Do you hear that? There’s something coming from your pantry. Or the fridge. Is it that last piece of cake? Or is it that box of Cheez-its? Either way, something you crave is calling your name. What do you do?
This week’s theme for The Fit Dish is all about what we do to overcome unhealthy temptations and cravings. I’m going to be honest here and say that I struggled with even posting anything on this topic. I’m by far the last person to give any advice on eating healthy or not. I try to make good choices, but I don’t always. I also struggled with the fact that by even offering suggestions on how I overcome unhealthy temptations was I going against what I truly feel about something being “healthy” or “unhealthy” and how I handle these day to day cravings and temptations. I sat on this blog post for a day, really thinking about it.
So here’s what I think. I think with avoidance becomes obsession. Stick with me for a minute. So let’s say that I’m craving some Cheez-Its. I could do a half dozen things to overcome that craving. I could drink some water, walk around a bit, substitute a piece of fruit for that snack, throw the box away, not buy them at all, etc. At the end of all that, I am pretty sure, I’ll still want some Cheez-its. I’ll have avoided eating them, but in turn, I’ll just actually obsess about them more knowing that I shouldn’t eat them. This in turn is making me want them more than I did 10 minutes ago.
When I quit smoking, I quit cold turkey. No patches, no gum, nothing. I just stopped smoking. At the beginning, it was all I could think about it. I wasn’t smoking, but I wanted to smoke. I did all kinds of things to take my mind off of not smoking. I started making jewelry in an effort to keep my hands busy, I started running, I chewed on pen caps on the way home from work, etc. I did all those things, but at the end of the day, I wanted to smoke. Sure I could have given in, what’s just one? It would mean I’d have to “quit” again. That could translate into cravings, I could just not give in to the temptation. But for me, food isn’t a cold turkey kind of thing. It’s not about substitution or distractions.
For me, food is more about learning moderation and self-control and less about distractions and avoidance. I grab a handful of Cheez-Its, savor them and move on. Did I eat some unhealthy? You bet I did. Will I feel bad about it? Probably not. I’d actually think I’d feel worse if I went through a bunch of steps to avoid them and still ate them anyways, then to realize that one handful of crackers wasn’t the worse thing I could do. Did I eat just a handful? It was probably generous and I’d probably want more. That’s where knowing my limits and using self-control come in. One handful doesn’t derail anything. Savor that moment and move on.
I make good choices 90% of the time when I eat. I try to stay away from fried food. I eat my fruits and veggies. I’m a stickler for protein at every meal. But there are times, I want Cheez-its or a donut or another brew. 5% of the time, I’ll really think about it and realize that I don’t need it. I try to think about food and how I need it to fuel my body for what I’m asking it to do. But then that last 5% is when I’m just going to say yes! Just as in running and life, food and eating is the same way. Everything in moderation and exert some self-control.
What’s your thought on overcoming cravings? How do you deal with them?
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