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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Food Samples at Costco; An Unexpected Experiment

It’s never a good idea to go food shopping when you’re hungry. Everyone with a history of dieting, emotional or binge eating knows that!  But yesterday afternoon I had only a small window of time to drive to Costco and get back before I’d get stuck in rush hour traffic.  So, I went, hunger and all.

If you have ever shopped at Costco you know it’s possible to eat your weight in food samples, aisle by aisle. Typically, rather than be tempted over and over, again, I’d just ‘say no’ and bypass all. After all, I’m there to shop, not to eat. But yesterday, I was hungry and tempted. So I thought it through, mindfully, and decided I would eat a few select samples…no big deal.

As I shopped, I ate one appetizer-sized veggie egg roll. I ate a shrimp won ton out of  a soup sample. It tasted fishy, so I threw away the remaining cup of soup and noodles.  I passed several dessert and protein bar samples. My final ‘yes’ was a granola mix with a bit of dried fruit and chocolate bits. Portion-wise, it was maybe three mouthfuls worth.

When I got home I put the groceries away. It was now dinner time. But when I checking in with my hunger level, I noticed I was not hungry. Very interesting. About 30 minutes had passed since I’d eaten the samples…a relatively small amount of food compared to what I would normally eat, for a meal or even sometimes a snack. But 30 minutes was enough time for my brain to get the message that I had eaten enough food to satisfy my hunger. Wow, what an unexpected realization.  It took VERY LITTLE food to satisfy me. If I had been home or in a restaurant, I would have prepared, or ordered, and certainly eaten way more food to address my hunger, apparently unnecessarily.

Now, I’m not saying I ate a balanced meal at Costco, but I did learn a satisfying lesson about how little food it takes to quench my hunger.


Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com

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