3 Ways to Give Up an Unhealthy Snack Addiction

Hi, my name is Helen and I’m a popcornaholic.

Everyone has a food weakness. Or in my case weaknesses.  I’ve already confessed my love for toasted almond bars, but I have another more insidious food weakness: Smartfood’s White Cheddar Popcorn (we’ll call it “WCP”).

Okay so here’s the story. My relationship with WCP began as most doomed romances do: with a lie. I was deciding on whether to buy Doritos, or some other chip, when I saw that Smartfood’s White Cheddar Popcorn was “Fat Free”. Fat free! Two words that exhilarate any woman who is watching her figure! Plus I’d read that popcorn is a pretty healthy snack alternative, so I was sold. I grabbed up a small bag and the love affair began.

At first, I would only eat WCP on occasion. And, just like with an exciting new romance, it was satisfying! Salty! Fluffy! And it was “fat free” so I fooled myself into believing that I’d found the holy grail of diet loopholes!

Things might have been okay if I’d left it there, but my love of WCP eventually spilled over into a reckless over-indulgence. One individual size bag just wasn’t enough, so I was eating at least 3 bags per day. Then the WCP bags got bigger and bigger.  Finally, I caught myself watching Lifetime’s “The Client List” on my couch & eating a full party-sized bag of WCP by myself. In one sitting. (In case you’re wondering, that’s about 1170 calories. And that’s just in the “40% Less Fat” party-sized bag.)

As I stared down at my white cheddar covered hands, I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to break up with WCP.

So what did I do? How did you give up an unhealthy snack addiction? Here are my tips:

1. Don’t go cold turkey. 

Okay, this might sound counter-intuitive, but I didn’t actually give up WCP cold turkey. I know that this strategy might work for some people (hats off to you!), but I knew that if I just stopped eating it cold turkey I’d relapse. Plus, I didn’t want to turn WCP into a “forbidden fruit” by taking it completely off the table abruptly. So instead, my first commitment to myself was to eat less WCP by learning to…

2. Substitute your unhealthy weakness with healthier snacks.

I typically would go get WCP during that “snack time” period in the workday- around 3:30-4:30pm. To prevent myself from always eating WCP, I bought a bag of apples to work and left them in the fridge. When I got hungry, I’d head to the fridge for a healthier snack. Between fruit and other healthy substitutions, I found that I was able to “crowd out” WCP from my diet.

3. Do a personal/mental self-assessment. 

When and why are you eating your food weakness? When you’re stressed out? Bored? Because you’re feeling like you need a reward? When I sat back and really thought about it, I realized that I was eating WCP as a way to “treat” myself. The ironic thing about always using unhealthy snacks as a “treat” is that it’s actually not doing your health much good in the long run! Between the bloating from all the salt and the “false fullness”/blood sugar spikes from all the crappy carbs, I was really punishing myself with WCP! By doing a quick assessment I was more aware of my unhealthy food cravings and therefore more empowered to control them.

So, I’m happy to report that I am now about two months WCP-free. Amazeballs!! 😉

Share! What tips would you add to the list?

-CFC

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About ChicFitChef

My "deserted island" checklist: a BCBG dress, a healthy & diabetic-friendly meal and a few workout DVDs. ;-)
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5 Responses to 3 Ways to Give Up an Unhealthy Snack Addiction

  1. Pingback: 3 Ways to Understand “Calories” vs. “Calories From Fat” on Food Labels | ChicFitChef™

  2. hello@aol.com says:

    Well i have just given up chocolate and i went cold turkey but i replaced it with biscuits! So it was pretty much useless, so now i am trying to give up sugary sweets in general and i am currently trying to think of a healthy snack i can replace it with that i might actually enjoy!

    • ChicFitChef says:

      Have you tried mixed nuts as a healthy snack? Or maybe even dried fruit? Greek yogurt? A mix of all three? There are a lot of healthy snacks out there (that are also tasty) you just have to look- Don’t give up! 🙂

  3. Lynn says:

    I have an addiction to WCP it’s been this way for a year now… I’ve been eating a party sized bag in one sitting multiple times a week.. I’m not proud and I want to kick the habit but me trying to replace it with something else is not working. I still grab for it at the store last minute. HELP!

    • ChicFitChef says:

      Hi Lynn! Sorry for the MUCH delayed reply. I’m right there with you! One strategy I use for getting away from unhealthy foods is to replace them with something healthier. So instead of buying WCP, buy some nuts- they have the same crunch as popcorn but are much better for you. You can also get them lightly salted if that will help satisfy the popcorn craving. All in all, it’s about swapping out WCP for some good stuff. Let me know if that helps!

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