How to manage foods that have power over you…

How to manage foods that have power over you…

I know, I know. You say you are addicted to chocolate because you have an addictive personality. Maybe yes, but maybe no. Maybe you are just doing “last chance eating”? You know, “Last chance to eat chocolate so I’d better eat all of the Hershey kisses today because I am back on my diet tomorrow.”

When a food like chocolate (or cookies or donuts) has power over you, that power stems from the fact that you like the food and want to eat it more often. You should indeed eat that food more often, so that you get bored with it and it loses its power over you. The solution to managing “binge foods” is to eat the food routinely, not try to stay away from it. (Think about it: Do apples have power over you? Why not?)

When you next go home for the holidays and get confronted by your favorite dessert (Granny’s chocolate cake?), plan it into your meals and eat it INSTEAD of your meal. That is, if you have 600 calories in each meal, you could enjoy two chunks of came for breakfast, lunch, dinner … and still not “get fat.”. You also will not die from malnutrition in three days.

You will not gain weight if the portion fits within your calorie budget. You might get sick of cake, and realize that when you eat smarter, you feel better … The benefits of feeling better might overpower the urge to splurge on yet another piece of cake the next meal.

Worth an experiment? 
Eating MORE of the food that has power over you is a tactic that works. You just have to trust this experiment. That is, when you have an “I need cookies” day, simply plan cookies into your meals and have cookies for lunch INSTEAD OF real food for lunch. You might end up feeling lousy and discover that when you eat better foods, you actually feel better. You will look forward to enjoying quality food at your next meal.

Learning how to control “trouble foods” is a management issue, not a food issue. There is a possibility you just need to learn how to manage your binge foods, not deny them and ban them from your menu. For help learning that skill, make an appointment with a local sports dietitian. To find one, use the referral network at

Best wishes for finding peace with food,



Resource: the chapters on Snack Attacks and Dieting Gone Awry in my Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Written by Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD is an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader. She is a registered dietitian (RD) who is a board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She is also a certified WellCoach. Nancy specializes in nutrition for performance, life-long health, and the nutritional management of eating disorders. She counsels both casual exercisers and competitive athletes in her private practice in the Boston area (Newton, MA). Some of her clients consider her to be their food coach, others their food therapist. Regardless, she enjoys the challenge of helping sports-active people transform their suboptimal eating habits into effective fueling plans. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, a best-selling resource, has sold over 550,000 copies and is now in it's new fifth edition.

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