Yesterday, I went to my local upscale food store where I get my organic vegetables, fruits, and meats. The store was busy with staff creating displays of demon foods (aka sugar-flour-fat). As a recovering food addict, I’ve learned to avert my eyes when passing the bakery section and going straight for the deli where I often find some interesting salads that fit my food program before heading to the meat/fish and produce sections. However, yesterday, I had to run a veritable gauntlet of holiday treats to get what I needed.
I had only a couple of pangs of desire as I went by them, and I didn’t stop to examine anything. That’s playing with fire for me. But the experience nudged me into making a plan for grocery shopping for the next month that would protect my abstinence. You may find these ideas helpful.
- Make a list just before we shop. Include specifics so we’re not “getting ideas” as we wander around.
- Take that list with us (not always the no-brainer one would think).
- Reverse our usual routine: go to vegetables and fruit first (fewer demon foods on that side of the store), then to deli.
- Shop once a week right after breakfast. If I need to go to several stores for my usual menu items, I’ll do it all on the same trip.
- If we run out of something, make do with what we have. No extra trips to the store, no extra visual exposure to something we don’t eat anymore.
Visual cues are a trigger for us and store owners know that. We see something, we remember how it tastes or how curious how delicious it is, and we buy it. That’s the way humans work. It’s up to us as recovering food addicts to minimize our exposure to those visual cues.
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