Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dealing With...

Dealing With... cravings and lifestyle changes header

Cravings. We all get them, but they seem to get especially bad when you make a healthy change in your life, at least for me they do. Three weeks ago I started a meatless diet, and 2 months ago Mr. Custom Taste and myself became clean eaters. Becoming clean eaters was not that hard a transition since it was already a dominate part of our lives and there were easy subs for stuff we got rid of. At times though we would cave and get chocolate covered bacon (I know!) or a fast food taco or burger, we aren't perfect after all. The main reason we would do that is because we were still learning about clean eating and what would work best for us, so we either never had a enough of the right food for a meal or   we would slack on making it, would wait too long to decide on what to cook and eventually just go grab something quick. Those days are far and few between now, of course we still go out to eat but we opt for healthy options and plan our nights out in advance rather than just going on a whim.

Going meatless, for me, has proved to be a little trickier. I don't crave chicken or beef (I never have really liked the stuff to begin with), I crave pork and sour gummy worms. I love pork, and I am not talking about bacon I am talking about pulled pork, the only pork recipes I have posted about have been pork shoulder or butts after all. I think it might have something to do with how close pork flesh and human flesh are on the genetic scale. Anyway, that has been one of my hardest cravings so far. My second craving is not technically a meat but it is still a craving and it did not start until I went meatless also I don't think it is clean either. Sour Gummy Worms. You read right, not bears, not kids, but worms.

Now, you might be wondering, aside from how odd my cravings are, do I cave? ABSO-FREAKING-LUTELY!! I am a huge advocate for giving into cravings (Mr. Custom Taste can verify this) however, be smart about them. I go through a 3-step process before actually deciding that what I am feeling is a real craving and not boredom or laziness.

Step 1:
Is it really a craving or am I just bored? When I get my first smidgen of a craving, I do not jump on the crave train and ride it into "guilty the next day station". I let it sort itself out, if it can. If the next day, or a few hours later, the craving is still there I decide to go ahead and buy my train ticket. I don't buy it to "guilty the next day station though", I search for the best option fit for me.
Step 2:
What is the best option? The best option I try to choose is still a healthy option. With my craving for pork as an example, I don't do the bacon thing and I don't want something smothered in sugary BBQ sauce (the thought is actually kind of revolting to me). I also try to see what I can pair it with to keep it healthy but still satisfy my craving.
Step 3:
Will I be able to enjoy it? Make sure you can enjoy it. If you feel that you cannot, do not cave. This will lead you to "guilty the next day station" and that place is no fun and you can get stuck there for days on end. That place can also cause you to derail your entire transition and starting completely over is never any fun.

Why I believe craving caves are A okay.
A craving, for me at least, is your body saying "HEY! BRAIN! Wanna treat ourselves? I could really go for some pork right now. Remember how we use to eat that, can we do it again?". Essentially it is your body detoxing off of something. Also, if you give into small cravings there is a far less chance you will gorge yourself later on as well as the cravings will go away faster.

If you have ever made a transition in your life, you know there are those people who just want to see you fail so whenever you have a hiccup they are the first to call you out on it and make you feel like dirt. Do not let them! It is your life. Simply explain you are going through a transition right now and sometimes you will falter and that is okay, so instead of them being rude let them know you need their support and if they cannot offer that then they can politely see themselves out. Who has time for people like that anyway?

Get a friend, significant other, family member, etc. to hold you accountable, gently.
Life transitions are a lot easier when done with friends and/or family and I am sure there is some fancy saying for it floating around. It is true though! If you feel bad about having to tell someone or write something down, you'll remember this feeling next time a craving occurs and you'll be able to deal with step 3 quickly and efficiently. Also, these people will be your support system. They can listen to the hardships, milestones that you reach, help you when you get down and pretty much everything that comes with a lifestyle transition.
Nothing is fun when it feels like a job. Make it a habit. To make something a habit it only takes 21 days. So spend the first 21 days of your new lifestyle focused on what is going on and what you are trying to accomplish. After the first 21 days it is smooth sailing. Saying 21 days might seem like a long time, but guess what!? It is only 3 full weeks, less than one month! Not so hard once you think about it, huh?

Enjoy the change and watch what new things you and your body become capable of.
Rewards are the best thing when you are starting something new, it means it is working and you are more inclined to keep it up. Do you have more energy throughout the day? Is you skin clearing up? Are those skinny jeans not so skinny anymore? Pay attention to the small things and not the big picture. The Mona Lisa started with a single brush stroke, not magic. On the flipside don't obsess over the small things. Trying to lose weight? Don't obsess over the fact that you lost/gained .2 lb, that is silly and may cause you stress that you right a craving train into guilty the next day station. Keep a diary of some sort as you change, that way on bad days you can go back, read it and not let the bad days get you down. Write down what works, what doesn't and what you would like to try again. Always remember, you are beautiful inside and out and that you are doing it for you, and no one else!


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