My plan was roughly focused on committing to only using Filling Foods for snacks and to try to limit myself to two 3-4 POINTS values snacks per day. How did it go? Great. I actually did it. It was funny how limiting myself to foods like fruit, 0-fat yogurt, etc. could limit my mindless eating. What I particularly liked about last week was that I felt in control, but in a very natural and common sense kind of way.
However, even wrestlers and super heroes have their kryptonite, and it is time for me to recognize mine.
All this got me thinking about the other side of Filling Foods: trigger foods. So what exactly is the definition of a Trigger Food? From the WeightWatchers.com website (the Science Center section) "Eating Triggers" -- WeightWatchers.com :
- Trigger Food: A trigger food is a specific food that sets off a course of overeating where control is lost and excessive amounts are consumed. The most common trigger foods are sugar/fat combinations (e.g. ice cream, cookies) and fat/salt combination (e.g. nuts, potato chips). Food triggers are fairly uncommon and should not be confused with favorite foods (foods that are highly preferred), comfort foods (foods that are linked to a sense of home and contentment) or food cravings (desire for a food that has not been consumed in a long time). With a true food trigger it is the food, not an emotion or situation, that triggers the out-of-control eating. For example, open the bag of potato chips and it will be gone, regardless of mood, time of day or place.
One of the keys to appreciating the above is recognize that each person has their own Trigger Foods. What sends one person into a freakish eating frenzy might garner a mere meh from someone else. I have spent some time thinking about my cat nip foods, and here are some of my key culprits:
- Hummus: deadly stuff for me even though it is a perfectly honorable food. Set me up with a tub of this and a box of Reduced Fat Triscuits and watch the crumbs fly. I can easily run through 12-15 Triscuits and a half a tub of Sabra. Damage: 9.5 POINTS values for the hummus and 4.5 POINTS values for the Triscuits for a grand total of 14 POINTS values. Ouch. Half a day for about 5 minutes of mindless munching.
- Pretzels: I started eating Pretzels instead of chips because they seemed the healthier option (i.e., not fried, etc.). When I go this way, I often use honey mustard as a dipping agent. Again, my logic here is that it is a healthier way to go. Typical binge? 16 Rold Gold Twisted Wheat for 4 POINTS values and 4 tbs Honeycup Uniquely Sharp Mustard for another 4 POINTS values. Total = 8 POINTS values. Not as bad as the hummus, but still a 400 calorie snack.
- Reduced calorie ice cream treats: This is a classic example of completely abusing a product designed to help you. I almost NEVER have just one Weight Watchers ice cream treat, as I usually opt to go double fisted. Cost for one Weight Watchers mint cone: 2 POINTS values. Cost for two? 5 POINTS values. Beware of rounding!!!
- Nuts. It is disturbing how much I like nuts. All nuts of all types. Love them love them love them, which is unfortunate given their calorie density. 1/4 cup of almonds is about 5 POINTS values (30 nuts), which makes 1/2 a cup 10 POINTS values and a full cup 20 POINTS values. Funny how food scales in a curiously linear fashion. Similarly 14 cashews would be 4 POINTS values and 30 would be 9 POINTS values (!!!!). The age old problem with nuts is proper portion control. An open bag of nuts is not a good friend.