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Emotional Eating: How I Kicked The Ice Cream Habit

There was a time when Baskin-Robbins, along with Ben and Jerry's were among my worst enemies.

And it wasn't even really their fault.  When it came to ice cream, I had no self control.  A scoop of ice  Ice creamcream was like a sample to me.  My portion sizes, I'm sad to say, consisted of pints. 

When the world got too complicated there was Pistachio Almond and Jamocha Almond Fudge from Baskin-Robbins.  When I was lonely there was Pistachio Pistachio and Mint Chocolate Cookie from Ben And Jerry's. 

I remember in the Billy Crystal - Debra Winger comedy movie Forget Paris, there are scenes where Debra Winger's character keeps eating ice cream every time she feels lonely when Billy Crystal's character was traveling as a basketball official, and she had given up her good job when they got married.  In one scene Billy Crystal's character says "why don't you bring along your two best friends Ben and Jerry's."  I could definitely relate.  My husband traveled often for work too.  Still does and that wasn't going to change, so I had to do something about this.

Some people might think it's strange that food can have that kind of grip on you, but if you've ever struggled with emotional eating like I have, it's not hard to understand at all.

I was lucky that I always did work out, so that I didn't turn into a total blimp from my ice cream emotional eating.  But it sure wasn't healthy--physically or emotionally--and kept my weight above where it should have been.  So how did I get out of using ice cream for comfort?

Step 1: 

I made over my ice cream habit into healthier versions and more sensible portion sizes.  I started having non-fat frozen yogurt from a place called Golden Spoon in California and Nevada that had outrageous flavors including at times, my beloved Pistachio.  I also kept my freezer stocked with Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow ice cream concoctions. 

I made a rule that I could have one every day if I wanted, so I didn't deny myself anything.  Yet I didn't actually have it everyday--when the food category in its makeover version was no longer taboo, given free choice, I no longer needed that crutch constantly.

Step 2:

I also realized that it was just too much temptation to walk into Baskin-Robbins and get their frozen yogurt or sorbet, or buy Ben and Jerry's frozen yogurt over my old ice cream friends right there in the same grocery store refrigerator.  The better choices were there, but when put side to side with my favorites, it was no contest, so I decided to avoid those situations completely while making the break.

Step 3:

I made sure I realized when I was particularly vulnerable.  If I started having ice cream cravings, I first got to the root of why I was looking for it, and reminded myself of the just as tasty ice cream substitutes that were available to me.  I also had a list of things to do as alternatives for any time I was stressed or lonely--often I would go to the gym and work out with weights, do kickboxing or Zumba®, or go for a walk--and if it was late at night, I'd do writing for my blogs or a book.

It wasn't easy at first to sever the connection between feelings and ice cream, because after all, when you're a child what do your parents tell you?  If you're good, we'll go for ice cream.  If you feel bad, we'll cheer you up by going for ice cream.  The connection that ice cream is a reward and makes you feel better, gets made very early in our lives, and creating a disconnect is tough.

Years later, I don't have to completely avoid ice cream because the food no longer is a trigger for me. I have an ice cream treat out a handful of times a year, and don't feel the need to have it at home because of my ice cream substitutes.  In fact, today is Baskin-Robbins' annual 31 cent scoop night, and I'm going for my treat as I have for the past couple of years.  I can have a scoop of Pistachio Almond and a scoop of Jamocha Almond Fudge, savor it, but leave it at that.  It also won't hurt that I'll be doing a Zumba® class twice today.

Baskin-Robbins is not coming home with me, and we'll say goodbye till next year's Scoop Night event.  It's not deprivation because I eat my ice cream substitutes all the time, and ironically by eating ice cream all the time (in its healthier makeover version), I'm just about at my wedding day weight and I'm now teaching Zumba fitness classes.

Whether it's ice cream, candy, potato chips, pizza or any favorite food or foods that are exerting their power over you, the three steps I took to kick the hold ice cream had on me will work to free you of any food.  But as I share in Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too! it's never about sacrifice, but it is all about finding the healthiest comfort food makeovers and never denying yourself anything.

What foods have you struggled with?  Please comment on the blog below or on the NEW The Healthy Food Review Facebook Page (and give us a like while you're there please).

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Melanie small version for web --Melanie R. Jordan, Author of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too!  Available 24/7 at

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Please note that I do not have an affiliation with any of the companies featured in this post--they are simply products I am personally familiar with--no samples were supplied.  The views expressed are my opinion only and you should decide, along with your healthcare professionals, on the appropriateness for your personal use.

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