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What Stops You From Eating Healthier?

August 10, 2012   50 Comments

You see that sign up there? That, my friends, is an invitation.

Healthy Eating Challenges

Yes, you are driving along and feeling a little peckish. What’s that? All I have to do is DRIVE THRU and my problems are solved?

I think this sign is particularly menacing in the winter when I am hungry AND cold. Coffee, of course, and one of those sugar, fatty confections and I feel energized.

Until the sugar crash, my day is just better. You do this too often and you will end up driving through a different Drive Thru:

:)

I’ve got to be honest with you. The junk food DRIVE THRU sign trips me up. I drive past it three or four times per day and I think about stopping EVERY time I drive by it.

How many times do I actually stop? Probably, about once a month which is a big improvement for me.

I made a rule that I am no longer allowed to buy food from my car. I decided that if I want a treat then I have to get off my butt and get it.

We all face these types of challenges every day. What are your challenges and how have you attempted to solve them?

If you haven’t figured out how to end your junk food habit, please just share it and perhaps someone else will have already thought of a solution.


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50 Comments:

Good post that makes us all think about our daily challenges and how we can overcome them, a step at a time!

on August 10, 2012

I ask myself these questions: Is this really food or recreation?? Is it going to be delicious and satisfying or nourishing enough to warrent the calories and fat?

on August 10, 2012

For me it's the drive-thru Starbucks that is so tempting. I have to drive a different way to avoid it! It calls my name...

on August 10, 2012

I am challenged by finding fast, cheap, healthy snacks to take to class, out, etc. Quaker granola bars are ok, but they have so much suger and don't fill me up enough. Fruit is great, but then I always have to have it on hand, which can be a struggle sometimes. I love reading the posts you put up about snacks-on-the-go.

on August 10, 2012

First of all, I don't keep junk in the house, because if I buy it I WILL eat it! Second of all, I buy tons of fresh fruit and am allowed to eat as much of it as I want whenever I want, which helps me feel full more often. Finally, when I am out and am presented with junk, I try only to eat UNIQUE items I will not likely see anywhere again. Store-bought items (like Oreos,boxed cakes, etc) I say no to because I can get them anytime. Homemade treats (homemade ice cream, donuts, cookies, especially if it's a unique flavor) I can have in small quantities whenever I come across them.

Hope this helps!!

on August 10, 2012

Having a small protein snack (nuts, cheese, pb on an apple) at 10 AM and 3 PM really helps stave off hunger so I can drive by a drive thru (most of the time).

on August 10, 2012

I love my sweets at night after the kids go to bed. I haven't figured out how to stop.

I've tried: not keeping junk in the house (I am very creative when it comes to satisfying my sweet tooth! I'll make cinnamon sugar toast or a waffle with honey if I don't have anything else), I've tried making healthier treats (still eat too many), I've tried logging calories and fitting a treat in (I hate logging and I always quit that after the first few days).

I have 15-20 lbs I need to lose but I can't seem to give up my sweets. I know it's an emotional thing because I'm not actually hungry at the time.

on August 10, 2012

I challenge myself by trying not to spend any money on food outside of the weekly grocery store and farmers market. I plan ahead, bring snacks,lunches and drinks with me. Doesn't always work,but feel I have whittled the amounts of junk food down some.

on August 10, 2012

I learned that the only thing stopping me from being healthy is ME! I made the decision I want to live a great life then I changed one thing at a time. Eventually my brain and tastebuds were trained to like healthier things. I don't even think about the drive thru anymore. I do think about sweets and burgers and cheese and I eat them. It just comes from a better place than the drive thru. I'm happier and healthier than I could have ever imagined. Thanks for this post to remind me of how far I have come!

on August 10, 2012

@Andrea - a couple of ideas for you...

One, is if you start cutting out very sweet things from your diet (even 0 calorie things like diet soda), you will crave sweets less.

But, thinking of that as a longer term goal, here are some ideas for a sweet fix that won't blow your day away - I usually have a bag of dark Hershey kisses around, and 2 (or 3) will give me what I need when I crave chocolate for a reasonable number of calories/points. What about individually wrapped popsicles/fudgicles or skinny cow type treats? A big bowl of fruit with a squirt of whipped cream or drizzle of chocolate syrup? Or, sucking on a hard candy like a Jolly Rancher... Or, even a big mug of herbal tea with some honey - helps you wind down & takes a while to drink.

