Weighty Matters

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Habitual Eating aka The Doughnut Lure

on December 9, 2012

These are not technical, official, or medical terms.  I made them up just now, but they seemed right in light of my current pondering.  You might wonder what caused this topic.  Simple answer.  After many, many months of applications, planning approval, permits, construction and delays, a new gas station opened in town with a built-in Dunkin Donuts.

I love Dunkin Donuts.  Won’t touch a Krispy Kreme product because I think they’re overly sweet to the point of gross, and I find that most supermarket doughnuts are flavorless, textureless fluff rings, but a Dunkin Doughnut makes my taste buds sit up and sing.

I am pleased and proud to say that the local DD has been open for at least three whole days and I’m yet to steer into the drive-through and cave into temptation.  This is harder temptation to resist than most people can imagine, but I’m soldiering through and have been successful so far.

It got me thinking about eating habits and associations.  Prior to this week, I only saw Dunkin Donuts on my way out of the Keys.  They have one in Key Largo and another in Florida City, both of which I have to pass when I go up the Keys.  There’s only one road, so temptation must be faced.  For years, I always stopped at the one in Florida City.  It made for a good bathroom break and a good place to get some hot tea for the road.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who can order only the tea and leave.  I usually got their beverage plus two doughnuts deal and happily chomped down on those fried, sweet confections.  Yum.

When Starbucks opened in the same area, I switched allegiance.  Mind you, I didn’t stop buying a baked good with my tea, but at least I showed that I could break the doughnut addiction.  I’m well aware that my reasoning is faulty — junk carbs are junk carbs — but I’m going with it.

So, the habitual eating was still there.  I think if we look at the way that we eat, we probably find a lot of choices that are driven by force of habit rather than actual hunger.  If you go to the golden arches and usually order a #2 value meal, chances are you’ve programmed yourself to do that every time.  There are even some fine restaurants that have certain dishes that I love and I usually order one of them each time.

The habits can be anywhere.  If you’ve always slathered pancakes with butter and poured a river of maple syrup on top, it’s a challenge to cut out the butter and reduce the river to a stream.  How hard might it be to cut back on diet soda if that’s always been your drink of choice or switch from regular milk to skim in morning cereal?  I bet if I worked on this for an hour, I could find 100 food habits that I used to follow by rote.

Thankfully, it’s a lot different.  Weight loss surgery is definitely a game-changer.  Most of the time, I can go to Starbucks and depart with only the liquid beverage of my choice.  This is excellent progress.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t think about the old ways or that I don’t feel the habit attempting to reassert itself.  I sure wish that the surgery had also removed those impulses when it changed my actual stomach capacity.  It didn’t.  There isn’t a way to remove the impulses.  We can only learn to counter them when they rise up.  Vigilance remains important.  You’re probably tired of hearing me say that, but I need to keep reminding myself.

If I don’t, I’ll only set myself up to fail.  I have to pass that DD at least twice a day now.  Will I never drive in and have a doughnut?  I doubt I’ll win the battle every single time from here on out.  However, I can — MUST — resist most of the time.  In the grand scheme of my plans for long term success, my desire to stay on plan has to be stronger than the lure of the doughnut.

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7 responses to “Habitual Eating aka The Doughnut Lure

  1. Mary Stella says:

    Good for you for altering your behavior, and for figuring how the calorie count in that treat. I feel like we assume that Starbucks is healthy. Their food might be tasty, but is sure isn’t low-cal.

  2. BarbN says:

    you know, if it helps any, I sit at Starbucks and just watch sometimes, and mostly people don’t get food. They just get a drink. So I try to think of Starbucks as just a place for drinks. I almost never get food there anymore, unless there’s some particular reason. Of course, I’m not doing nearly well at weight loss as you are, so I don’t know why the heck it matters what I think! 🙂 And I’m with Kate– don’t go to DD at all. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. Tell yourself that the donut shops inside gas stations always have stale, cardboard-y donuts, not like the real place and just don’t let it be an option.

    • Mary Stella says:

      You probably aren’t that far off. I understand from friends that they run out of doughnuts a lot which means they’re trucking them in and not baking on site!

      Hey, what you think matters and is good input. Insight is not regulated by amount of weight lost. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. KateGeorge says:

    Hi Mary Stella, I haven’t commented in a while. I’m having trouble with the internet as a whole. It doesn’t like me. I just wanted to ask, in the most respectful way – Could you make it a goal to never drive through at the DD. Can you just tell yourself “I don’t go there.” or “That’s not a place I go.” or “Not a place my new self goes”? Do you think that might work?

    And if I ever make it down to the bottom of the Keys could you introduce me to your baby dolphins? It’s been so long since I’ve seen the dolphins and I miss them. Silly, but true.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Sorry for your Internet troubles, Kate. Well, yes, I can make that the goal. It will most likely work most of the time, too. Unfortunately, I am not also able to stick to the goal 100%, 24/7. However, processing it hear, claiming the temptation as something real, helps me to work through the issue and, hopefully, shore up my power!

      Have you been to the Keys before? How cool! Don’t know if they’ll still be babies when you make it down, but I love showing people around.

  4. Skye says:

    That’s a tough challenge! For me it’s Starbucks, a chai latte and a piece of pumpkin bread. Then, via MyFitnessPal, I discovered how many calories are in that piece of pumpkin bread. I don’t think homemade would have that many calories! It made a difference; I don’t automatically stop at Starbucks after the grocery store anymore. But I am drawn every time. Like you said: it’s a matter of vigilance and being stronger than the lure of the doughnut (or pumpkin bread). I think you are showing a lot of strength in resisting the lure of DD, given how you feel about them and how often you have to pass them. Kudos to you! You can resist. You have the power!

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