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Old 05-22-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
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Abstaining or moderation?

I picked up a magazine today and it had an article about food choices. It posed the question:are you an abstainer or moderator? Abstainers find it easiest to just stay away from certain trigger foods forever. Moderators can't stand the thought of never, ever having certain foods again so they will have a moderate amount of said food on occasion. I found myself stumped...I need to be an abstainer, but I have a hard time telling myself that I can NeVer have nutty bars again!! I know that having the nutty bar(or whatever sugary, carby food that might be around) is going to trigger uncontrollable eating though. Even before reading the article, this has been a subject that has been on my mind a lot. What are your thoughts?
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:04 PM   #2
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Hmm. That's hard. I don't know that I have trigger foods per se.

I have foods that I love, but I can not eat them for months, simply because I'm not in the mood. Haagen Dazs ice cream, for example. It's the only ice cream I love, and I truly do love it, but I actually had some (in my two favorite flavors) in my freezer for almost a year--no exaggeration--simply because I wasn't in the mood for it. Even before I got back on plan, I would consider, then decide against eating it because it wasn't what I wanted right then. I ended up giving it away several months into restarting Atkins. During the time I was back on plan, I put it out of my head, even though I saw them every time I opened the freezer. They weren't on plan, so they weren't an option.

But.


I would never say that I'm never having Haagen Dazs ice cream again in life. I probably will, and it'll probably be delicious. But I'll plan for it, and get back on plan afterwards.

I have a favorite dish at a favorite restaurant, and it happens to be full of simple carbs. My good friend and I will be going soon. I plan to eat that dish (kaya toast), and the rest of my meal will be on plan. I will thoroughly enjoy it, feel no guilt, and it won't derail me. That will also be the only off-plan food I will have had since January 3rd.

So, my long term plan is to eat on plan for the vast majority of the time, and to eat off plan food (either a meal or one dish, never a whole day) a couple or few times per year. I guess that makes me an extreme moderator?
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Last edited by Ntombi; 05-22-2013 at 09:05 PM..
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:09 PM   #3
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we had this discussion before when Gretchin Rubin posed the question on her blog. you could search to find more answers.

I have to be an abstainer. Moderation triggers bad behavior in me. Hard as it is to give something up, it works, whereas moderation does not.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ntombi View Post
Hmm. That's hard. I don't know that I have trigger foods per se.

I have foods that I love, but I can not eat them for months, simply because I'm not in the mood. Haagen Dazs ice cream, for example. It's the only ice cream I love, and I truly do love it, but I actually had some (in my two favorite flavors) in my freezer for almost a year--no exaggeration--simply because I wasn't in the mood for it. Even before I got back on plan, I would consider, then decide against eating it because it wasn't what I wanted right then. I ended up giving it away several months into restarting Atkins. During the time I was back on plan, I put it out of my head, even though I saw them every time I opened the freezer. They weren't on plan, so they weren't an option.

But.


I would never say that I'm never having Haagen Dazs ice cream again in life. I probably will, and it'll probably be delicious. But I'll plan for it, and get back on plan afterwards.

I have a favorite dish at a favorite restaurant, and it happens to be full of simple carbs. My good friend and I will be going soon. I plan to eat that dish (kaya toast), and the rest of my meal will be on plan. I will thoroughly enjoy it, feel no guilt, and it won't derail me. That will also be the only off-plan food I will have had since January 3rd.

So, my long term plan is to eat on plan for the vast majority of the time, and to eat off plan food (either a meal or one dish, never a whole day) a couple or few times per year. I guess that makes me an extreme moderator?


I'm like Ntombi! I eat on plan with few exceptions. If I go on vacation for example, I will have one something special each day. Seldom a dessert, but like a soup that sounds good or fish that is breaded but the rest of that meal on plan.

For me, it's been pretty easy to create meals I love so staying on plan is easy and needing to eat otherwise doesn't happy very often.

Last edited by marieze; 05-22-2013 at 10:15 PM..
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:19 PM   #5
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Interesting question!

With regard to off-plan foods, I guess I'm an abstainer. It's in my personality to turn my back on anything (or anyone) that I genuinely believe has *wronged* me in a significant way.

So I currently feel like I don't want food to *hurt* me anymore. I had HORRIBLE lower back pain before I started this diet -- I was so heavy and in such poor condition that I was never comfortable sitting, standing, or walking. So even though I have had many years of joy with pizza, chalupas, and gelato, for example, the thought of those foods makes me RECOIL now because I feel like I had an abusive relationship with them. I was also like this as a child, though. I threw up after I had a milkshake at Burger King one time, when I was about 4 years old, and I've NEVER had another fast food milkshake since then. Just thinking about them makes me feel sick. Ugh!

