Like an addict. Every single day.

Somebody put a box of donuts in the coffee room at work this morning. When I walked in I saw them and I actually heard my mind say, “Oooh! Donuts!!” against my better judgment. I had no control over it whatsoever.

Ooh! Donuts!

I have a thing about donuts. I cannot imagine a more delicious, desired food item that I should not have. There’s absolutely no redeeming value to donuts, but they are the item that my mind has fixated on as The Thing I Love Most.

They’re awful – grease and sugar and fat. They make me feel yucky when I eat them, they have absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever, and they almost never live up to my expectations, yet still my lizard brain wants them. And somebody had left a box of crappy grocery-store donuts in the break room this morning.

So, after I got past the initial “Ooh! Donuts!” which I cannot control from springing forth out of my subconscious when presented with unexpected donuts, I did a little systems check.

  1. Are they any special kind of donuts? No.
  2. Are they going to taste good? Probably no.
  3. Am I even hungry? No.
  4. Are they worth a setback on all the good work I’ve been doing this week? Hell no.

That was easy.

And yet, I still have to reason myself back from the “Ooh! Donuts!” moment almost every time. I’ve always loved donuts. When I was a child my father would bring home donuts every Saturday morning as a treat, it was a ritual for our family. He died when I was 7, and after he died it stopped, but my mind had imprinted donuts as something denoting happiness and special feelings of safety, security and belonging. I remember as a teenager riding my bike to the local donut shop and buying a whole dozen which I would eat all by myself, desperately hoping for a few moments of that fleeting happiness I was sure that just one more bite would bring. It never did. But I still have a donut complex. I can’t help but have a flash of that emotional desperation I knew as a youth when I see them. But I can stop myself and have a reasoned dialogue about why I so desperately want this thing, and whether it would be worth the trade-off. It almost never is.


9 Responses to “Like an addict. Every single day.”

  1. Andie Says:

    You’ve outlined the exact systems check that works for me.

    I’ve got a happy childhood donut memory that makes them a trigger food for me, too. They are totally a comfort food that speaks to my lizard brain, and they ambush me when I least expect it, and thanks to you, I now know why! I’m hoping that makes them even easier to resist.

  2. Caron Says:

    In reading this post, I made a connection about my love of ice cream. I only lived with my Father until I was four years old but one of my memories is getting my thumb slammed in the door of his brand new, shiny red Studebaker and him taking me to get ice cream to help the oops. Interesting. At least ice cream isn’t usually left out for people to help themselves and I never bring it into the house. I’m pretty happy with an individual serving of frozen yogurt. 🙂

  3. Trystan Says:

    I only like my One True Donut: the chocolate old-fashioned. Every other donut tastes like ass to me. Which is unlike, say, chocolate candy bars, wherein I can eat even the sh*ttiest, cheapest, lamest chocolate & it is still freakin’ heaven in my mouth & I will if it’s anywhere within my radius.

    Point being, know your weakness.

    • Donna Says:

      Yup, chocolate old fashioneds are the only one that are worth running through the check list. All others are doughnuts for other people.

  4. Rachel Says:

    Donuts probably tie with ice cream for me, in terms of MOST DELICIOUS THING EVER.

    My emotional eating connection to my dad is cheap snack cakes, like Little Debbie and Hostess. He still eats them almost daily.

  5. Yoko Olsgaard Says:

    I know just how you feel. Funny, like everyone above, I love ice cream even more but only a few kinds… Haagen Daz Five Vanilla and Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt. Go figure. Oh, and a glazed donut. Yup, that’s my favorite food but it does make me feel sick after I eat donuts. Ice cream is not a problem, but donuts really are. So disappointing considering that I have the same tender feelings (totally irrational) for them. It was good to read how you get past it all. I have to do that because there are cookies calling my name. Luckily, they are frozen and there is a beautiful honey crisp apple right in front of me. Thank you so much for introducing me to them. If only I could FORGET donuts and ice cream.

  6. denise_kc Says:

    Thanks so much for this post. For years I have been working on figuring out food triggers … took me a while to figure out that I was even reacting to emotional triggers. While reading this it dawned on me that my whole fast food thing is about care and empowerment and being with my parents (since I couldn’t very well buy it for myself). It was one of the few consistent sources of me getting to choose something just for me. Logically I know it’s not a good choice; still I consistently “give in” – now I can see the underlying emotional dynamic and work on reframing it. Thanks.

  7. Donna Says:

    But doughnuts are *not* the Thing You Love Most … that’s Cathyn. No doubt just as tasty, but less fattening 🙂

  8. overextended Says:

    Sadly, I lost my fight with a doughnut this morning. I put in an extra 15 minutes of running to pay for it. But I don’t really think it was worth the 15 minutes…

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