I am craving chocolate today. There’s no reason for it. I just love chocolate. Yesterday, it was pizza. It’s not the sort of craving where I feel that I must eat something immediately. No, it’s more like, “I would really enjoy a pizza right now.” These sort of cravings are pretty easy to defeat: I just concentrate on something else and it goes away quickly enough. The pizza craving yesterday only lasted a few moments until I thought of something else. It used to be more difficult for me to do this, though.
In the past, when I would have one of these food cravings, I would obsess on it. I would allow my brain to get worked up about it, and I would make plans on how to acquire and then enjoy that food. The cycle was destructive, and I engaged in the cycle for so long that it was normal to me. To defeat this cycle, I had to teach myself to ignore them.
Ignoring a food craving is easier said than done. I know when I started my Whole30, the cravings I was experiencing were partly these cravings where I get an idea of a food that is delicious and then I obsessed on it until I ate that food. The other sort of craving I was experiencing was the sugar-induced craving. Those are more powerful, but fortunately, they go away after a few days of ridding your diet of sugar. The inspiration based cravings, however, persist.
If you can recognize the difference, it makes defeating the cravings easier. You also have to recognize that these cravings are not hunger. Hunger is a non-food specific feeling you get that tells you that it’s time to eat something. I get those before most of my normal meals. Cravings, on the other hand, are specific and point to a specific food. Sugar-induced cravings are hard to ignore and often, the only way I’ve been able to get past them is to eat a handful of nuts or drink a cup of coffee. Hunger is only sated by food. Whether that’s a full meal or something like an RX Bar (to hold the hunger off a little while until you can eat a proper meal), you have to feed hunger. The regular specific-food inspired craving is easy to defeat when you recognize it. Ignore it and think about something else. It seems silly and too simplistic, but with practice, you’ll find it works. It does for me.
Some days are easier than others. There are times I go for a number of days or even weeks without a single craving. Then, there’s yesterday and today. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to get past, and I’m already over it. Writing this article helped.