Vulnerability Foods

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups I’ve heard them called a lot of things: trigger foods, red-light foods, but I tend to think of them as my Vulnerability Foods. They are foods that I like to binge with. They are friends when I’m feeling vulnerable. Some of them are old friends (Mother’s brand chocolate cookies or bite size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups). Others are new additions to my binging vulnerability (pretzels dipped in Nutella). They are foods that I search out when I don’t want to deal with my emotions. They are foods that allow me to consume a huge number of calories within a short amount of time.

Need to know how to deal with your personal vulnerability foods? Here’s a list of strategies, starting with the ones that don’t work for me and moving on to the ones that do work.

Advice That Doesn’t Work:

  • Don’t allow these foods in your house. I hate that advice. It’s like saying that in order for me to be healthy, I need to excise all these foods from my life. That gives them an ethereal desirability far greater than they had before. Refusing them access to my home is like telling me that I can never eat them again. It makes me want to binge on them even more.

  • Eat something else when you feel like bingeing. Ok, I can do that. After eating five pounds of carrots, I’ll go eat the bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, too. Eating something else has never stopped the binge for me, just filled my stomach even fuller.

  • Distract yourself by going for a walk, crocheting a sweater, reading a book… Those methods of distraction don’t help me. I can walk five miles and then come home and binge. The only good the walk did was burn off a few calories before I stuffed myself.

Advice That Does Work:

  • Keep the Vulnerability Foods in the house. Sometimes just knowing that I have those foods there, waiting for me is enough to calm me down. Knowing that I could binge if I wanted to is sometimes enough to keep me from doing it.

  • Slow a binge by separating the Vulnerability Foods into individual servings. When you buy the food, open it and separate them out into Ziploc Bags. Write on each bag how many calories and fat each serving contains. When the feeling to binge comes along, only allow yourself one bag at a time. Having to return to the cupboard each time will slow the binge.

  • Keep track of how much you eat. Make a pact with yourself that even if you do binge, you will write down every bite in a food journal before you eat it. Sometimes just writing it down, seeing that I haven’t gone that much over for the day, can stop a binge in its tracks.

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY: Figure out why you want to binge. Getting real with myself and writing out why I feel like bingeing has been the most helpful thing for me. Of course, I’m a writer, so writing is healing to me. This is probably where the “go for a walk” advice came about. For some people taking a walk alone (or crocheting/reading) helps them think about the issue that sent them to the brink of bingeing. It’s not the walking or writing, it’s the willingness to figure out why you want to binge.

Living a healthy life is an ongoing effort. A life without pretzels and Nutella is not a life worth living. Learning how to live with your Vulnerability Foods is one step to leading a stronger and healthier life.


3 Responses to “Vulnerability Foods”

  1. Sinistar Says:

    I didn’t really have a Vulnerability Food until those damnable Star Wars dark chocolate peanut M&Ms hit the shelves.

    Two bags later, my scale is telling me it’s time to knock it off.

  2. ali Says:

    My Vulnerability Food is peanut butter. If i have one little taste of it – No; if i even SMELL it, i end up eating like 10 tablespoons of it.

    How i stop binging on it: THROW IT OUT. It works.

  3. Amanda Says:

    I really like the plastic bag idea. I think I will do that from now on rather than having a whole bag of something sitting next to me, which only encourages you to just keep reaching. Thanks!

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