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Binge Trap #2—Part 1: Substituting Healthier Foods Can Cause Bingeing!

★ Have you had a strong craving for something like potato chips or chocolate, and substituted another food? 

Did it work? If it did, for how long?

Did you stop eating potato chips or chocolate forever? ★

★ Sometimes it’s better to just go for what you’re craving. ★

The Story Of When I Tried To Substitute Pretzels For Chips

(Maybe you can identify with this story).

Years ago, when I was still going on healthy eating plans, I worked pretzels (a salty snack with a lot less fat than chips) into my plan with the idea they’d be a good substitute for potato chips.

I bought a bag of pretzels and carefully counted out the number of sticks allowed on my plan and packaged them up in little baggies.

Over the next few weeks, I finished eating the pretzels one baggie at a time and congratulated myself on the brilliance of my salty snack substitution strategy. I bought another bag of pretzels and started to package them into baggies. Before I’d even counted out the first serving, a craving for potato chips and dip hit me. I shoveled down a handful of pretzels.

The craving for chips got stronger. Forget counting out pretzels. I had to stop this potato chip craving and fast. I grabbed the bag of pretzels and sat down to watch television. I devoured the whole bag. At the end of the bag, all I wanted was chips and dip.

I hopped in the car, drove to a convenience store, bought a party size bag of chips and dip (and ice cream), and binged on them.

I’d fallen into The Substitution Trap. The Substitution Trap is when you decide to substitute a healthier food for one of your pleasure foods, eat the healthier food and end up bingeing on the pleasure food you wanted all along.

I want to make it crystal clear, even though I call this trap The Substitution Trap, I am not denigrating substitution. Not all cases of substitution are a trap. As a matter of fact, I encourage substituting healthier foods for higher fat and sugar foods (your body will love it) when it doesn’t matter too much.

►Substitution becomes a trap when you get a craving for a specific food, eat a substitute food, AND then binge on the original food you wanted.

Like I did. Not only did I binge on chips and dip (and ice cream), I also ate a whole bag of pretzels I didn’t want and wouldn’t have eaten if I’d just eaten the chips, to begin with.

When lower fat and sugar snacks work, it’s great.

But if, for example, you get a craving for fries and you substitute a baked sliced potato tossed in oil and end up bingeing on fries, the substitution didn’t work.

The Solutions:

  1. When you have a strong craving for a specific food and you’re hungry, eat the food you really want and do your best to stop eating when your body is satisfied. (When people ask me how to lose weight, I always say eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re body is satisfied).
  2. When you have a strong craving for a specific food and you’re NOT hungry, try your best to figure out why you’re wanting to eat when you’re not hungry. Perhaps something upset you earlier that day and you just need to feel your way through it. If you’re going to eat anyway because the craving is so strong, be wary of the substitution trap. Have you tried to substitute in the past, but ended up bingeing on what you really wanted? Then go for what you’re craving.

★ Sometimes the foods you substitute aren’t nearly as healthy as you think. ★

►Stay tuned for Part 2 of Binge Trap #2—The Substitution Trap in my next post on how the ‘healthier’ foods you substitute for the foods you love might not be healthier. I’ll compare some popular ‘healthier’ foods with potato chips where you’ll see there isn’t much difference!

Here’s to avoiding all the binge traps!

Irene Jorgensen

P.S. If you’re struggling to lose weight, there are 3 distinct types of cravings that cause bingeing. I write about these types of cravings and how to avoid them in my book The 3 Secrets To Diet-Free Weight Loss (It’s Not What You Think). I invite you to go to my website ClearYourCravings.com and download the first chapter (it’s actually the first 3 chapters) for FREE!

Posted on March 25, 2018

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