I agree it is probably emotional - your reward & "you" time after the kids are asleep. Hope this helps!

on August 10, 2012

Great article Snack Girl! For a couple of weeks now a Krispy Cream truck has been driving next to me on my way to work. The LARGE pictures of donuts on the side of the truck are killing me. But I tell my self I am NOT going to become a victim of delicious looking advertising when I just had a healthy breakfast. But it does make me crave one. Dang it :)

on August 10, 2012

Drive past the drive-thru and think "is that food made with love?" Probably not unless your mother owns the place!

on August 10, 2012

Recognized that sign right away - calls to me as I drive by or used to until (lucky for me!)DD discontinued the original Dunkin' Donut and the crullers, which were the only ones I liked. Now I'm challenged by the bagel twists - really good and on my list of things worth cheating for! But I limit myself to one maybe once a month when I stop by to pick up the ground coffee to use at home. As a general rule I never allow myself the drive-by thing - except for McD's french fries which are only good eaten hot in the car on the way home (but haven't done that in years!). Weight Watcher's works for me because I know that I can eat anything I really want, I just have to count it. That makes me very particular about what I use those points for - mostly very healthy food, with the occasional high points treat (but only the very best ones, no junk food yucky ones with ingredients I can't pronounce). Since I raised my kids on homemade treats, I didn't have that buying junk food habit to break - homemade just tastes so much better and has healthier ingredients, though of course you still have to watch how much of it you eat.

on August 10, 2012

Like any other woman in this world chocolate is my weakness which is tied with ice cream. Unless of course we are talking chocolate ice cream with chocolate caramel chunks. What stops me usually is my exercise routine. I am a runner and I quickly think of all that sugar and how it would interfere with my morning routine as it would cause me to be slugish. Most of the time, I am successful but once in a while yummy ice cream!!!!!!!!!

on August 10, 2012

I just don't buy any salty or sugary snacks when grocery shopping. If they are not in my house, then my family and I are not eating them! I am amused and extremely frustrated when I take my 5 and 3 year old grocery shopping...they are always asking if we can buy those type of snacks (Oreos, Cheetos, etc.) and I don't think they even know what they are or have ever tried them. There must be subliminal messages on the packages!!

on August 10, 2012

I have to laugh! I don't have a Dunkin Donuts near me, but I'm on vacation and I have been there 3 times so fa! I just love there coffee!!

on August 10, 2012

You know what I like about you, Snack Girl? You run a health-conscious site, but you are REAL! You write in a non-judgemental way for those of us who are doing our best to live a healthy lifestyle but still struggle from time to time. Thank you for that.

on August 10, 2012

I think knowledge is a key component too. A lot of these places do have one or two or three items that are healthy or somewhat healthy, it is all about knowledge and then using it to make the appropriate choice.

on August 10, 2012

I struggle with the association of having a fountain pop with me at my desk while I work. I drink TONS of water, so that's not something I want to replace it with. I want to avoid replacing it with more artificial sweeteners like crystal light and I have tried tea, but I don't always plan ahead very well to bring it (o, and I don't drink coffee or hot drinks). I like the act of sipping from a straw in one of those plastic cups.

When I think about giving it up (or reducing other foods like overly carby stuff) I feel like I'm losing a friend. So I know I have this relationship with food like it's a friend. Yet I just keep on doing what I don't want to do....

on August 10, 2012

I have made both the cereal bar & the energy bar recipes from this site - they keep well in the freezer & I feel good eating them because I know what ingredients are in them. If I grab something like this to keep in the car when I am out running errands, I am more likely to "drive past the drive thru". Love your site, Snack Girl!

on August 10, 2012

I will only have a treat if I consider it a 10. If it's not a 10, it's not worth the calories and the hard work I put in to lose weight.

on August 10, 2012

@KathyH - When I'm doing schoolwork, I often feel the need to have Diet Coke. I already drink a ton of water, so I thought I'd want something different, but never found a great replacement. However, I got these 16 and 20 oz. plastic cups - with straws. Sooo simple, but sometimes that sounds more appealing than just water in a glass and is a little easier to sip on while working. If the taste gets too boring, a little lemon or lime juice jazzes it up nicely. Mayyybe that helps? Or sounds crazy? Either way :)

on August 10, 2012

I always keep a little ziploc bag of almonds in my purse for emergency hunger attacks, I'm not as likely to get crazy and get a quick fix frappe' (which I love). At Dairy Queen I get my 3 yr old a child's dish of ice cream and my own spoon to "share" as long as he will share this is good. Speaking of ice cream, I keep whatever ice cream I love (sometimes premium) and take one spoonful and close the box - gives me my fix and doesn't break the calorie bank. Also love the carmelcorn rice cakes with fat free coolwhip and cinnamon sprinkled. only 2 plus pts for those that are counting.

