I've been struggling to write about this topic and I couldn't pinpoint why. It seemed interesting to me and I'm pretty sure most people have food cravings, but the words just wouldn't flow. Last night it hit me why I was having such a difficult time. When I write, or spout off my own version of sage advice, I like it to come from experience. I think having firsthand knowledge lends a much more credible voice. Now, let me assure you that I am mortal and I do deal with food cravings. However, last night I realized that I experience cravings much less frequently than I used to. So much less, in fact, that I was hoping for a craving in order to be able to write about this topic. Answers don't always come as we expect them, and instead of suffering from an uncontrollable urge for chocolate, I was hit with an unexpected surge of realization. Realization that stifling the enemy's temptations can easily become second nature and realization that--hey! I actually kind of know what I'm talking about! So here are some unconventional tricks:
1. Wage a good old-fashioned stare down.
Whatever food it is you're jonesing for, take it out and look at it. Just stare at it. It sounds crazy, I know, but remember the staring contests you had as a kid? You had to focus all of your willpower on not blinking, no matter the distraction. Same idea here, stare down that doughnut--but instead of being distracted by why you want it, focus on why you're not going to eat it. Repeat your mantra: I will not blink. I will not blink. I will not blink. So what happens if you do "blink" and eat it? It's okay, you can't win every contest; keep working at it and it will get easier. Oh, by the way, I've always been horrible in actual staring contests--you know, the kid who always had to start over because of something in her eye.
2. Determine it's worth.
I'm not talking calories or taste here. And forget the lack of nutritional value for a moment, because in the middle of a craving, the last thing on our mind is whether or not it's healthy, we know it's not! So, what is it worth to you? Is it worth extra visceral fat around your heart? Is it worth higher blood pressure? Is it worth raising your cholesterol? Is it worth diabetes? Is it worth not fitting into your clothes? Is it worth the guilt you'll feel afterwards? Is it worth breaking your own promise to cut back? Is it worth swallowing another pill to fight the effects? Is it worth cutting your life short? Is it worth indigestion? is it worth bloating? Is it worth contaminating your temple? Sometimes, your answer will be yes, and that's totally fine as long as it's sometimes, as in rarely; infrequently; not often; hardly ever...you get my drift?
3. Have an override button.
Alt+control+delete. I used to love that. When things got slow, messy, crazy, or just out-of-control, you alt+ctrl+del that beast and walk away. For me it was always the equivalent of telling my unfeeling computer, "Shut up! You don't understand anything! Why won't you do what I ask, you worthless piece of junk? You're annoying, you're not listening and I've had enough of you!" If things were really bad, I'd power down--now that meant business.
Having some sort of override mechanism in place will save us in the long run. Situations will get out of hand. Cravings will feel uncontrollable and we will feel powerless to stop them. We'll lose the ability to listen to our own rational thought and that is when we need some sort of reboot option. Get your own alt+ctrl+del button in place. Maybe it's deep breathing, going for a walk, slamming the refrigerator door shut, calling a friend, scrubbing a sink, all of the above; whatever will allow you to get away from the situation to think clearly and start over.
Ask for the removal of the temptation. Ask for help, ask for guidance. Ask for the ability to make wise decisions. Ask God if He wants you putting the slice of pie into His temple. Ask, ask, ask! His line is always open.
5. If you must...
Most of us have repeat offenders--those foods that we always end up craving, over and over again. Know them; learn them--it's the only way to get the best of them. For me, it's either chocolate or salt and grease. Chocolate is easy to combat because it can offer health benefits when eaten right; so, essentially I don't even have to curb my chocolate craving I just make sure it's dark, free of additives and fillers, low in sugar and as long as I don't overdo it, I'm free to partake. Salty and greasy is a little harder, but my solution to potato chips is to pop my own popcorn (non-gmo, thank you very much) and add olive oil and Himalayan salt. There are healthier alternatives to almost everything, it just takes a bit of creative thinking and trial-and-error.
Okay, I'm pretty sure these tips are out of the ordinary, but I can also vouch for their success. Try them! Tell me what you think! Add any other ideas that work for you!