To give into cravings or not to give into cravings, that is the question.

I have heard many times from many real experts in the field the idea that if you have a craving for something sweet or a treat to go ahead and do it so that you don’t end up over eating and then end up eating it anyway.  I have been pondering this concept for some time now and have come to a conclusion or two that I am going to share.  Please keep in mind that I am not an expert in the field of nutrition, but I have a good deal of expertize in two things 1) addiction 2) me.  Been dealing with me all my life and expect to for many years to come and the addiction thing for 13 years (yikes!).  So here is my opinion and again understand it’s simply an opinion and they like arm pits can stink.

If I give into a craving that I might have most times it will not stop with one bite or an appropriate portion.  No joke, for me it is much more likely to lead into binge eating.  I have for most of my life (that I can remember) struggled with understanding and applying what appropriate portions are.  As I explain to other people if there is an addiction you can figure I might understand the concept of moderation, but that is about it.  I don’t intend to imply that an addict to anything cannot learn and practice self control aka moderation, but it is not easy.  On the same hand knowing this is a struggle for me does not provide and excuse for poor choices, period. 

I think that if you were to ask me how do I know if I am just an over eater or an emotional eater or addicted eater I would say this.  If you have experience with thinking I will satisfy my craving by having a little bit of _______ and then I end up eating that and more and more of that food and possibly many other things then no don’t give into that craving.  That is not emotional eating and not even really over eating, that is addictive eating.  There is a very compulsive piece to addiction and a very obsessive piece as well. 

I still have that ability to pull myself back and stop when I catch myself eating like that, but it is a struggle.  If I can avoid that struggle by not engaging in it, then I am all the better for it.  I think of a few patients that I have dealt with in the past who said to me, I know if I take one hit/bite/drink then it’s all over.  They know and I know that realistically they can come back from a lapse or a relapse, but it’s not always easy.  The question after I do it becomes how long will it take me to pull myself together again and what kind of damage might I do in the mean time.  I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE IN COMING BACK FROM LAPSE/RELAPSE I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t, I just want to make that clear.  It’s just not always easy to find hope again and again and again…You know yourself better than anyone if this is you then I would encourage you to stay as far away as you can from that craving.  Remember a craving is really only temporary and it will fade, here’s a few things to try:

  • Deep breathe and picture it as a wave on the ocean.  As it comes at you it’s small and you can spot it coming, it becomes bigger as it comes closer to you, but like most waves once it hits the shore it peters out to that little bit of water lapping around your feet.
  • Get up and walk/exercise/move get some relief through natural hormones from your body like endorphines.
  • Drink water, sometimes we are not hungry but are thirsty.
  • Make sure you aren’t hungry for real food, the kind that will provide good nutrients that help the body.
  • Call in some supports to distract you and encourage you.
  • Have a moment of self reflection to make sure there is not something emotionally that you need to attend to.  If there is then address it even a little bit at a time (maybe journal it).
  • If you give in remember and practice self forgiveness, to hold on to guilt/shame/anger will just “feed” the beast.

So that is my peace on that, I just wanted to put it out there as food for thought so to speak.  I am working on a post with some information and some links about food as an addiction.  I just want to make sure that it is very well thought out, because it is a big topic with a lot of information. 

Some exciting news is that tomorrow I am going to go and here Jillian Michaels speak.  I am pretty psyched and have been reading her most recent book.  I am not a big fan of Biggest Loser (I don’t like some of the shame type tactics I saw early on, honestly I haven’t watched it for a very long time), however I like what I am reading and like her DVD’s.  I will post about it tomorrow if I don’t get back to late, if I do I will post soon and will hope you have a great Saturday.

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