As you can tell my sweet tooth is always force to be reckoned with. At night when I want something, a lot of times I am just cold and a cup of coffee with a few tiny "Annie's" bunny cookies do the trick.

on August 10, 2012

After a particularly hard day at work I usually drive home hungry and exhausted and my first instinct is to reward myself with take-out.

The things that stop me are:

1.) My husband sees everything I buy on our credit card. Since we both struggle to maintain our weight and our budget, I am motivated to skip the take-out and go home and eat something healthy. For the team!

2.) When I feel really good about my health/body I try to remember that feeling so I can recall it at weak moments when I feel like giving into temptation. Remembering how good it feels to feel comfortable in my clothes helps me forgo the junk.

on August 10, 2012

I keep a healthy snack or two and a bottle of water on me. I travel around my city while working so if I have something on me I'm less likely to stop. I also follow Geneen Roth's rule: do not eat in the car. Going in and sitting in one of those places is much less likely to happen!

on August 10, 2012

I'm all for some sweet things, but my real weakness is more along the lines of a really good, cheesy burger. I like the gooey-ness. I also will crave things that are crunchy and savory.

I'm not great at conquering cravings. I can put them off for a week or two, but I'll ultimately give in, knowing that I've wanted it for awhile. I mostly try to balance it somewhat by going to the gym 2-3 times per week and eating some "better" things like almonds or low fat cream cheese and pita crackers to get my fix.

on August 10, 2012

I definitely have a problem with wanting to stop at fast food places. I have learned to just keep driving. Once I have past the place I wanted to stop the craving goes away. It's kind of like the saying "out of sight, out of mind"!

on August 10, 2012

My weaknesses are HEALTHY, but I can't STOP once I start with them! I can eat hundreds of calories in plain greek yogurt, fat free no sugar added vanilla icecream, cereal, and fresh fruit. I just can't stop once I take one bite! I fill up on these, leaving me less hungry for more 'filling' meals.

on August 10, 2012

I try to control the food instead of the food controlling me. For example, if someone in the office brings in donuts, or cookies, or some type of treat - I always think if those treats weren't there, would I go out and buy those items? Generally the answer is no. I choose to control the food not the other way around.

on August 10, 2012

Visual aids help me in my battle to eat healthier and take off weight -- now down 20 lbs in 2 months with 37 lbs more to go! When tempted, all I need to do is pick up the shopping bag I have with gallon jugs I fill with water for every pound taken off. It reminds me of how much extra weight I was carrying around and why my doctor put me on a new prescription...LSC. It's a miracle... Lifestlyle Change! :)

on August 10, 2012

The biggest thing that keeps me from strict healthy eating is just that -- if it's too strict. I strive for kindness-based, balanced eating, and tend to crash when I keep various foods on that harsh "no!" list. I read recently that there's a psychological basis for this -- when we have avoidance goals, like "don't eat the cake", we use the left hemisphere of the brain to come up with the rule, but then a corresponding image arises in the right hemisphere... and it's the right hemisphere that we stick with. The alternative then (and what works best for me) is to say "I want to eat 1/2 plate of vegetables with dinner" or the like, allowing the brain to create an image that I want to return to.

