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Patch Takes It Off: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

This week, Stacey learns that letting go of trigger foods is necessary for healthy eating.

While I did fairly well with eating and exercise on vacation, the week that followed is another story.  After a few days of non-stop snacking, I decided it was time for a major decision.  I had to break up with an old friend (that really was becoming a foe).  It was time.  It was long overdue.  I decided a “Dear John” letter was the best way to handle the situation.  It went something like this:

Dear Nutella,

I'm terribly sorry I had to do this through a letter; this is not easy for me at all, honestly. This note will be the last memory you'll ever have of me. I’m done with you and I’m not looking back. Don't let it get you all upset inside.  It wasn't completely your fault, no doubt about it. It was your extreme smooth chocolate nuttiness that kept me from being even remotely interested in eating healthy foods.

You'll be much better off finding a person who can deal with the wonderful way you taste on graham crackers and straight out of the jar. I might miss certain memories about you, especially the time I put you on my pancakes.

I'm glad this is done and we're going in separate directions for good. I think you'll find someone who loves you again.  And no, we can’t be “just friends.”  You’re just too tempting.

Love, Stacey

If you haven’t tried it, Nutella is an Italian hazelnut spread.  It is amazing, but addictive.  It is almost impossible to have one serving (for me, anyway).  The week after I returned from vacation, I think I unofficially declared it “Nutellafest 2011” in my house.  I was treating myself to it every day (and often multiple times a day).  Before I knew it, the whole jar was gone and so was my confidence in my ability to lose weight.  Not a good feeling at all!

As much as I hate to admit it, I just can’t have certain foods in the house.  I’d like to think that I could have the typical normal serving of every food.  But the truth is, some foods really trigger a complete lack of self-control for me.  Once I start, I just can’t stop.  It’s frustrating, but the logical answer to this is to just get rid of it, don’t keep it in the house.  In the grand scheme of my life, it is just food and I shouldn’t let it have such control over my day-to-day eating habits.

This past week I also realized how much I use food to ease stress and overwhelming emotions.  Upon returning from vacation, I received the horrible news that one of my best friends from college was in a freak accident.  My friend, who is expecting her second baby, was struck by a car while eating lunch outside at a café.  Thankfully, she and her baby are okay, but she has suffered severe injuries that will take months to heal.  As I write this, I am realizing that my Nutella spree may have had a lot to do with my emotional state, as I was sick with grief over what had happened.

So, some major lessons have been learned from all of this.  First, certain foods must never enter my grocery cart or my kitchen.  Second, allowing food to be my comfort in a stressful situation isn’t going to change things I can’t control.  In fact, I think that it almost makes things worse.  In addition to the source of the stress, I am then left with the guilt, frustration, and physical discomfort of overeating.  Life is stressful enough, why make it worse when I have the ability to control what I eat and why I eat it?  I need to remind myself of this each and every time I am tempted to relieve emotional upset with food.  Maybe I should post this reminder on my refrigerator and shelf in the pantry.  This way, I won't be writing "Dear John" letter to every treat I'd like to indulge in.

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