But I am still struggling with impulsive food purchases/eating.
Granted, this isn’t nearly as terrible a habit as c/s was, but it’s still something that doesn’t exactly inspire pride, and is dangerous for my waistline.
Fortunately, at the gym this weekend, I found Geneen Roth’s latest column in Good Housekeeping which talks about why we eat what we eat. (I tried to find it online, but it’s not there yet.)
To summarize, in the article, she places the foods we eat into two categories: hummers and beckoners.
A “hummer” food is something that you’ve been thinking about that you are looking forward to eating. It’s something you’ve been craving; it’s not an impulsive choice.
An example of a hummer food is the salt bagel I intend to have in October when I’m at home in N.J. for a friend’s wedding (I only eat bagels at home — N.J./N.Y. bagel snob ;))
On the flipside, “beckoners” are impulse cravings, things we didn’t know we needed til we see or smell them. Say you walk into a friend’s house and she has chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. Hungry or not, chances are, you’ll want a cookie.
All my c/s behaviors were based upon “beckoner” purchases — and even though I’m not c/s anymore, when I grab , say, the new dark chocolate Reese’s from the grocery store check-out line, it’s a beckoner; strictly an impulse buy. Not a premeditated purchase.
It’s the equivalent of a shopping spree … except instead of only hurting my wallet, this hurts my waistline, too.
According to Roth, the nutritional value of the food doesn’t make a difference in what’s considered a hummer or a beckoner, and they vary person to person.
Likewise, the same food that is a hummer one day can be a beckoner the next day, and vice versa. Her example was leftovers. Let’s pretend you’d been craving lasagna for a week, and so one night you fix a batch and have a satisfying portion at dinner …
But then find yourself staring at the contents of the fridge at 4 a.m., rummaging for that very same lasagna, now in leftover form. The hummer became a beckoner.
I’m being honest here: I’ve struggled with beckoners so much.
In the past, it was because I didn’t order what I truly wanted at a restaurant, for example, and would end up feeling deprived and then eating a sub-par dessert “just because,” or snacking when I got home because I felt unsatisfied from a lame dinner.
(How many salads with grilled chicken can one order?! But if I got what I really wanted, say, chicken parm, I knew I’d only be able to “afford” like three or four bites for the same Points of a big salad … so I’d convince myself to make chicken parm at home (baked, using FF cheese, etc.) and order boring, bland foods out. This was how I coped; how I learned to work WW into my life.)
Today, my struggle is almost the opposite: it’s because I have been giving in too much lately to my sweet/chocolate cravings, pretzels … stuff I just don’t need, and I know I don’t need.
It’s like a monster has taken over me, resisting my logic/rationale along the way. Naturally, it’s resulted in zero weight loss, and my jeans aren’t getting any looser. Fortunately, being so active helps me avoid gaining weight, but it’d be nice to be able to lose again, and I’m standing in my own way.
You could call me the queen of self-sabatoge. Ironically, I’m tending toward many “beckoner” foods I easily turned my nose up at just a few years ago. “I don’t eat XYZ” is what I’d say back then.
It’s like my resistance muscle has gone limp, and it sucks. Especially because I am aware of it. But now, using Roth’s hummer/beckoner models, I’m hoping to not only strengthen my resistance muscle, but also to strengthen my own sense of self.
When I make choices that make me feel good, I feel good. This past weekend, I indulged in way too much sugar, and am feeling it now.
So my goal this week is to take note of hummer vs. beckoner choices I’m making. As I journal my Points, I’ll also journal which camp the choice fell into. I think it will help me (a very visual person) “see” the light.
How about you? How often are you aware of a food choice being a hummer choice or a beckoner choice?