Cravings 101: Fight the Saboteur

Your saboteur (or as Annie Lamott aptly calls it: KFKD radio) is the one telling you that dumping the junk is a waste of time. Why bother? Who cares? Who does that quack doctor think she is?

The key to counter your saboteur is to get empowered both to recognize and to talk back. Or send your saboteur my way and I’ll handle him/her. Your saboteur has no power over me.

Here are some other techniques, from 12-Step food programs, that work for me when the saboteur is after me to just have one bite of chocolate or just a little bite of croissant or a cup of coffee while cleansing.

  • Think it through to the bitter end. (This is from 12-Step literature). Rather than indulging in the fantasy and romance of what special food/wine you’re craving and how it will taste, think through where your food trip has taken you in the past. Recall the injury. Recall the morning after – the remorse, the bloating, fatigue, hopelessness and shame. For some of us, the morning after includes struggling to zip the jeans.
  • HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Eat every 4-6 hours so that you don’t become hypoglycemic and cranky. If you’re angry or lonely, write it out or call someone to talk it through. Sleep more while cleansing – that is when all of your cells reparative work is performed.
  • Take action. What’s the opposite of eating for you? Leave the scene of previous crimes (the kitch), make a gratitude or joy list (proven to raise your energy vibration), take a bath (I take up to two per day while cleansing with generous scoops of Epsom Salt), take a walk, call a friend.

I wrote yesterday about the physiology of craving, that they tend to last 15-20 minutes, and so I recommend setting a time for 20 minutes, drinking a large glass of water and having instead a small 1oz protein snack such as nuts or seeds or fruit. In other words, set the intention to use your knowledge of physiology to combat your craving and saboteur.

I’m also fascinated by the phenomenon of craving and how it separates temperate or normal eaters from problem eaters (of which I am one – I’m a sometimes compulsive eater). Do you know some normal eaters? Are you one? I have a friend who is a normal eater. She’ll eat one small piece of cheese on bread, and stops. No message like crack goes to her brain (like cheese does in my brain – most contain morphine). Here’s how Alcoholics Anonymous lays it out, which I believe applies to food, particularly gluten, dairy and sugar (that would include chocolate) items:

  • cravings become a habit, usually to soothe restlessness, irritability, malcontent
  • one cannot break the habit and it becomes more entrenched
  • creates remorse -> bargaining -> craving -> sometimes binge cycle
  • erodes self confidence
  • we become more reliant on self will which often doesn’t work
  • problems pile up
  • finally, it becomes astonishingly difficult to solve the problem; psychic change, as Jung stated, may be the only solution

Another way to look at psychic change is to borrow a concept from the buddhists: when faced with difficulty and suffering, seek refuge in the Buddha (or Higher Power, of your own understanding in the 12-step literature). If that doesn’t work, seek refuge in the Dharma (or sacred texts, some literature which speaks to you and your suffering, offers a solution). If that doesn’t work, seek refuge in the Sangha.

We are a Sangha, our sweet group of Cleansers.

Those are just a few ideas to work with as we march closer to our first official day of smoothies twice per day. In many ways, the 7-day pre-cleanse is the hardest part of the 21-day cleanse because you are navigating 3 meals per day while dumping gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

Are you skin brushing? Drinking your hot water with lemon and cayenne? Taking your detox packets twice/day? Stocking up on seasonal vegetables? Stepping away from the microwave?

Keep up the awesome work, and share with me in the Comments section what’s working well, what’s hard, what’s neutral, what’s charged.