Last week I received an email from a reader asking me if I’d do a blog on how I handle food cravings and that urge to pig out. She didn’t think it was funny when I said “I handle it by pigging out”. The truth of the matter is, sometimes I DO. I’m human. Ya gotta let yourself indulge, like REALLY indulge – once in a while – and NOT beat yourself up. It’s a slippery slope. Personally, when I feel that I’ve totally screwed up and have fallen SO low, it’s easy for me to keep going and say “what’s the use? I’ve already screwed up!”. Can you relate? The outcome will be so much better though if you give yourself a freakin break! Indulge! And then say, “I’m done. I really enjoyed that. Now back to my healthier ways.”.
But what about those times when you’re on the edge, you haven’t caved YET – and you’re REALLY craving something that you know is SO not good for you? Well, I DO have some strategies that I use, and I’d LOVE to hear YOURS!!! Here’s the rule though. Don’t beat me up for my game plans cuz what works for me may not be for you. (And some of my tactics may definitely rub you the wrong way.) With that said, here goes:
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Let’s start off with my Szechuan string bean addiction. I can eat these every day for every meal – and I CRAVE them!!! I know that even though they’re string beans, they’re INCREDIBLY sugar and oil laden and G-d knows what else is in this delectable creation! I always order it without MSG – that’s a given. I won’t compromise on that. (And without oyster sauce and fish sauce cuz that’s just gross.)
So this is my approach to this, and this can go with anything you’re ‘addicted’ to – and I’ll show you how in a minute. I order my string beans and I also get an order of steamed broccoli. I mix half of the string beans with half of the broccoli. Now I’m only eating HALF of the amount of that unhealthy sauce! I’m definitely FULL and I am so satiated from the flavors of heaven, I MEAN SAUCE!!! And I even get the benefit of more phyto-nutrients going to battle for me in my body by introducing TWO teams of nutrients (broccoli and string beans) instead of one (just the string beans). Also, I have an additional meal that I can either take home and FREEZE for my next “I HAVE to have it” moment, OR I can serve it as a side dish at a family meal.
There are so many other ways you can do this! When you’re craving something unhealthy, mitigate it! If you HAVE to have deep fried and/or battered – ANYTHING, have half of it battered (or deep fried) and the other half in its healthier version. Whether it’s chicken, tempura veggies, Oreos (JUST KIDDING! Don’t eat deep fried Oreos, kay? Promise me!) there’s a better way to have it for sure. You HAVE to have chicken wings? Have half of them the unhealthy way and the other half grilled, skinless, boneless – in the same sauce. Don’t get MORE sauce, use the wings as your sponge to dress the healthier chicken. Get veggies that are only HALF battered. Eat the other half steamed or raw, using the sauce/flavorings from the HALF of the unhealthy battered veggies. Need your fettuccini alfredo? Order or make it! Then take HALF of it and make up the other half of volume with steamed veggies or at least with all or half 100% whole grain pasta. Again, don’t ADD sauce. Make the sauce from the half order work for the entire re-made dish.
I am NOT suggesting that this is an ideal way to eat. I’m just suggesting that IF you are about to indulge, doing it this way is a far better option. Obviously it is better to not do it in the first place, but let’s face it. We’re human – so if we’re going to eat crap once in a while, at least this lessens the blow to your poor body! Also, you get two meals out of one and that second meal can be donated (see below), frozen for a MUCH later time (maybe at someone else’s house 😉 ) or just save the healthy half and throw away the unhealthy half! Kay … onto the next!
You know that craving for (vegan) ice-cream? Or for ANY sweets? You can just FEEL that rush of endorphins flow thru you! LOVE IT! You know what else I love? (David, PLEASE STOP READING HERE. That’s my husband for those of you who don’t know 😯 .) For the rest of you, just to repeat….. YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE I LOVE? SHOPPING! Same endorphins! 😎 And I know this because I took one for the team folks! I actually did the experiment and compared the feeling. You’re welcome! So yah, shopping gives you a high that is ridiculously comparable to what you feel when you eat your favorite ….. fill in the blank. For me it’s a vegan caramel sundae. Don’t freak just yet though! I’m not suggesting you go on a shopping spree (or am I 😯 ?). Sometimes just going on line and LOOKING is an amazing distraction/endorphin rush! If every time you craved a piece of pie you INSTEAD went online and googled Elizabeth and James TOPS (ladies) or the newest TOOL from Home Depot (guys, sorry! Got nothin’. I’m a chic. “Tools” is all I came up with), think of the calories, fat and bad sh** you’d spare yourself!
OR if you’re headed to the nearest ice-cream shop, go to Nordstroms instead and browse. OR…..to a tool store. Again, men, forgive me? The idea is to distract yourself with something REALLY awesome! What floats your boat? Make a list! Clothes? Technical gadgets? Items for your kids? What makes you REALLY happy BESIDES for food? I made a deal with myself a few months ago that if I could go one month without my favorite treat, I was going to splurge on a sweater I’d been dyeing over. I took a screen shot of the top (from Revolve Clothing of course) on my phone and EVERY TIME I was out and craving my favorite indulgence, I opened my photos to that awesome sweater! What’s cool is that a month later it was on sale – bonus ! But the visual REALLY helps me. And when I am out to lunch with friends and happen to be wearing that sweater, it is just a little more reinforcement to stay true to eating for optimal health! And…. Um …. by the way – and this is worth stating! Be sure that you get your browsing buzz on at places with great return policies! JUST IN CASE 😉
Here’s the last little thing that I find to be really helpful. (I didn’t mean for this to be so long – but I’ll definitely ALWAYS throw out new strategies in future blogs because I love this sh**!). You know how great that feeling is when GIVING? Ever go to Starbucks and the person in the window informs you that the driver in front of you just paid for your late? Well that was probably ME! What raises your endorphins MORE than giving? Is it the most incredible feeling EVER? And doing it anonymously is like, TEN TIMES the rush! The other night I brought two dozen donuts to my daughter’s play practice because it was her birthday. I guess only half of the cast was there because she came home with a dozen. My kids ran over to that box SO QUICKLY you’d think they hadn’t eaten in years! The last thing any of them needed at 8pm was a donut. I’m sure they’d done plenty of nutritional damage during the day NOT on my watch. So I got everyone in the car and told them we were going on a mission – and promised that if they still wanted the donuts AFTER our field trip, I’d buy them. We went to the local police station and gave it to THEM and thanked them for their service. You should have SEEN how happy and proud my kids were! I bet they were even more psyched than the police, who we realized later probably thought “Those jerks! They really think cops just eat donuts all day!”. Anyway, they didn’t complain or need those donuts afterwards because their little endorphins were plenty raging.
So there ya have it. Just a few of my strategies! I’d love to hear yours!!! And the shopping one, let’s just keep that between us. Shhhhhh! 🙄