answer either.

If I bring it home with me at some point I will eat it. That may be an unhealthy fact but something that I decided to accept as such and rather try to work my way around the problem.

I go shopping with a list these days and try to stick to it. The ugly truth is that most of the time I buy too much food and end up throwing some away. :(

Since trying to eat healthy means a lot more home prepared food I am forced to plan ahead. As long as I have a plan for tomorrow and so on, chances are much smaller that I will slip than without a plan.

And it is much much easier to resist a bag of chips or cookies or candy when I am shopping with a full stomach compared to being at home, getting hungry and then making a smart food choice while knowing that I also have unhealthy but oh so yummy calorie bombs available at my own discretion in the kitchen cupboard.

So for now, I am swearing by abstinence of chips, chocolate, candy and rolls. Those tend to trigger binges otherwise. :(

01-09-2011, 09:37 PM
I agree with other people that say know yourself and plan for success. For example I was shopping this weekend for a possible ice storm and I managed to buy no chocolate or cookies or jelly beans (my favorite treat) or ice cream. I know if I am stuck in the house for a day or two I will eat to much of any sweet treats. I also planned to have healthy snacks- fruit and veggies, hot tea if the power stays on and pre-portioned nuts.

I also have found success in only buying one portion of a treat so there is no option to go back for more. Or enjoying the treat with family so that everyone gets a little but there is none to take home with me to finish off as a midnight snack.

I do large batch cooking on the weekend and have struggled with eating more then one portion. I now try to create portion size servings as soon as possible and I freeze them. I must admit this does not always work and I still over eat from time to time.

Best of luck on finding what works for you.

01-09-2011, 09:42 PM
I can eat just one apple, so they get to come in the house.

I cannot eat just one cookie/baby candy bar at home. So they don't get invited in.

I can eat just one chicken thigh. Welcome chicken!

I cannot drink one glass of La Crema Chardonnay. Sorry, wine, I'll see you at the holidays. (When I'm driving & have to have just one.)

I can drink just one beer. So buying 12 at a time is fine, they last a long time.

I cannot eat just one slice of bread. I tried last week. I can't even eat just 3 slices. Sorry, bread, I'll see you at a restaurant or some other portion controlled place.

If you can't eat just one biscotti, stop making biscotti.

01-10-2011, 12:31 AM
sugar is addictive. and food companies know what things are addictive and they make the most of it.

01-10-2011, 02:20 AM
thinner is right, sugar sure is adictive but I don't think sugar is the culprit here. My biscotti are not particularly sweet but they have very dark chocolate and chewy bits of apricot in them which is what I think makes them "taste like more" (love that term, DixC Chix!)

Interesting idea trying to bake one at a tie - it takes about an hour just to bake biscotti so that would certainly provide a very natural limit. Bagging them up individually might also work. I may give both ideas a try at some point.

I also think kaplods is totally right - sometimes what seems like it "should" be possible just isn't. I totally accept that. I already figure that just one chocolate chip cookie will never be in my future. The combination of butter, sugar, and chocolate is just too powerful and that way lies only madness...

Saturday afternoon I made sugar cookies for the coffee hour after church service. I wanted to eat all the dough (because of course I tried a bite) but I didn't becuase I needed to have the cookies to take to church so I couldn't eat the dough. I got home from work Sunday morning with just enough time to take care of the dogs and grab the cookies. I was really really hungry (very bad planning on my part but I hadn't expected to get called in to work) and ate one cookie but I did not eat more (even though I wanted to eat them all between the hunger and the sugar rush) because I needed to take them to church. So I have the willpower when there is an externally enforced limit.

When I got up from a nap I made a turkey sandwich on a parmesian bread I don't buy often but love love love. That bread always "tstes like more" to me. Just smelling that bread "tstes like more" - opening my fridge when it is in there "tastes like more". When I finished my very yummy sandwih I really wanted another but I used the thoughts from this thread and am proud to say I did not make a second sandwich (I could have fit it in calorie wise for the day but i should have had veggies and not more sodium and whole wheat carbs).

But my desire for more bread gave me this to consider: if I had this bread every day (instead of a higher fiber 100% whole grain bread which I also really like) I think it would lose it's "tastes like more" power over me. I would still love it but I would become a bit desensitized to it's charms. We'd become like an old married couple - appreciative but no longer as passionate.

I don't think I can ever lose my passion for my homemade chocolate chip cookies. We will always have an unhealthy love affair. I'm not sure about the biscotti yet. Maybe when I get to the maintainence stage I'll find out but for right now I think I just have to accept that it tastes too much like more.