It happened innocently enough.
My daughter likes Pop Corners for a snack, and one week the grocery delivery service substituted Kettle Corn instead.
Now normally I am not a popcorn person; I don’t even get popcorn at the movies, but something about the sweet and salty crunchiness caught me off-guard.
Before I knew what was happening, it was Annette vs. Kettle Corn and the corn was winning.
At first it started as just wanting something sweet after a meal, and then it was an easy go-to while making dinner, and then it was an evening snack, and finally it didn’t matter what it was; I just wanted them.
The nasty kernels permeated my every thought.
I tried putting them out of reach, not opening the bag, hiding them, making deals with myself to not eat any “just for today”, and even finding a healthier substitution. Nothing worked.
One handful turned into two, until a whole 7-serving bag was not out of the question.
I rationalized the calorie count, and thought well isn’t it just mostly air?? The reality was I could not stop, and every single time I finished eating them I felt horrible; not just a mental torment, but a physical discomfort as well.
Why didn’t Pop Corners have the same effect? Pop Corners, an innocuous snack, sat quietly on the shelf understanding its place in the hierarchy of healthy choices.
Kettle Corn was a full-blown assault challenging me at every turn.
How could this be? After all I am a nutritionist who guides people weekly on how to overcome temptations. It bothered me that I couldn’t demonstrate super-human control over my cravings.
So as I ate, I analyzed.
Here’s what I realized; having Kettle Corn in the house caused me to obsess, to eat at times I normally would not, and to consume an extra 300 – 500 calories a day. In fact, this simple addition to my pantry was changing the way I ate in general, triggering me to want more sugar, more salt and more crunch.
It’s not that popcorn in and of itself is so bad; it’s just that it had an obsessive hold on me, and it was slowly unraveling years of healthy eating.
In the end, the insidious snack had to go; bags of unopened Kettle Corn thrown in the trash and taken out to the curb. The spell was broken.
While I learned a valuable lesson, I started to think about how easy it is to get thrown off track.
There is a domino effect to some of the foods we eat.
Oftentimes client will tell me if they have a drink it can lead to noshing or overeating at a meal. Snacking can have the same effect; one bite leads to another.
So before you start blaming yourself for your lack of will power, I challenge you to examine your own eating choices. Is there something within your day that starts the healthy habits to unravel? What flips your switch?
Look closely, dig deep, and zero in.
It is easier to control your environment than it is to maintain willpower.
If I can be rendered helpless against a mere kernel of corn, so can you.
So this week go through your cupboards, pantry and refrigerator; throw out all your trigger foods and allow only the healthy “well-behaved” snacks to stay.
Notice how your eating patterns start to change.
As for now, Kettle Corn is no longer welcome in my home.
(I hear you knocking, but you’re not coming in…buh-bye.)
Leave a comment below and tell me what you discovered about your own eating habits when your trigger food was removed.