As always, love your site!

on August 10, 2012

Sometimes, the best defense might be to keep (or bring) some snacks to keep in the glove compartment (granola or fruit bars), and in winter, a healthy sandwich in foil might be an alternative to fight the consumer junk food addiction – also, take an old glass vinegar bottle (or what have you that is sturdy) and keep it filled with water to keep hydrated. Some people I know even bring a big thermos of coffee from home. Like all addictions, it’s the struggle of breaking the grip of old “convenient” habits and replacing them with new ones that serve your best interest, namely your health, energy levels and pocket book.

on August 10, 2012

I'll admit, sometimes it's junk, but usually when I hit the drive thru it's for a medium french vanilla with skim milk and splenda. I get so much crap for that, and for ordering broccoli instead of fries with my meal at Friendly's. But more often than not I find myself overeating the good stuff because I ignore the hunger signals too long. As a new mom of a 5-month-old, it's hard to pay attention to my needs when I have a hectic job by day and a needy (but cute and totally worth it) little human by night and weekend. By the time dinner is made and my hubby gets home from his hour commute, I realize I am famished and try as I might, I still can't stop eating too much of a good thing! That's no way to lose the 35lb I put on while pregnant.

on August 10, 2012

I'm a HUGE sweet eater and am always sabotaging myself. Some things that help me!

**Don't skip meals! My nutritionist told me to never let myself get hungry. Eat a little something ever hour or two.

**Always combine carbs/sugar with protein to avoid the highs and lows.

I started making a protein shake (frozen strawberries, blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, protein powder, water & a splash of OJ) I always wanted milk in my smoothie and this really helped!

Go to late night snack! Banana shake: milk, banana, vanilla, teaspoon sugar -- blend WELL (so it gets frothy), maybe add 1 ice cube to keep really cold. YUM!

The sugar thing is a PROCESS! I am off all equal, no diet soda, then moved to no soda at all, lowered sugar in coffee, try to eat so I'm not hungry (b/c being hungry triggers ME WANT SUGAR MONSTER!)

Also... this is big. Try watching the movie Food, Inc. You won't feel drawn to fast food ever again.

on August 10, 2012

So many challenges, and gaining more and more strength to win over them. The drive-thru is not a problem for me. But any food at night is a big time challenge that I face every day. I agree that the more we stay on a healthy path, the more we're able to stay there. I am missing nothing and have worked hard to lose the 50 pounds that I set as a goal in a year. My next goal is 50 in another year. I'll face hurdles and challenges, for sure, but Snack Girl helps many, many times, because as someone mentioned, she's real and posts thought-provoking and fun stuff :)

on August 10, 2012

while children were small, after they and husband went to bed, I would secretly have a love affair with two guys. Ben and Jerry! I was so bad I'd hide the stuff in brown lunch bags way back in the freezer. Very possessive of my nightly reward/fix. I finally divorced Ben and Jerry, it took years, and can now take it or leave it. I plan snacks for my car trips, however brief they may be, which includes either water or home brewed coffee, nuts, veg sticks, cheddar cubes, etc.

on August 10, 2012

I've found that protein is the key to killing cravings of any sort! I've lost 35 lbs over 2 years (very slow, I know) by pretty much doing just this...making sure my mid-meal snacks have a protein component. Mind you I work in an office so its very easy for me to bring/store food at work but for example at 10 am I have an apple and a hard boiled egg, and then at 3 or 3:30 pm I have a greek yogurt with a handful of frozen berries, or a banana, or something like that. I find that the 2nd snack really helps me because before, when I go home at 5 pm (not having eaten a snack) I wanted to eat everything in the house! Now, if I'm having something sugary or a "treat" it better be freaking amazing like a Red Robin burger, or a homemade slice of pie or something or else it's not even worth it for me anymore. Small steps I suppose are easier to maintain over the long term. Thanks Lisa for the site and ladies for all your tips!!!!

on August 10, 2012

Don't just refrain from buying food from your car. Buy nothing from your car. Park as far from the entrance as possible (inclement weather is an acceptable excuse) and walk. I figure if I am not willing to put forth that tiny bit of effort, I don't need whatever it is.

At least one previous poster mentioned keeping no junk food in the house due to the inability to leave it alone; a weakness I share. So, if I want, say, ice cream, I must get in my car, drive to an ice cream shop, park away from the entrance, walk to the shop, and buy just one serving. Then I eat it in the shop, sitting down, not in the car (or bring it home and eat it sitting at the table--not in front of the television). In short, make it as much of an effort as possible. I am surprised at how often I will decide that I don't want it all that much.

on August 10, 2012

I love all of these suggestions! Thank you. It's sharing ideas that make us try new things and find success in healthy eating. Cheers~

on August 10, 2012

Great post! We have no sweets in the house (except occasionally for snack girl's "this muffin could save your life" muffins!) and after dinner I often make a hot chocolate with raw coco powder, water, 1 tsp xylitol and 100-50ml soy milk. Less calories than a piece of chocolate, lasts longer and is so satisfying!

