Food Cravings

Kevin and I have embarked on another Whole30 this month. Well, it’s more of a Whole30-ish lifestyle. We like a lot of the elements of Whole30 but have stopped following a few of the rules in order to progress toward our own version of food freedom. 

We started on October 9th and are planning on continuing until we leave for our Thanksgiving trip on November 16th, so it will be slightly longer than 30 days. It’s much easier for both of us to stick to a plan rather than try and play the “moderation” game. If we eat out once, we’re 10 times more likely to eat out again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Plus, Whole30, while it may seem restrictive, is delicious.

We’ve been able to use that app I keep raving about, Mealime, to plan our meals. We just select Paleo with a Dairy-Free option and most meals are Whole30 compliant. Here are some non-compliant things we’re allowing this time around:

  • Honey (for cooking a few recipes, not eating it by the spoonful)
  • Almond flour
  • Juice and smoothies (100% juice, only one glass per day maximum)

Other than that, we’re pretty much sticking with the Whole30 rules. We do snack when necessary and eat extra meals/snacks post-workout, but I haven’t felt as restricted on this round as I did the first time. In fact, I had a pretty crazy epiphany about food cravings the other night.

I was leaving the gym and I noticed that Great Harvest Bread Company had this huge sign that said PUMPKIN BREAD! And I was like, my god pumpkin bread would be so delicious right now. And I stopped before I could torture myself with the thoughts of pumpkin bread and realized that there’s absolutely no way I would have even thought about pumpkin bread in that moment if I hadn’t seen the advertisement for it.

Side note: there’s also a Chinese restaurant right next to my gym. What are they trying to do?!

Anyway, back to my epiphany, I started thinking about this and realized that I really don’t just have food cravings out of the blue hardly ever. They are always driven by some sort of external force. Seeing an ad for something, walking into Costco and smelling the food in the deli cooking, driving by a fast food restaurant, walking through the grocery store and seeing all things I could be buying, or listening to Kevin gripe about how all he wants more than anything in the world is French fries.

Every once in awhile, I will have an actual craving for something. I will wake up and my body will just demand that it have Twizzlers, without any prompting whatsoever. But if I think back to the last time this happened, I can’t remember.

This Whole30 has been so much easier for me because I’ve started to ignore those external messages. I put away all of the unhealthy food we had. Just put it in a cupboard, out of sight, didn’t throw it away. And I haven’t even thought about the licorice or gummy bears since then. The thought of treating myself hasn’t even crossed my mind. We have about ten boxes of brownie mix in the kitchen cupboard (thanks case lot sale 2017) and I haven’t even been tempted to  break down and just make a batch of brownies and eat the whole thing.

Mainly because the food I’m eating is good. 

It’s delicious, it has great flavor, it’s filling. Sure, I’m not filled to the brim every time I eat and I’m not so full I can’t get off my couch, but I’m definitely not starving myself over here. The only time I have trouble is when I’m surrounded by all these external stimuli and I’m also starving.

Solution: don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.

Radical solution: live in a cabin in the woods with no wifi where you are untouched by external forces like the media and marketing.

Recognizing the huge effect these advertisements and food placements in the grocery store have on me has helped me tremendously in curbing these cravings. Now, it’s clearly possible that I am not the first person ever on the planet to have this epiphany. Maybe. But if this thought hasn’t crossed your mind before, I think you’ll find it truly fascinating.

Take a moment today and notice when you get a food craving. Was it driven by some sort of external stimuli or did it just surface out of the blue? Were you really thinking about chicken nuggets before you drove by the McDonald’s? If you hadn’t seen the fudge stripe cookies in the aisle at the grocery store, would you be reminiscing right now on how good they are?

Were you craving any of these foods that I have mentioned before you read this blog post?

Being able to distance ourselves from all of the stimuli we receive daily, especially on our phones, is so critical to our health and well-being (for a multitude of reasons!). How can we expect to achieve health and fitness goals when there are ads for pizza every time we open Facebook? How are we supposed to make healthy eating choices when Jimmy John’s is literally right across the street. Not only are we having to maintain willpower over our own thoughts, we’re having to deal with these thoughts that are being shoved into our brains.

I think this goes beyond food cravings as well. Starbucks, for example. Do you really want or need your Starbucks drink every day? Or is it just that Starbucks is in the perfect place on your route? You already go by it every day, why not stop? The more you go, the more points you’ll get, and the more free drinks you’ll get.

It could even go beyond food and drink to other things. I think shopping is one of the most dangerous things because online shopping is about as convenient as you can get. You don’t have to leave your home, yet you have millions of things you could buy just from your phone.

It makes you wonder who is really running our lives and controlling our decisions. How heavily are we being influenced by all of this external stimuli?

If we don’t know what we’re missing, we can’t miss out on it. How can we better block all of this external stimuli and stop it from influencing our thoughts and decisions?

Goodbye, my friends! It is time for me to retreat to my secluded cabin in the middle of the woods! I wish you all the best!

Published by Sami Hertel

Oregon native, current Utah resident, blogging about my adventures on lifeafteroregon.com!

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