I'm just not the kind of person who will put up with abuse once I've identified it. I've dated two guys who each called me a *B* exactly ONCE -- and that moment was THE END. I don't have an "appeals process" after a certain line has been crossed. And I feel like gelato, for example, has crossed a line and I can't have a relationship with gelato anymore because, in my mind, it has been proven *unworthy* of any level of love or respect. I don't want gelato. I don't want *fake* gelato. I don't want anything in the gelato family of products. Because I feel like eating it would be like hitting myself in the face with a brick or dating or dating some guy who regularly assaulted me. And I just don't want that level of pain in my life.

Jayne (rubidoux) once said something about how she was "still mad at toast." And I cracked up when I read that because that's EXACTLY how I feel! It was just the perfect way of summing up my current feelings about a lot of foods.

I honestly don't know if I will feel this way *forever*. But right now, I just can't even deal with the foods that I was eating while I was in pain. I think that if I had *not* suffered identifiable problems as a result of the way I was eating, I would feel differently about off-plan food. If this diet was all about my looking a different way or wearing a different clothing size, I don't think I would be an abstainer. In that case, I would probably be a moderator.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:45 PM   #6
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Reality dictates that I will be a moderator.

Quote:
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I will thoroughly enjoy it, feel no guilt, and it won't derail me.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:47 PM   #7
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I'm an abstainer with exceptions on certain occasions. I cannot eat sugary or starchy foods on a regular basis. If I were to do that it would only be a matter of time before I completely fell off plan and spiraled into the crisis I found myself in before recently restarting this WOE. That being said, if I plan a cheat and set very strict guidelines for myself, I can typically get back on track without much of a problem. I have to PLAN for a cheat and I have to keep them infrequent.

That's^ an arrangement I can live with. It wouldn't be realistic for me to say that I will never have a piece of cake at one of my children's birthday parties or never eat a serving of mashed potatoes again. I've had two major weight loss successes with following a LC. A 90lb. weight loss that I maintained for 4 years, and a 100lb weight loss that was short lived as I became pregnant with my second child around the time I hit goal. I went on to lose all of my pregnancy weight (from my 2nd child) then "life" happened. I got lost in the mix and wasn't dedicated to a LC WOE for longer than a few weeks a time.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:07 AM   #8
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For the most part, I'm an abstainer.
Good question by the way.
Yes, fruit is a good example. I love melons, but give me a couple of pieces of cantaulope or honeydew and wham! I'll have wicked carb cravings for days.
Alcohol is another. I love a bottle of Sam Adams, or some Jamisons and ginger ale. But give me enough alcohol to get even a little bit buzzed and my resolve goes out the window.
The LC food plan goes out the window and I'm pounding down the ziti.
So I just stay away.
I"m happier being trim and healthy
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:29 AM   #9
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I have some beers everyday after work But the rest of my diet is pretty low carb. Also have a weakness for chips I mean you can't only have one handful right?

Basically I can be an abstainer but also depends on the environment I am in I guess.

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Old 05-23-2013, 02:42 AM   #10
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Wow, what a question. For me it depends on the food. I definitely plan on abstaining from things like ice cream, chips, candy bars, anything with added sugar etc. It is because these things don't have enough nutritional value to be worth introducing back into my diet. However other things such as potatos, fruit, some veggies, nuts etc. I see as more worth the risk. In fact, I am going to buy some nuts today when I go shopping because I need to teach myself how to eat them in moderation when they are around. For me it is part of the process of learning how NOT to overeat.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:52 AM   #11
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I'm an abstainer....until I'm not which is why I regain my wt every time! I need to be an abstainer for life. I have fully wrapped my brain around that yet but maybe this time
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:36 AM   #12
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Reality dictates that I will be a moderator.



Me too. I want alot of foods in my life. I left atkins, went moderate carb and I am losing again very well.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:25 AM   #13
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I am very good at being an abstainer when I am dieting. I mean, I am AWESOME at being on a diet - I've had years to perfect it. What I'm hoping to learn this go-round is how to be a mostly-abstainer-with-occasional-forays-into-moderation when I hit goal. I'm hoping that since this is going to take me a while (been at it a year and a few months) it will just be "how I eat" and I will transition seamlessly from "being on a diet" to "being in maintenance".
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:50 AM   #14
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I would say I am an abstainer and moderate in moderation!
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:00 AM   #15
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Love your answer Spanilingo!
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:51 AM   #16
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I am definitely an abstainer. When it comes to making decisions I tend to see black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. No gray areas in the important decisions.

At the age of 24, after a serious weekend of drinking, I found myself in a different city than the one I started in, and I was driving. I donít remember the trip. That day I told myself I would never have another drink and I havenít. Was it easy? No. Was it necessary? Yes. That was 39 years ago and since then I have toasted many brides and grooms with champagne glasses filled with 7up. The last one was with soda water. There have been may days when I think how great a cold beer would taste; or after a difficult day, how relaxing it would be to sit on the back porch with some Jack Daniels on the rocks. But I know no matter how good that first drink would taste the second and third one would be even better.

