You Can’t Quit Food Cold Turkey

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? 

Hop over to the Fit Dish link up, Jill Conyers at, & Jessica Joy at,  and see what other bloggers are sharing!

Happy Week!

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18 thoughts on “You Can’t Quit Food Cold Turkey

  1. I completely agree! It’s about moderation, and no restrictions — by eating more intuitively (which is easier said than done), we can acknowledge the fact that it’s OKAY to give in to cravings, as well as realizing that we don’t have to go overboard b/c it’s not a restriction. We could have it again if we wanted. For me, knowing that I could “give into” a craving and not feel guilty helped me eat less of the craving.

  2. I really like your take on this topic. If we didn’t crave these temptations and cave in here and there, we would be normal. I also agree with you that everything needs to come in moderation and self-control.

  3. I could not agree more! Everything in moderation! I am a terrible snacker but I have this huge collection of cute little bowls. I put my snack in it and put the bag container back. I think I am a 90% good eater too- I can live with it! 🙂

  4. I completely agree! Going cold turkey on certain foods has never worked well for me and actually most of the time it just back fires. If I’m really craving something and I try to completely skip it, then I often end up eating more than I should later on. It’s much better to have a small serving and then move past the craving!

  5. I deal with craving by not avoid them but allowing them in VERY SMALL doses then I noticed I tend not to relapse or go completely off the deep end

  6. I crave salmon….. So the way I over come it… Eat it 😉 I luckily do not have sweet or junk food cravings ever! Probably because I know they will KILL ME if I eat them (food allergies)…. That certainly helps. I also do have extreme willpower and I honestly think it could just be genetic!

  7. I love cheeze-its! I’m a salty snack kind of gal myself (most of the time) but I feel like it’s also the type of snack craving that after just a little bit it’s definitely enough! Sugar though, I really have to be careful, because I do have trouble stopping after just a little bit. Great post! 🙂

  8. Melanie, what a thoughtful and though-provoking post! I love your take on it. It reminds me a lot of the philosophies and tips in Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl. She is a huge advocate for eating what you want, in small portions, while eating very healthy for the most part. I love how you just have a little, and move on. So much less stress! Thanks so much for sharing! Great stuff!

  9. Great post. I was always really good at this but after a period of avoidance and obsession just having a small handful has turned in to a big one, and maybe two or three so need to work on it but I’ll get there!

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