" For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. " Song of Solomon

December 10, 2007

Dealing With Cravings and Holiday Helpings

Most of us will be tempted to treat ourselves during the holidays. But why do we call them "treats"? I looked up the definition of "treat", the noun, and found the following synonyms: goody, pleasure, tidbit, joy, satisfaction, surprise, sweet, thrill, entertainment, and party .

It got me to thinking...the treat, or the goody becomes a "baddie", the pleasure becomes "pain", the tidbit which is defined as a "choice or delicate morsel" becomes a whole lotta junk or chain eating, the joy becomes sorrow, the satisfaction becomes discontent, the surprise is not a pleasant one, the sweet becomes bitter, the thrill becomes a disappointment, the entertainment is "dear" as in costly and the party becomes a "pity party" in the end.

Perhaps when we are tempted to indulge, to treat ourselves, we might be less inclined if we renamed our treats and considered the reality of eating them...not so much of a treat, eh? I've got to quit treating myself...it's killing me!

On to a few strategies that have been working for me....
  1. I allow myself to eat and enjoy all of my alloted food/calories. I don't save any, thinking I will hasten my weight loss. This is counterproductive in the long term. EAT!
  2. Realizing that some days I will be hungrier than other days, I shoot for keeping within my allotment on average....for example....if I'm very hungry today, more so than normal, I may eat 1800 calories, whereas perhaps the next day I will be satisfied with less food and eat only 1200 calories. This actually happens to me! There seems to be a cyclical pattern. Adding the 1800 and 1200 calories, the average daily intake is 1500 calories, well within my 1600 per day allotment. (How did I come up with the 1600 calories per day? It's the amount of calories it would take for me to maintain my desired weight.)
  3. Finally, when I'm having one of my hungrier days, or when I find I'm craving a food that may get out of hand should I eat it, I tells myself "you may have it, eat it without guilt and enjoy it!" but lets eat it "later". Most of the time this works like a charm. Knowing that I can have it without guilt or recrimination somehow lessens my desire to have it...it ceases to be a forbidden "treat". Very often, I find that "later" I don't even want it. Problem averted.
I do find that nourishing my body with healthy food goes a long way in "feeding" me and I'm less tempted by treats. I usually feel fuller when I eat a nice portion of protein, fat and complex carbs at my meals. I find that hot liquids like soup or a mug of hot green tea are very filling. So my lunch sandwich might also include a nice cup of low calorie soup...Amy's vegetarian vegetable soup is a good choice.

Should I decide to eat a candy bar, it's the regular size, not the mini, and I have a hot drink with it. Chocolate protein bars work very nicely when your sweet tooth is relentless...the chocolate satisfies it, and the protein seems to rein it in or quench it. Raw fruits and veg go a long way also, in filling you and nourishing you. Eat a pear and an apple, have some carrot sticks or raw carrot salad or a big salad during the day. (This is along the lines of the Volumetrics diet...and it works...lots of "filling" for not a lot of calories.)

And most importantly, if you have a 2000 calorie day, and I have them periodically, don't even think, don't even say "I blew it". Because you didn't. It is one day.

If you allow yourself to think that one day of chain eating or bingeing or allowing yourself extra food because you were more than normally hungry is "failure", you will spiral down into the abyss that will suck you in and pull you under and it could mean weeks, months or even years of setback.

One day does not result in huge weight gain. One day does not a failure make.

"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."


I am not a doctor and all information, suggestions, etc are my personal opinion only.