My decision to go low carb was driven primarily by my desire to control my diabetes and secondly to lower my weight. It has worked miracles and I donít want to do anything to throw it off.

I would love be able to do things in moderation but that isnít in my nature. My being an abstainer wasn't determined by my self-control but rather by my lack of self-control. I would like to think I could have that bag of almonds in the cupboard and I would eat only twenty a day but that isnít going to happen. I may only eat twenty but I would eat twenty each time I walked by the cupboard. So I will remain an abstainer.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:03 AM   #17
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For the most part i'm an abstainer. Especially certain foods that I Know will cause me to fail and the majority of them are sugar laden foods! My moms homemade possum pie, her caramel cheesecake etc. She's the reason I got fat! Lol! Not really! But there are some foods I can eat every rare once in awhile and be ok. I can't say i'll never eat her desserts again But I do know it'll be a Long Long time from now when I can fully trust myself to eat a little and Not the whole pie!
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:08 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMacB View Post
I am very good at being an abstainer when I am dieting. I mean, I am AWESOME at being on a diet - I've had years to perfect it. What I'm hoping to learn this go-round is how to be a mostly-abstainer-with-occasional-forays-into-moderation when I hit goal. I'm hoping that since this is going to take me a while (been at it a year and a few months) it will just be "how I eat" and I will transition seamlessly from "being on a diet" to "being in maintenance".

That's me !! I'm the best 'dieter' I've ever known.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:23 AM   #19
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I am another professional dieter.

I need to be an abstainer. When I start to moderate, "fixing" the kids' ice cream cones so they don't melt, becomes a once-a-week treat, which then becomes a whole weekend of eating what I want, which morphs into a "calorie controlled" dessert every night, which finally devolves into eating everything off the kids' plates on the way to the trash as a symbolic form of stuffing everything I can get my hands on into my mouth.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillex View Post
With regard to off-plan foods, I guess I'm an abstainer. It's in my personality to turn my back on anything (or anyone) that I genuinely believe has *wronged* me in a significant way.

So I currently feel like I don't want food to *hurt* me anymore. I had HORRIBLE lower back pain before I started this diet -- I was so heavy and in such poor condition that I was never comfortable sitting, standing, or walking. So even though I have had many years of joy with pizza, chalupas, and gelato, for example, the thought of those foods makes me RECOIL now because I feel like I had an abusive relationship with them. I was also like this as a child, though. I threw up after I had a milkshake at Burger King one time, when I was about 4 years old, and I've NEVER had another fast food milkshake since then. Just thinking about them makes me feel sick. Ugh!

I'm just not the kind of person who will put up with abuse once I've identified it. I've dated two guys who each called me a *B* exactly ONCE -- and that moment was THE END. I don't have an "appeals process" after a certain line has been crossed. And I feel like gelato, for example, has crossed a line and I can't have a relationship with gelato anymore because, in my mind, it has been proven *unworthy* of any level of love or respect. I don't want gelato. I don't want *fake* gelato. I don't want anything in the gelato family of products. Because I feel like eating it would be like hitting myself in the face with a brick or dating or dating some guy who regularly assaulted me. And I just don't want that level of pain in my life.

Jayne (rubidoux) once said something about how she was "still mad at toast." And I cracked up when I read that because that's EXACTLY how I feel! It was just the perfect way of summing up my current feelings about a lot of foods.

I honestly don't know if I will feel this way *forever*. But right now, I just can't even deal with the foods that I was eating while I was in pain. I think that if I had *not* suffered identifiable problems as a result of the way I was eating, I would feel differently about off-plan food. If this diet was all about my looking a different way or wearing a different clothing size, I don't think I would be an abstainer. In that case, I would probably be a moderator.

Very well put and pretty much spot on with how I feel also. I also feel that I HAVE to be an abstainer since I *think* if I were to go pig out on pasta or ice cream, let's say, I would just say "screw it!! I might as well have more or grab some (insert bad high carb food item here) since I am already off track".

Abstaining just feels like a better option for me right now for all the reasons Trillex and others have mentioned above.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:53 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMacB View Post
I am very good at being an abstainer when I am dieting. I mean, I am AWESOME at being on a diet - I've had years to perfect it. What I'm hoping to learn this go-round is how to be a mostly-abstainer-with-occasional-forays-into-moderation when I hit goal. I'm hoping that since this is going to take me a while (been at it a year and a few months) it will just be "how I eat" and I will transition seamlessly from "being on a diet" to "being in maintenance".
Me too! Couldn't have said it better myself!
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
My being an abstainer wasn't determined by my self-control but rather by my lack of self-control. I would like to think I could have that bag of almonds in the cupboard and I would eat only twenty a day but that isnít going to happen. I may only eat twenty but I would eat twenty each time I walked by the cupboard. So I will remain an abstainer.
Jrw, I think it's great that you are willing to be so realistic and brutally honest. That willingness obviously serves you well. Congratulations on nearly 40 years of sobriety.

