Tag Archives: addiction

What to do With Leftovers?

If the picture above is your plan for leftovers, you are courting disaster.

If this is what you are planning to do with leftovers, and you are a food addict like me, you are unconsciously planning to overeat for a week.

When analyzing what went wrong when a client complained about being unable to stop herself from getting up repeatedly at night to eat cookies or chips, I asked her when she got the cookies and chips. She said she picked them up the last time she went shopping. I asked her where they fit in her food plan and when she was planning on eating them. She said had no plans that included cookies or chips and she was not planning on eating them. “They were to have there if I needed them.”

I said, “No, when you bought them, that’s when you planned on eating them for ‘snacks’ which you know is not what we do.” (There is no snacking on The Anderson Method. There are only planned meals and fasting). She had to think about that for a minute and realize that when she bought them, she was unconsciously planning to eat them whenever she felt like it. She had to admit that without realizing it, she was planning on overeating.

She wasn’t conscious of it, but the “inner addict” had a plan to eat cookies and chips for fun at night. Believe me, if you have food in the house, you are planning to eat it, whether you know it or not. You may not know it, but everything in your house is something you are planning to eat sometime. For food addicts, it’s likely to be tonight if it’s not part of one of the meals you’ve planned in the future, especially if it’s not frozen.

What’s your plan for leftovers? If you just fill the fridge, you are inviting a binge, maybe a week of bingeing.

You must plan on what to do with leftovers. If you leave pie or stuffing in big containers in the fridge, your “inner addict” will know they are there and tempt you to go have some …… now.

Plan on what to do with leftovers now. I send dessert things home with the guests, or chuck it down the disposal. I’ve had enough experience to know that if I leave it in the fridge, I’m likely to have trouble. If I tell my self I’m not planning on eating it, I know I’m just kidding myself. There is no room in my non-holiday meal plans for pecan pie.

I put the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes in ZipLoc containers in serving sizes and put them in the freezer. That way, I can have a turkey dinner once a week for a while. I do this with all the roasts I have on the weekends.

I try to send all the dangerous stuff home with the guests. If they don’t take it, I chuck it down the disposal. When the evening is over, there is nothing in the fridge that is not part of one of the planned meals for the coming week. There is nothing in there that is one of my addictive foods that I’ve learned I cannot have in the house.

With years of experience and trial and error, I now have wonderful holiday meals  with every holiday season, and I have an easy time eating healthfully in the days between them. It took a while to learn how to do that and get to the point where it’s easy, but it’s doable.

You can win at permanent weight loss. I will work to make it easier for you with what I’ve learned. That’s The Anderson Method.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Is Food Addiction Keeping You From Losing Weight?

(First published in The Huffington Post)Corpulent Woman Having Addiction to Unhealthy Food

Have you ever thought of yourself as a food addict? If so, you are not alone.

Ask yourself these questions:

1) Do you find yourself craving and eating certain foods even though you’re not physically hungry?

2) Have you tried to have just a bit of something like ice cream or chips and find that you can’t stop, sometimes eating the whole box or bag?

3) Do you think about food constantly?

4) Do you try to cut back or abstain from overeating, repeatedly fail, and feel guilty or ashamed because of it?

5) Are there times when “too much is not enough” and you just can’t get enough?

6) Does your overeating cause you significant problems, yet you continue to do it, and can’t help yourself?

7) Does your eating get worse if you are stressed, anxious, angry or hurt?

8) Do you often feel angry or anxious if you try to limit your eating?

If you answered “yes” to more than a couple of these questions, you are like most of the clients who have come to me for help to lose weight. Like me, they had been told that diet and exercise were the answer to their weight problem. However, they just could not get themselves to diet and exercise for very long, if at all, before going back to their old ways. If they were able to lose a significant amount of weight, it wasn’t long before they put it back on.

Relax. You’re normal. You’re OK. But you might be a food addict.

In fact, it’s normal to be a food addict in America. Approximately 70 percent of us are overweight and 35 percent of us are clinically obese. And it’s not like we want to be. If fact, we spend billions on weight loss because we hate it. Yet we are still overweight and it’s getting worse.

In addiction counseling, there are often disputes with clients about whether or not they are an addict when they swear they are not. When I first started treating addictions, before I solved my own food and weight problem, an old alcohol counselor gave me his definition of an addict: An addict is a person who, when they indulge, it causes problems, yet they continue to indulge.

You see, if a person is normal and mentally healthy, and they find that some behavior is causing big problems in their life, they just stop, or change it so it no longer causes problems. For example, if you discovered that you were suddenly allergic to shellfish or peanuts and got sick every time you had it, you’d stop eating whatever you were allergic to. You don’t keep touching a hot stove.

But addicts don’t stop. They keep drinking or using even when it costs them their job, family and health, even when they try their hardest to stop. They keep smoking even when they know its damaging their lungs, even after they’ve tried to quit dozens of times. That’s the “insanity” and power of addiction. It prevents a person from stopping something they know is killing them. They are powerless. And often the addiction clouds their mind so they live in denial. I had a smoker on oxygen once tell me, “it’s not that bad” when we were talking about his COPD. An alcoholic told me he only had a “touch” of cirrhosis. I had one in jail on his third DUI tell me his drinking was really not a problem. If they were in their right minds and able to exercise their will and self-preservation instincts, they’d quit those addictions in a heartbeat. Normally, if you find that something you do is ruining your life and happiness, you stop. But addictions have a power over a person’s will and even their insight.

In America, we have a food addiction problem. It’s exacerbated by a culture that is in denial about it. We promote eating as a pastime and as a form of entertainment and important part of socializing and networking. We’ve convinced ourselves that enormous portions are normal and that overindulging is lighthearted fun. Meanwhile, the fact is that it is killing us.

I grew up overweight and spent years failing at diets. Like 35 percent of us I was obese, actually way more than obese, and I had every one of those behaviors I listed at the beginning of the article. I often joked about being addicted to Doritos and Oreos, but it was not until I started working with addicts and studying addictions and how to treat them that I realized I really was a food addict. And treating my problem as an addiction with behavior therapy finally solved my weight problem.

If you are a food addict, the routine approach using diets and exercise is not going to solve your problem. Neither will surgery. They won’t change what has to be changed because yours is not a weight problem. It’s a behavior problem, an addiction problem. And it won’t get fixed until you treat it as such.