The Curse of the Craving

Cravings:cupcakes on wheels by albastrica mititica

So, I wrote this post about Cutting Out Cravings. I have to confess, it isn’t going quite as well as I had hoped. Sigh….

It started awesome. For a couple of days, just having the little mantra in my head of “whether you give in to them, or whether you don’t, cravings go away” helped incredibly. I ate well and felt really good.

Then I got mad. Not at cravings or anything to do with food – it was just one of the moments where something ticked me off. And at my office one of my coworkers had put out a whole bowl of mini Snickers bars. We see where this is going, right? I had successfully avoided those little tasty bricks of worthless calories for a couple of days, but when my temper went up, my willpower went down.

A day or two later, Julian and I celebrated our anniversary and went out for a wonderful dinner. I deliberately decided to just enjoy myself and not worry about calorie tracking or any of that – after all, it was a special occasion. But between the day of the baby Snickers binge and evening of elegant dinner… it was like a floodgate opened up. Most of last week I was like: Mantra? What mantra?

And sweets, good night have I been craving sweets! Ack! I’ve been wanting more sugary confectionaries than I ever remember craving – even at my heaviest. I’ve been trying to do a little mental therapy and ask myself what I am thinking about when I am craving this junk and trying to figure out where I am emotionally. My body responds with: we are thinking about chocolate chip cookies and we are feeling like getting some right now!  What do you think, idiot?!?!

Um… yeah. I spent last weekend up at my cabin and was hoping to reset and get back to firm footing. There are pros and cons to this. On the pro side, the cabin is fairly isolated, and once I’m there, I rarely feel like leaving. So, the only food I have with me is either what I keep there or what I bring up. It’s a good place to be very deliberate about food. On the con side, the cabin has always been a place of complete relaxation. It’s where I take all the restraints and bindings of daily life off and just be. This means I have a rather nicely stocked little bar up there and I always have some kind of chocolate snacks about. Evenings looking out over the lake with glass of wine in hand and a bite of dark chocolate in the other… heaven.

The first night up at the cabin didn’t go particularly well. I think I had some pent-up steam to blow off, but the next two days were much better. All the time outdoors and on the lake made a big difference to how I felt. I started feeling stronger, and my reserves of energy and willpower (and just good old-fashioned sleep) were growing.

Then came Monday.

Everything went right out the window… again. I found myself angry, frustrated, punchy, and giving into almost every craving that even slightly whispered my name. Ridiculous. There was no obvious reason for any of it – not the moodiness nor the lack of willpower. I did do one thing though. I decided not to go to the local sweet shop and go crazy over their chocolate covered graham crackers, (don’t get me started, I love those things,) and instead, drove over to a local butcher shop. I picked up some beef jerky, some cheese and a bit of lunch meat. While perhaps not perfect food, it was something that felt like an indulgence and filled me up so fast I couldn’t even pretend I was hungry.

I think there are a few things going on. One is that I am not getting enough sleep. I did better at the cabin (thanks to some fabulous naps on the couch with my sleeping dog. Really, is there anything better?) but I haven’t been sleeping well at home. I know I feel better and have stronger reserves when I am well rested.

I’m also working on sticking to my eating guidelines. I don’t like the idea of “free days” but I do know that typically, I can eat more deliberately during the work week (when I have a set schedule) than I can during the weekends. So, for a couple of days this week, I am going to really stick to the way I like to eat. No outside snacking, no giving in to cravings. My house is stocked with great, delicious, healthy food right now, so I should be able to do this. I’m packing huge lunches with tons of snacks that fit the way I want to eat. I am not trying to deprive myself of food, just the sugar for a couple of days. My hope is it will let me reassess what’s  going on, and help me build up my “Saying No” muscle over my “Giving In” muscle. I’m going to get more sleep, start repeating my mantra again, and see if some of these things make a difference.

I’m not beating myself up over this. I realize that I am only 3 months in on learning how to maintain my weight loss. I pretty much hit my goals in May, so I’ve got a lot of learning to do in how to keep them! I’ve noticed that flours of any kind are pretty much out of my diet now. I finished up what I had, and just haven’t been buying bread, pasta or even rice anymore. I haven’t even noticed it. I have it when I am out or on social occasions, but that is about it. I am hoping I can do the same with sugar – even though it is fighting me a lot more than flour ever did!

 

Photo credit: albastrica mititica on flickr

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