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The Weight is Over – Week 40: What’s Your ‘Crack’?

It started with my offhanded Facebook comment: Oh, Ancestry.com. You are like crack. Hours spent chasing one elusive hit.

That led FB friend Debra Duryee to comment that her crack was toffee, but come to think of it, also chips and homemade onion dip. And Ancestry.com.

The idea was born to ask all my Facebook friends: What’s your crack? (I stipulated that if their crack was really crack, I didn’t want to know.)

I went first. (I mean, Ancestry.com is like crack, but it’s not fattening.) I confessed one of my most irresistible foods: Trader Joe’s chocolate chip cookies, the tiny ones, more of a communion wafer than a full-fledged cookie.

I never knew about these cookies until a few months ago. Now, I wish we’d never met. Although my encounter with them lasted just a few hours, I deeply regretted  what I’d done it in the morning.

For a solid seven months before the TJ cookie episode, I was doing fine working out with Matthew Lister at Align Private Training. I was losing weight, I was declining my former favorite foods with no trouble. I was the picture of restraint and self-control. I barely recognized myself.

That changed the night I fell off the wagon as I house sat for my sister, which is where I first met those adorable little cookies in an innocent canning jar on my sister’s kitchen counter. I sat down to read, and had two cookies. They’re small. No harm, right? I had two more. And before I knew it, the cookies were gone. I was horrified.

trader-joes-chocloate-chip-cookies

The next morning I rushed to Trader Joe’s to buy replacement cookies, but I ended up giving them to another friend, because I knew I couldn’t even have them in my sister’s house. Yes, those cookies were that crack-like for me.

But I was reminded, when I asked my Facebook friends to share their “crack” – that everyone has something that is nearly irresistible. More than 90 people responded.

I could relate to many of the answers, while others, like those whose crack is sunflower seeds, or potato chips, or trucks, I could not relate to. That’s what makes the world go ’round. But oh, how I envy you whose crack are things like smiles, flowers and books.

For this 40th week of my health and fitness journey, I recognize that part of the key to my weight-loss success is knowing my enemy, that thing that can derail my hard work and put me on the wrong path. For me, it’s Trader Joe’s chocolate chip cookies, for you, it may be something else.

The Facebook responses to my crack question are unedited. Some are serious. Many will make you hungry. A few will make you laugh out loud. (My biggest laugh votes are tied between Barbara Rice and Steve Jones.) Knowledge is power. Read and learn. May the force of willpower be with you. But most of all, beware of the Trader Joe’s chocolate chip cookies. (Feel free to include your crack in the comments.)

Amy Gibbs: Cashews and M&Ms. Salty, sweet, cheap. What’s not to love?

Julie Farmer: My Kindle. Books, movies, Downton Abby, spider solitaire. You name it. If it ever bites the dust I will be totally lost until I replace it. Amazon Prime won’t be fast enough!

Gina Giordano Scrima: Trader Joe’s taffy!

Lori Evans Whitmore: Griffins kissable neck, ice tea and dark chocolate….probably in that order (disclaimer: Griffin is over it) 🙂

Lyn Regan: Original Klondike bars.

Nadine Bailey: Facebook, and that peanut brittle made with Sierra Nevada beer.

Darcy Bue: Popcorn

Maureen Gaynor Ross: Reading. Cannot even skip a day.

Debra Atlas: Mine’s dark chocolate. Gotta have some every day.

Melanie M. Gilchrist: Mine is Nutella on anything. Also the soft frosted cookies with sprinkles from Holiday.

Matthew Grigsby: Bad movies, Pringles and J Crew button down plaid shirts.

Steve Jones: Is four trucks too many? And then of course they will need some parts like Original GM Chevrolet NOS in the box brand new never used guy stuff! I am almost sure only a few will understand my addiction but it is better than some other wallet-thinners.

Salisha Lloyd: 1980’s movies and popcorn with cayenne! Seriously think about 80’s movies every day…

Canda Fogg Williams: Kettle corn!

Jeff Gore: The Internet.

Whitney Martin: Shaved ice. At work a friend would tease me about my love of  “shaved crack” … it does not even matter the flavor(s)

Peggy Elwood: Crystallized ginger with organic dark chocolate .. Bite of each .. Yum..

Nancy Pernell: My crack is Cocoroons from Grocery Outlet.

Paula Carpenter: Depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s sweet. Like peanut butter cups or Good n Plenty. Other times, it’s KFC cole slaw or tacos. Whatever makes my day better.

