So who do you think would say something like that? Well, I have……. maybe you? Maybe lots of people you know, right?
What I found fascinating was this was a chef on the Food Channel that was judging desserts made by amateurs. The chef was slim and actually criticized this dessert; a chocolate brownie with a thick layer of peanut butter, topped with a chocolate ganache. He said the brownie was very dry and had way too much peanut butter plus the ganache was too sweet. Then he said “and if I was not on a TV show I would eat this until I got sick”.
Isn’t that amazing?
This guy is not a food addict or someone on a binge. On the contrary he is an aficionado, a connoisseur of fine food! Even so, this combination of sweet, rich, chocolate, salty peanut butter sent his emotions into frenzy.
I can’t tell you how many times I have eaten things until I have felt sick, wanted to throw up and sat in a heap of self hate. I’m so weak….. I’m a failure……. I’m sure you know the drill. However, am I any of those labels? No, not at all.
This TV show was a perfect example of a concept in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) called anchors. An anchor is an event that emotionally ties you to it, so every time this event repeats, your subconscious is triggered and you feel similar to the originating event. Food is a tremendous anchor especially when a strong flavor is combined with a strong emotion event.
Do you have a favorite food that makes you feel special when your mom cooks it? How about the smell when you first walk in the house. These are anchors: strong flavors and strong emotions. When those smells and flavors hit you, those emotions take over and you are under their spell.
I had an interesting discussion with a coaching colleague about this the other day. When she goes home to visit her family in Japan, her mother always wants to make something special. However what she really craves is the regular stuff she had when growing up. This is what connects her emotionally to home and being loved.
So what can you do about it? Well the first thing is a combination of honesty, awareness and knowing your anchor foods. For me I have some of the usual ones; ice cream and pizza. So with Ice cream I made a deal with my family to not have it in the house, however I agreed to take them out and buy it when they want it. With Pizza, usually once a month on my cheat day we order pizza. Other than that we do not have it around.
Now these are the common anchor foods for many people, what about others? For me Swiss cheese snack crackers (not sure where I got that one) and Tuna noodle casserole (from my moms kitchen) are also foods that once I start I cannot stop. It’s easy to not buy the crackers and for the Tuna noodle casserole, only make enough for the meal and throw out leftovers.
Be a friend to yourself and get the foods out of your environment. You would not keep alcohol around someone struggling with alcohol addiction so why keep anchor foods around if you’re a food addict. Be honest, sooner or later when your emotions are down, you’re going to reach for your favorite binge food.
So what are your favorite anchor foods? Do you have some odd ones? How are you doing keeping them out of your environment?