Monday, January 21, 2013

What is the "Crack Foods List"?  This is an item I came up with a few years ago when writing my Healthy Mind-Healthy Body Journal for tracking your food intake and moods.  The Crack Foods List is a list of foods that for you are like crack cocaine is to an addict.  These are foods that you know generally lead you to overeat more, or slip into a full-fledged binge.  Here's a sample "Crack Foods List."  Now make one of your own. 

Sample "Crack Foods List":
Entenmann's chocolate doughnuts
Oreo's (of any kind)
Ice Cream (even the light stuff)
Cereal (will result in late-night cereal eating)
Macaroni & Cheese
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Ice Cream Sandwiches (even the "diet" kind--you'll eat 2 or 3)
Dove Bars
Milk (will result in late-night cereal eating)
Bread (will result in late-night toast eating)
Cheese (with the exception of laughing cow light--no urge to overeat on that).

And remember, it starts when you go to the grocery store. If you buy these foods and have them in your house, then you WILL eat them. Any ideas going through your mind that tell you you can control it, and not overeat on these, is the saboteur setting you up. Post the list somewhere in your house, or in your purse or wallet. Don't fool yourself into leaving foods off the list either. You know which ones belong on your personal list.

© 2013 Sue Brekka

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This is an interesting article on the link between diet drinks and depression:  The study did not prove any cause and effect, just a correlation.  But I'd be curious to know which came first.  The depression or the diet soda.  Are people who are depressed more likely to gravitate towards diet soda?  Or is it something else that leads people to drink a lot of diet soda and the diet soda results in depression?  This particular study doesn't say.  But as a major diet-coke drinker myself, and a professional working with people struggling with food and body image issues, I'd like to know the answer to this question.  If there is one...  Many people who struggle with their weight also drink diet sodas, and have depression.  But many others drink regular sodas or no sodas at all and have depression.  This subject definitely deserves more research.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dealing with Food around the Holidays, Part Two-Overeating at parties

I’ve received a request to go into more detail on dealing with anxiety at holiday parties, which, for many of us, triggers overeating. Being in social situations,including (perhaps especially) those involving family, triggers a high level of anxiety. Why is that? Mainly that’s because of our own insecurities or self-esteem issues. When meeting new people, or even being around people we know, there is always the unconscious awareness that people might not like us or our behavior. There’s always the chance that someone won’t like you, no matter what you do. Being o.k. with that requires 1. Liking yourself no matter what others think; 2. Being o.k. with not having control over what others think; 3. Being able to accept and love yourself as an imperfect human being. The problem is that we all have an internal bully in our heads that tends to get activated whenever we are around others and have to put ourselves “out there” risking rejection or judgment. If there are things that you do not like about yourself-which is true of most “healthy” people, that risk of rejection triggers your internal bully who starts to compare your to others, belittle and berate you, and beat up on you for your perceived failings.

Essentially, you do to yourself what you fear from those people around you-judge you, criticize, laugh at you, and be incredibly mean to yourself. Typically our own inner bully is much harsher than others would ever be. So, the inner bully beats up on you, making you feel bad, which in turn triggers the need to make yourself feel better-you need to soothe yourself. Some people self-soothe by drinkingor doing drugs. But if your self-esteem is tied up in being the “good girl”, then those are not options. However food is. So you turn to food to shove down your bad feelings. This only works momentarily and then the bully is retriggered and embollened to beat up on you for overeating. And so you need to self-soothe again, eating more food, and so on, and so on… For many people this almost takes a trance-like quality where it’s just you and the food. You may even convince yourself that no one is seeing how much you’re eating. You feel like disappearing, and it almost seems you have. The reality is that people do notice. That’s even more frightening.

So what can you do when you’re going to a party, and you’re afraid it’s going to mean an unavoidable hinge? There are a few things that can help. But I’m not going to lie, it is MUCH easier said than done. It helps to recognize the pattern above, so that you can recognize it when it’s happening. But then it’s really up to you to go to battle with your inner bully. At first this feels impossible. It’s like going to the gym and working muscles you’ve never worked before. It feels impossible, and takes every ounce of will and strength. But like working those muscles, it does get easier. Your mental muscle get’s stronger. How do you do battle with the inner bully? It helps to think, what would I say to someone else who said such horrible things about themselves? It may sound something like this, c’mon, that’s not nice. So what if that skinny woman seems so perfect, You don’t know what her life’s really like.” Or, “why wouldn’t they like you? You’re a really loving, cool person. And a lot of people love you. So if someone doesn’t like you, F@#k ‘em. That’s they’re loss.” And “think about how badly you’ll feel after a hinge. You don’t deserve to feel that way. Don’t put yourself through that! You can take care of yourself. And you deserve to be well-taken-care of.” Remember, you’ll feel amazing, and so good about yourself if you don’t overeaten tonight. I know you can do it. And what a great way to start off 2013! Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2012 Sue Brekka, M.A., MFT