Sydney Domke: Reality tv, cookie dough, and tragic love stories. Oh and pumpkin spice lattes but only from Starbucks. If you’re ever in need of a stereotypical white millennial girl from California, you have my number.

Jonessa Brittan: Cookies and cream ice cream.

Larry Greco Harris: S’mores-flavored ice cream sandwiches. Ice cream doesn’t tend to agree with me. I DON’T CARE!

Andie Borden: Toffee. Coffee. Waterfalls/Nature.

Elizabeth Zaharris: Plain Lays Potato chips

Renae Tolbert: OMG Doni – I cannot buy those Trader Joe’s cookies!! I cannot stop at a dozen, or even 2 dozen. . . . in 2 days. . . . gone, all mine, and all gone!

Aimee Mckinney: Red Wine with organic kettle salt and vinegar chips. (Actually, it has to be Rodney Strong Cab.)

Erin Friedman: Books – can’t ever have enough of them stacked up next to the bed. Also: good, dark chocolate – though I try not to keep it stacked up next to the bed. 🙂

Kathy Chisum: My Mom & Dad, my kindle, grand children, chocolate, cookies, ice cream, the 3 A’s..Artichokes, Avocado’s, and Asparagus; prawn’s, crab, & lobster.

Renae Tolbert: But, my “crack” is taking pictures of birds and any kind of wildlife that comes my way!

Meredith Page Fisher: Outlander! Jamie and Claire! Sam Hueghen in a kilt! Rereading the books, re-watching the shows, just ordered a kilt for hubby’s Halloween costume. Ya, I’d say it’s my crack. Just ask miss Amanda McKay Sinyard about her Outlander addiction? This. Is. Why.

Meredith Page Fisher's photo.

Donna Ayres: TJ’s dark chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling.

Jane Patterson Work: Popcorn at the movies!

Claudia Powers Hastings: Facebook and posting puns!

Gale Forschler: Oh my goodness, let’s talk candy corn! I love them, by the handful, bag full or bowl full! I like to bite off the white part first, then move on to the bigger middle yellow part, and last but not least I finish off with the orange part. Did you know that each color has a little different texture and flavor? It’s true. I do love my candy corns and this is the perfect time of year to enjoy that perfect little sugar treat. Yum!?

Denise Ohm: Line Dance

Denise Richmond Yergenson: Nutter Butters. The wafer kind. I can eat the whole package in one sitting!!

Kendra Lynn Howell: new music

Shayna Grace Williams: Sticky buns from Yaks in Dunsmuir! Mmmmmm. And the reason why is because it’s homemade sweet and slightly salty, gooey goodness melts in your mouth! I don’t know what they put in those warm, doughy, golden pastries, but I do believe it’s some sort of drug (maybe it’s the bourbon sauce??) I can never resist them when we go there…guess it’s a good thing Yaks is not nearby!

Judy Silva: David’s jumbo original sunflowers seeds. I eat them until my teeth hurt and my tongue puckers up!

Carolyn Marie Vitzthum Gomes: Working out and sunflower seeds! Dark chocolate cover almonds.

Amanda McKay Sinyard: Outlander! Jamie and Claire! Sam Heughan! Wine. Pretty much everything Meredith said.

Gayleen Chase Gorder: Trader Joe’s organic dark chocolate bars with pieces of almonds. Also their vanilla caramels that come in a tub.

Barbara Rice: Ruffles potato chips and onion dip – both the regular onion dip and green onion dip, the kind from little packets that you mix with sour cream. I love this so much that I simply cannot have it in the house, not ever. If I go to a party, and it’s on the table, I will act really casual and pretend I am interested in the carrot sticks instead, while I scoop up as much dip as possible on the largest chip possible. If there is regular Coca-Cola also, well, my evening is complete.

Teresa Graves Norman: Sunflower seeds, only Original flavor (and Judy Silva, I’ve moved to reduced sodium…)

Jessica Friden: Coconut flavored unsweetened sparkling water!

Ron Ellis: I try to treat myself to a DQ hot fudge sundae about once a month!

Bridgit Coughlin Shoffner: Anything that is organized in rainbow order. Framed kids art….
Blogs. Trader Joe’s cookie butter ice cream or beet hummus. (Unhealthy crack vs healthy crack )

Janet Applegarth Yarbrough: Crunchy cheese puffs or See’s Vanilla fudge

Michelle Irene Teasley: HGTV is TOTALLY my crack! I am watching Caribbean Life right now. I love all the house hunting-type shows on HGTV. I’m living vicariously. 😉

Monica Montanez Templeton: I had to stop Tim from purchasing this from Costco today. Otherwise, I’ll eat the entire thing… One toasted, buttered slice at a time, until it’s completely gone. Bread. Cereal. Yeah, carbs.