on August 10, 2012

Oh yes, and a few squares of 70% (especially 85%!!!) dark chocolate kills a sweet craving more efficiently than anything else, truly!

on August 10, 2012

I avoid having my triggers (chips, cookies and peanut butter) in the house - I know myself well enough to know I will eat it if it is there! A coffee/banana/cocoa smoothie is very chocolaty and takes care of the sweet cravings. When I'm out and about, a plain old non-fat latte does the trick.

on August 10, 2012

I was avoiding this particular Drive Thru for over a week,I hadn't eaten there in almost a year. I decided that I was going to "give in"...they were so busy that I decided to "get out and go in"...funny, it didn't taste anything like I imagined...

on August 10, 2012

Sounds hokey - but I've never eaten healthier in my life. I crave vegetables, I'm no longer interested in junk food or processed food and my cravings are minimal as I'm no longer thinking about food every waking minute of the day.

I needed help to get here, but basically I had to reprogram my thoughts - how I thought about food, dieting and eating.

What stopped me from healthy eating for years was the anxiety I had developed from years of dieting. Junk food cravings are a symptom of a bigger problem, food itself is not a trigger to overeating.

In my experience, I've noticed that you crave the food you eat, so if you eat junk you will crave junk. If you eat fresh vegetables, you will crave vegetables. I really started to change my tastebuds when I started eating a salad at lunchtime.

It was helpful for me to let go of the idea that all food has to taste great. Food is food, sometimes it tastes good, sometimes not. When it doesn't taste good (or as I expect), I tell myself that it is OK, but looking for a satisfying taste is not a reason to eat more food.

I know this sounds frightening to a lot of people, but I do not restrict my eating in any sort of way, no food is off-limits, no amount is too much, because I've learned that continually restricting eventually leads to cravings and overeating.

Now I'm rarely tempted by junk food. If I do want a less than healthy food choice, I eat it, with no guilty feelings. You don't have to eat perfectly, what matters is what you eat most of the time.

on August 10, 2012

I broke the junk food habit by reading about the realities of junk food, looking at disgusting photos, and finding out how the junk food industry could care less about people. I am not an extremist, but the habit is gone.

on August 11, 2012

I love your blog Snack Girl and I have also been enjoying everyones comments. I find sugar is a big one for me and lately my downfall has been ice cream (I only allow it between Memorial Day and Labor Day). When I am in a good place with my food I find I can quiet my sweet tooth with a cup of tea (hot or cold) with some stevia. It is sweet enough and very satisfying. The other thing I do for the car is I keep preportioned snack food like nuts in little baggies. I may buy a bog bag of nuts and dried fruits and then I measure 1/4 cup into lots of snack bags. Three things happen, 1. I don't overeat on the high calories snacks 2. I get many more portions out of the big bag than I would if I just opened it and mindlessly ate and 3. I am completely satisfied with 1/4 cup. Weighing and measuring food is a great way to keep your portions right sized. Oh and one more thing...focus on the good food choices you make and avoid dwelling on the poorer food choices!

on August 11, 2012

Hey Helen, just had to second everything in your comment. Weighing and measuring is key, ice cream is my summer indulgence too. Also, the nuts I buy from bulk bins, I oven-toast to heighten their flavor. I'm finding some really good fruit and nuts on the Eden site and a ton of healthy inspirations! I made a quinoa-veg-nut filled acorn squash recipe yesterday that was sooo healthy and delicious.

Thank you, SG, for such interesting sharing of info!

on August 12, 2012

I usually only do drive thru at Starbucks and then it's just black coffee. However, I would think that going inside to order would actually be more dangerous because then you can actually see the wide selection of food, where in the drive thru, you have a limited selection and you are usually rushed into making a decision.

on August 12, 2012

HABITS are the reason we keep eating the way we're eating, even when we know it's not the best for us. I think it will take us at least a year to make significant changes!

on August 13, 2012

Before I go anywhere outside, I grab some dried fruits, an apple with some almonds, or I make a toast sandwich with PB and 1/2 banana/cinnamon. It keeps me away from any sweet craving :)Meriem

on August 22, 2012


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