Dealing with cravings like a reasonable human being

Give it to me Matthew Broderick The Producers gif
Some people think that in order to lose big weight, you need to magically have willpower all the time.  They think that dealing with cravings is some mythical power only the elite possess. Folks, I’m here to clear up something for you.  Nobody has that kind of willpower perpetually.  But in my journey thus far I have encountered two tricks to dealing with cravings and working with shaky willpower:

  • 1) Set your environment up for success.
  • 2) Give into cravings.

The first trick is something I will discuss elsewhere in this site, but I want to focus on that second list item. I know, you think I’m crazy. You think I am giving you advice that will keep you fat. If applied incorrectly, it certainly will. But hear me out.

The first step is to listen to your craving. I don’t mean just go along with it right away, I mean really listen. Let’s say you are craving potato chips. Listen to your body, but question what it is telling you. Are you simply craving something crunchy? Are you craving something salty? Are you actually craving time with your friends? If the answer is yes, find a substitute and move on.

Must... not.... do it!

But if the answer is no, and you still crave those chips, move into phase two: the delay. Set yourself a deadline that is at least four hours away, hopefully more. Sometimes, if you just go on about your day, you will forget that you were craving the junk food and the problem just kind of sorts itself out from there.

But then, there may come a craving so strong that you just can’t replace it, ignore it, or use your willpower to overcome it. I’m here to tell you that the best way to deal with that craving is to consume the damn thing before it consumes you.

But that doesn’t mean you should dive headfirst into a swimming pool of whatever you crave and eat until you roll out of the eatery a la Veruca Salt.
Becoming a blueberry
She craved the bluberries something fierce.

Decide how much of your craved item you can have while sticking to your calorie goals. Then just have that amount and savor the fuck out of it. I once read about a cult group of people who survived on very little food but made the smallest meals last a long time. He described eating a blueberry (seriously, what the fuck is up with people and their excessive cravings for blueberries?) like some smut writers describe long, slow, passionate lovemaking. Not that I would know… Anyway, he savored the hell about that blueberry until it hit the level of being creepy/orgasmic. My point being, when you have your craved food in front of you, really pay attention to it and appreciate it. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and love life.

This is the opposite of what you should do:
Cheeseburger Vacuum

Yesterday I woke up, and all I wanted in the world was pancakes. Not just any pancakes. Strawberry NY Cheesecake pancakes from iHop. Not exactly food that one would pin onto their “healthy” board on Pinterest. Shortly after waking up, I told the fiance about my craving and I said “If I still feel like I want them when I get off of work, we’re going to iHop and getting some damn pancakes.”

Throughout the day, I thought about the pancakes, and I knew there was no turning back. They were happening. So before I ate lunch, I went to the iHop site and looked up their calories. I decided to have a stack of two pancakes instead of the normal four and to have some turkey sausage on the side. Then I went back and planned out a low calorie lunch that would mean I would still reach my calorie goal.

Holy shit. Those hit the spot. They were the best goddamn pancakes I think I have ever had. I didn’t need a stack of four of them to appreciate their awesome, sugar-laden happiness. They were perfect.


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