Monica Montanez Templeton's photo.

Brooke Bartimioli: Cadbury Mini Eggs, popcorn, warm lemon water, Muddy Buddies, Rice Krispie treats.

Terrie Klasko Snow: Good sourdough bread!

Linda Watkins-Bennett: Maisy Jane’s dark chocolate almonds!

Linda Watkins-Bennett's photo.

Sandy Lundstrom Cerro: Buying fabric for future quilting projects. Notice I did not say quilting….I need an intervention.

Budd Hodges: Peanut butter and honey crackers.

Janet Hering: Facebook!

Cindy Corradetti: Flowers – I love arranging them, giving them, getting them – just wished I was better at growing them.

Susan Daugherty: Sourdough bread with cambozola and red wine.

Cathy Yochim Darling Allen: Texas sheet cake, just one more little sliver…and another…etc. I might also have too much quilt fabric, but I think that depends upon your point of view. Ahem.

Cheryl McMillan: Mint chocolate chip anything! And dogs and horses.

Shelly Shively: These. Also “Thrifty” (RiteAid) Rock Road Ice cream.

Shelly Shively's photo.

Steve Jones: Shelly, I like the ones from Germany that you get from Big Lots.

Shelly Shively: Thanks Steve! After I’m through with my no sugar fast, I’ll check it out . 😉

Leslye Layne Russell: Ancestry.com and its ilk are it for me! It is so hard to stop working on genealogy, especially in the wee hours. I have to ration my time there to just a few times a month.

Kim Mobley: Ancestry.com for sure. I had my DNA done too. It’s filling in blanks and bringing history to life, better than the history channel.

Eleanor-Elly Carrara-Erwin: Since moving to Italy, Nutella. Never tried it in the USA and I wish I never knew it existed. There are enormous displays in the grocery stores and there is even a generic brand. Mama mia and as they say here, Oh Dio!! Day 2 . . . No Nutella . . . I am working on my 30 day chip and I don’t mean chocolate chip!!

Bob Belongie: Honest Chocolate. The Medicinal Grade stuff, the kind you never chew, you just let it melt on your tongue and wash it down with fresh coffee.

Connie Waranius: Coconut cream cookies with coconut glaze. With no dairy no gluten. I think I will bake a batch now! Delicious…

Mike Ferrier: Doni…My daily hit is smiles and for a real good time it is happy tears. Mine or others, it does not matter.

Beth Kershaw Maxey: Cute (comfortable) shoes. Especially the patterned Alegrias.

Steve Towers: Activity crack: Tennis and other sports are forms of meditation for me that clear my mind of everything but what I’m doing (unlike, say, zazen or other forms of meditation). Food crack: coq au vin in the winter/planked salmon and grilled veggies in the summer. Adult beverage crack: IPAs and big reds. Personal relationships crack: Kids and grandkids. Couch crack: Giants games, HBO.

David Wright: Starbucks green tea frappuccino, Arrowhead sparkling water, and estate sales.

Ron Clark: Does good ole inn and out count?

Steve Jones: as long as it is with your wife!

Lynne Wonacott: mine is travel. I cannot get enough of seeing the face of the world up close and personal.

Bernadette Wheeler: Bullitt proof coffee, Outlander and knowledge.

Sue Ralston: Oh my god. Just since moving back to the Bay Area: the strong, bittersweet, creamy hot chocolate from Blue Bottle Coffee. J U S T enough sweetness to make it taste great.

Andrea Charroin: Align Private Training.

Kim Maslin: PINTEREST!! Oh yes, Pinterest is my crack ?

Susan Briley Margulius: I love those cookies too, lol!

Colleen Collins: I think spaghetti cooked on the barbecue

Joe Domke: Beer.

Margaret Raniere Beck: We call them crack cookies I’ll send you the recipe it’s amazing.

Sonja Padgett: May I have the recipe, too?

Margaret Beck Cookies
(Credit to Martine Johnson)
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda

Lightly cream these first ingredients together.

Add 4 cups flour and 5 cups oatmeal. Stir in 12 ounces chocolate chips, 12 ounces white chocolate chips and chopped macadamia nuts. Drop golf-ball-size balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet, then flatten. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes only. Cool and join a support group.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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