Monday, April 15, 2013

The answer is not in the pantry- keeping a clean food environment

I used to reach for all sorts of snacks, mainly in the pantry at night. Looking for some self soothing, looking for the answer to stress, anxiety, and peace.  (I talked about this in the Quit Binge Eating interview with Alen Standish- episode 20

The answer is NOT in here. Pictured are my off plan Paleo foods. I have some, sometimes. Those foods don't trigger, but I can still choose to use them. In a positive way as part of my meal. Or like a drug, to self sooth, self medicate, and numb out from problems. Especially at night. I can use them in the wrong way or the right way as part of my regular plan. The choice is mine.

The answer was and still is inside me. Better coping and thinking techniques. Choosing unprocessed foods, good cuts of protein, veggies, and fruits with avocados, olive oil, good spices, some pink sea salt.  Walking, listening to music, photography, gardening.

Food is fuel to give me energy to do those things. Food is medicine so my body can stay well, low inflammatory, good sleep, strong bones and muscles. Food is not entertainment. Food is not a "treat" an "indulgence". Food is not a drug used to feel small bits of happiness.

Clean your environment: I just found a few more areas in my pantry- way back in on the shelves where my former food habits were stored. Holy Smokes. I got that stuff pulled out and tossed, quick. No wonder I was stuck in the cycle. I can see it now, I could not then. I was living "under the influence".

Now that I'm out with more clarity, more sanity, and some time- I can see clearly now.  Tricky to keep and remain food sober long enough to see. So worth it. Fog clears and it helps.

What works

1. Paleo/Primal template 90-95% of the time
2. Off paleo foods 5% of the time. As long the food does not trigger me.
3. Keeping my shelves, web surfing, shopping, and hobbies trigger free.
4. Pausing and asking myself, what do I need right now (sleep, walk, stress relief) before eating.
5. Eating if I'm hungry.

What didn't work
1. Eating processed -sugar, wheat, boxed foods
2. Eating trigger foods that kept me hooked and obese
3. Buying trigger foods when I was "committed to losing weight. Train wreck right there. Reading how to make "low fat" Cooking light bar cookies, looking at Pinterest desserts. No, just NO.
4. Automatically thinking that what I was feeling was hunger ( it was not! )
5. Feeling bad about eating because I had "already used my WW points for the day OR I was saving up to .... eat trigger foods. Stuck in the cycle.

Healing started when I got real about what I was doing, buying, storing, and my habits. I strongly encourage all who struggle to look closely, change your environment, change your habits. The answer is inside you.  You are worth it!

This photo would look different with fog and clouds


  1. I used to eat out of boredom. My son is in the habit of wanting to eat constantly when he's not active, out of boredom. The solution is to keep him, and me active so we don't grab needlessly for stuff just because! Sound advice Karen!

  2. Yes, Leigh. Even with me up washing dishes at night and doing light cleaning while I watch TV or listen to podcasts makes a huge difference. Up, moving and active. :) Good habits.

    Also, a good project at work will keep me occupied and not thinking about the time or food.

  3. ice cream has been my one bad food..and up to 4 months ago, I thought I figured a 'loop hole' around it by buying a frozen yogurt or frozen soy milk that only had 50-100 calories a 1/2 cup serving. I was fooling myself thinking I had the will power..I can't have any of it in my house.
    Good for you for finding those bad foods and throwing them out quick! I think the biggest step is knowing what those foods are for us and not allowing them in the home.

  4. I really think our food journey should be an evolution.

    Unless we are the rare bird who jumped from A to Z, all of us have learned to make better choices steadily. I think that in itself is a clue to how well we are doing. Unless we happen to be the rare bird, if we are still doing the same things we were in the very beginning, it is a clue that we need to work more.

    Still, to this day, when I clean out the refrigerator, freezers, pantry, I find something that surprises me. (Maybe this says how often I clean those places.)

    I love your little sign.

    I think once upon a time, I actually kept a list of things TO DO when I was wandering around aimlessly.

    I have often said - one sure cure for opening the refrigerator door or cruising the pantry is pushups. If it wasn't meal time, in the beginning, and I would have instituted a 'drop and give me 10' policy on myself, I would have broken myself of that habit (more) easily (than I did at the time).

    The kindest thing I ever did was to teach myself to only eat at meal time.

  5. Love the sign! I am now inspired to clean out my pantry. Before I go, I wanted to say kudos on your podcast. I had to listen to it in three intervals due to time constraints; but I loved it.

  6. Good for you! I'm ok with food I can't eat the house now (for the hubster), because I'm so repelled by it. I wish I could get him to go full primal with me, but not when it comes to snacks or some starch at his dinner. But he's a big boy and has to make his own choices. (he's also 16 years younger, so he doesn't consider it as critical as I do.) But if one has trigger foods, yep, we gotta be wise and just keep it out of reach. Congrats on knowing YOU. :)

  7. Like Vickie up there, I often do a little exercise when I'm really hankering for some junk food (and you bet we have a full menu of unhealthy eats in our home. My husband and teens make sure of this.) Several times, I did supported handstands in the kitchen doorway. Sounds weird, but it's fun!

    :-) Marion

  8. I found, as Vickie said, that for me this process has been a progression. I don't know if I am lucky or not, to have no food allergies. Theoretically, I did not NEED to eliminate any food in order not to feel unwell. On the other hand, I am not particularly adventurous when it comes to eating and since I was a child I was ok with eating the same few items over and over again. I do not get bored and do not necessarily want new or different things.
    Having said that, I think I've evolved since I've read your comments on Lyn's blog and reading Norma's blog and seeing Vickie's comments. I am starting to think of food, not necessarily as medicine or nourishment ONLY, since I do have to like the taste, otherwise I won't eat it, but I do stop and think: "is this likely to benefit my system in any way?" If the answer is no, more often than not, I don't eat it except rarely. Well, rarely FOR ME ;)

    Under no circumstances do I eat like you and Norma and Vickie and I do not think I ever will but I have learned and incorporated so much of your wisdom and experience into my diet (meaning nutrition not wt. loss). For this reason, I am so appreciative of those of you you blog or comment. I am amazed that I am making these kinds of changes in the middle of my 5th decade!

  9. Karen, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast and enjoyed it enormously! It came just at the right time, too...Last night I listened to about 80% of it and this afternoon I finished it. It really helped yesterday, if you know what I mean...and I will leave it at that ;).

    Not only did I find it a pleasant and easy listen, especially since I realized at the end that I was sitting there smiling the whole time at the content and the manner in which you and Alen interacted, but I actually giggled at the fact that we have a common trigger food. Please believe when I say that I did not anticipate that ANYthing would have made me giggle yesterday.
    I will listen to the rest of Alen's podcasts. Now if only I had the technical knowledge to figure out how to transfer them to my iPhone or iPod, so I could listen while I walk. This was the first time I listened to a Podcast (thank you for the link) and I am somewhat technically challenged when it comes to most things iWhatever.