Thursday, July 19, 2012

The "C" Word

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and one of my supervisors has brought in a large tray of fresh baked pastries. I just finished a 10 mile run and am having a hard time talking myself out of having the beautiful, sweet smelling morsels sitting before me… WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSE TO DO?!?!?

One of the hardest things about being a recovering bulimic, as well as trying to establish a permanent healthy way of living is dealing with CRAVINGS. Unfortunately, scenarios like the one I just gave happen ALL too often and I am not always “strong” enough to JUST SAY NO!

Cravings are those nasty, sneaky, and intense longings for items that usually are not good for us at all that we are convinced WILL NOT go away until what we are pining for. These distracting, mouth watering incontrollable yearnings can mean the death of any healthy day. In my case, they have often led to many binges and sent me spiraling completely off course from my healthy life style.

I don’t know about you guys, but there have been times when I have gotten cravings that would not allow me focus on anything. Homework took a back seat, the television program I was watching might as well have been on mute, spending time with friends and loved ones was an inconvenience because all I wanted was to eat what I told myself I  couldn’t have and wanted more than anything else in life. It was as if the food had control over my every thought and behavior.

Sadly, these little buggers are not completely avoidable, but they do not have to control your life, or break your perfectly healthy habits. I still deal with cravings often (my recurrent one is usually ice cream and cookies), but I feel that I have found some useful tools to help you get through your cravings with a smoother landing.

The first step to better handling your cravings is to understand what the heck is going on is going on! Cravings are complicated because the attack mentally, physically and emotionally. Cravings are still a mystery that we science has yet to completely figure out. This article by Health (,,20587784,00.html) explains a lot of what goes on mentally and chemically in our brains when we have cravings.

Is This a Craving?!?!

Sometimes what you have identified as a craving, may not be one at all. There are two other culprits that may be at play that are making you think that you are craving.

1. You could be Bored. Staying inactive gives you more time to think about all the things you have been depriving yourself of. Before grabbing that cupcake or bag of chips, get up and do something for at least 10 minutes (take a walk, read a book, do some other active.)

If this doesn‘t work...
2. You could be Thirsty. Often times when our bodies are dehydrated, they mistake this for being hungry. Prior to picking up that pizza or pie try drinking a large glass of water. You may find that your craving is gone completely.

If this doesn’t work..

3. Then you may actually be hungry! When was the last time you ate?! Grab a piece of fruit or find a healthy substitute for what you are craving (cinnamon roll= a small cup of cinnamon toast crunch or a hundred calorie pack of cinnamon covered almonds).

Sometimes Cravings are emotionally centered. Once I have identified that this is what might be going on, I try one of these tricks to help with my cravings.

1. Talk it out- Sometimes just letting someone else know that I am craving something ridiculous helps me to put into perspective whether or not I actually want it.

2. Tell yourself, “You’ll have it tomorrow.”- most likely you’ll forget about it.

3. The one week rule- If I find that I am still craving something after a week, I usually allow myself to budget a small portion of the culprit in to my day. I try to keep them to a minimum though. Giving into a craving daily does me no good.

4. Brush my teeth or have a mint- This helps satisfy my sweet tooth, or curb my appetite until I can get to something to eat. This is particularly useful when I get late night cravings. I'm less likely to eat again if I have already brushed my teeth :)

5. Recommends telling yourself, “I don’t eat that”! The idea behind it is that you aren’t restricting yourself like you are when you say , “I can’t have that”. You are empowering yourself to make a better decision. I haven’t put this in to practice yet… but I figure it worked when I went vegetarian to help me stop eating read meat and pork… why cant it work on sweets?!

6. Think about my long term health goals. When I remind myself how far I have come, and how much further I have to go, it makes it easier to resist temptation.

What are some things that you try to stop your cravings?!?!

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