Your comment about the almonds reminded me of something Stephen Gullo said in The Thin Commandments. He was going to appear on a talk show and was sitting with the host beforehand, and the host was eating some potato chips. The guy mentioned the calorie count in a serving of those chips and Gullo corrected him and basically said, no, because do you ever eat just a serving? The guy said no, truthfully he's not going to eat one serving. So the calorie count isn't what you think it is; it's whatever the true amount would be. That stuck with me because it's important to be realistic.

Some people have specific trigger foods they crave, and might choose to have them once in a while--or just avoid them entirely. People also have trigger habits and will find themselves overeating food that is technically on-plan (like cheesecakes, casseroles, nuts), or food that is off-plan, but they convinced themselves they could exercise portion control. I think looking at the habits and behaviors is as at least as important--or maybe more important--as looking at specific foods.

On maintenance, I abstain from lots of things and allow some other things, but how and when and why I allow any "extras" is very important to me. I was very strict during weight loss, though, and that gave me lots of time to develop new habits and attitudes.
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Old 05-23-2013, 10:51 AM   #23
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:33 AM   #24
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More the next couple of months I'll continue to be an abstainer and that includes alcohol. I can moderate some things, and those I can't I abstain from. I don't know that I could ever just each a few nuts (if the are in the hosue). Well sure, I could do for a while, like I can drink a single glass or wine once and while for a while. But I don't like where "once in a while" ends up. I not sure WHEN I lose my extra baggage whether or not I'll become a moderator. One of life's mysteries I guess. I am happy now with abstaining as I have lots of choices of things I can eat.

Interesting discussion!
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:39 AM   #25
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After being on low-carb for 5+ years I can tell you without question I am an abstainer. I have an off day and it can take me weeks to get back on track. The worst is those that continue to insist that it's not a big deal, I should treat myself occasionally. They are wrong, for me it's a very big deal.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:12 PM   #26
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You know what's interesting about that, is I don't have thin people pressuring me to eat stuff. If a thin friend or relative (even one who has never had a weight problem or needed to diet) offers me something, and I say no thanks, it's not a big deal and he or she would drop it. It seems to always be heavier people who push food and make a big issue out of it. I also notice that people (not here on this thread; people I know in real life) who say "You have to treat yourself once in a while!" or "You know what they say--moderation in all things!" are generally not moderate and aren't having treats only once in a while.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:56 PM   #27
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I am an abstainer because one is too many and a thousand isn't enough. I abstain from my trigger foods and behaviors. I still think about certain foods on occasion but then remember what life was like the last time I tried to moderate my eating. In 2011, I gained 32 lbs in 7 weeks. It took over a year to take it off.

Abstaining is just easier for me.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:53 PM   #28
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Start Date: Began losing 10/08. Working off last 20 lbs.
I remember answering this a few months ago on here

With certain foods, I'm essentially an abstainer. I may have them in a controlled setting - like a favorite sushi every few years AT the sushi bar, on a date, without a takeout box. Or a cold stone cake again after I have another baby. And I will enjoy it. I'm not sensitive enough or allergic enough to sugar and grains that I cannot have a serving every year or three and have issues, physical OR emotional. But what I cannot do is have it available for me regularly. It doesn't promote my health or help me in any way, so it's not a part of my life and I can't say I miss it. That doesn't mean I won't eat it occasionally, but 99% of what I eat in a week is health promoting, on plan yumminess. The rest is small servings of dark chocolate which are not technically on Atkins but not an issue for me

I can moderate some things, like cheese and nuts, and still lose weight. They don't make me binge. But by and large I'm an abstainer with the foods that I know I can't just have a single bite of, that aren't on my plan.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:59 PM   #29
Way too much time on my hands!
 
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I simply cannot do moderation, ever. I will never be able to have a bite of cake or even a slice. I will havevthevwhole cake, all the ice cream and maybe a bag of cookies. So, I stat strictvzero carb cause the other option is an all out binge.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:35 PM   #30
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I don't have tendency to binge, thankfully. I really don't have any "trigger foods". My problem is that if I cave and have a bite of a cookie, I beat myself up and tell myself that "I've blown it anyway so I might as well finish the day eating what I want" and that's exactly what I do. So, I'm an abstainer right now until I get to goal weight. I can't truthfully say that I'll never have another bowl of ice cream or a slice of pie, so when I reach goal weight I will have these types of things in extreme moderation.
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