Always Want What I Can’t (Shouldn’t) Have

Here’s a scene from last Sunday that I finally got around to writing about.

After I watch all of the Married to Medicine reruns (I hate that show why do I watch it?), I realize at a commercial break that I’m hungry. I think for a nanosecond about it, and yes, I actually feel hungry. So I go downstairs and stare grumpily (ragefully!!) at my refrigerator, mad at the pineapple slices and mad at the celery for being there instead of ice-cream. I then stomp to my pantry and oh hooray, I can eat raisins. I roll my eyes super dramatically for all to see and despair alongside me at my plight. I am not in the mood for any of those things and do not want to eat them.

I strongly debate walking to the CVS a block and a half away from my house to buy a big jar of Nutella and Bagel Bites. Because yes, I am in the mood for those again.

Spoiler: I don’t go to CVS, and eat the raisins with a side of pineapple slices, which are fine but I keep thinking about how I should have gone to CVS because that Nutella and the tray of Bagel Bites sound SO good and would be SOO good. Additionally, walking to CVS would have been exercise!! So I have to keep reminding myself that I made the healthy choice, blah blah. But still.

The thing is, I LIKE all of the healthy food I keep purchasing. I eat it and enjoy it. But……..thoughts that I’d enjoy the chewy chips-ahoy cookies so much more creep in. And oh yes, it’s another post about how hard this is. Yippee. This one has an extra dose of whiny.

My whole ideal plan on Operation: Healthy (unofficial name) was to never deprive myself of anything. It was to rework my eating habits (aka stop overeating), learn more about nutrition and attempt to follow somewhat the 80% healthy-20% unhealthy food plan.

I knew healthy eating and figuring out what is actually healthy and what I actually like that is actually healthy would be hard. It was the transition I overlooked.  I didn’t really think too much about how I was trying to change 20+ years of horriblehorriblehorrible eating habits. I thought that I’d skip merrily away from my kitchen, delighted to be eating almonds and carrots, and wouldn’t give the cookies and brownie bites I used to eat almost everyday a second thought.

While I enjoy almonds and carrots, I haven’t grown yet to love them anywhere near as much as I do my unhealthy snacks. They’re nowhere near as delicious as poptarts, and that’s what I constantly find myself thinking about everytime I go to snack.  If only I could cook or didn’t haaate baking with every fiber in my being, eh?

when i see a cookie i cant forget

I’m beginning to realize also that somewhere in this big mess of “waaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i don’t know anything” is that my meals are probably not filling enough and that they are lacking somewhere in something, so that that might be why it seems I’m ALWAYS hungry, thus eating? I go to unhealthy foods because I know I love it a lot and will gladly scarf it down until I’m too full.  I just restarted using My Fitness Pal this week and it seems I’m either coming in at like 1,100  calories or I’m way over.

But, DUH. Of course cookies and unhealthy food taste better. But they aren’t actually better. I obviously need to try harder to stop thinking about – and stop even thinking about giving in to – “bad” food cravings.

I know I need to work at it, but what I wonder is how long does it take? I yearn for the days when I sit at my desk and think oh my gosh I’d kill for some avocados. Because right now I sit at my desk and crave a big plate of nachos or ice cream. Or the days when I can have two of the cookies my roommate brought home, enjoy them, but quickly forget about them and eat (and enjoy!) carrots instead. I guess I should  focus on the positives and think more about how much I do actually like the healthy food, instead of eating it while wishing I could eat allllllllll the snickerdoodles. And I guess just give it time? My least favorite answer ever.

I’m not planning on forgoing desserts and sweet treats forever and understand it’s all balancing act, good things in moderation, it’s natural to crave my unhealthy faves from time to time , but geez. When does eating healthy become second nature? Any tips?

lord is testing me


18 thoughts on “Always Want What I Can’t (Shouldn’t) Have

  1. There is a time and a place for the unhealthy foods. I firmly believe that. However, like you, I struggle with eating them in moderation. I can’t just have one cookie. I’m an all or nothing kind of person so I’ll eat until I feel sick. Getting enough calories in from real food is tough. I’ve found that I’m only able to get close to a reasonable calorie amount is if I eat some of the junk foods too. The fact is, a lot of healthy foods don’t have as many calories and let’s face it- I’m not going to eat 15 pounds of carrots to add up to the right amount of calories I need in a day. I’ve found that it takes 3-4 days to set myself on a pretty good track for foods. After that, it becomes routine. After spending a month in Denmark last year with no access to processed food, I came home and didn’t eat it for weeks. The thought of crackers made me sick. There’s always room for some ice cream in my day though 🙂

  2. I think you’ve got to set goals and work out what is really important to you about why it is you want to eat healthy. I think preparation is key to eating healthy and having lots of healthy meals pre-prepared definitely helps. I’ve found chewing a piece of mint gum when I’m having a craving can help as I get to chew on something without actually eating.

    The whole outta sight outta mind thing works well which is don’t keep tempting food out in places you can see it, if you can hide it you will be less likely to think of it. Also you’ve got to make the healthy food that you are eating tasty. Some of the healthy food I have is so darn good I don’t miss the unhealthy stuff. I love my peanut flour mixed with low fat yoghurt but it tastes a bit naughty as it tastes like peanut butter but with a 1/5 of the calories. I love my banana soft serve ice cream – ice cream made just from frozen bananas. As well trying out new recipes and snacks helps with boredom and gives you new ideas. Hope that helps 🙂

  3. The main thing you need to remember is that it’s a process! I think we can easily get really hard on ourselves for not being exactly how we think we should be, as quickly as we expect to be. We set ourselves up for feeling like we are personally failing ourselves and then get into the mindset “oh why even bother?” if I can’t do it perfectly?! Be patient with yourself and view the steps you have been taking as a big feat! Congrats on what you’ve done so far, and remember to be patient!!

  4. I just stumbled across your blog and love it! Congrats on setting goals for yourself. Regarding breaking the unhealthy foods addiction…You need to google each of the ingredients (especially the ones you don’t recognize) and become traumatized! Seriously, that stuff is crap and you shouldn’t put it in your body. I teach anatomy and nutrition and once my students learn the crap they quit eating it immediately. Also, think about the empty calories you are consuming. Are 30 chips worth a sweat session on the treadmill?

  5. This post says what I’ve felt about eating healthy. I did well at it for a while, I was okay at it but I still missed “good food”. And now I’ve fallen off the wagon and need to figure out how to get back on it, because yes, it’s good but it’s empty calories and I feel still so hungry after eating it. Blah. Just try to keep at it and hopefully it’ll get back?

  6. Way to go on not giving into those cravings! I do however think that it’s okay sometimes. I like to eat healthy 80% of the time and then what I want 20% of the time so I don’t feel like I ‘cant’ have this or that. On the other hand, when I’m trying to lose weight and not just maintain I do make it a bit more strict.
    I like what you said, ‘it’s all a balancing act’ so true! You’ll find your groove and the food you really enjoy, keep it up!

  7. Oh my beautiful friend, you are not alone in these struggles. My advice for you is to keep telling yourself (eye roll and everything) that it takes a lot more time than you think. It’s a lifestyle change that you’re making, and one you want to stick. Hard work and dedication are the only way to get there. It took me 2 years to get where I am today and while I definitely crave ice cream and cookie butter (FTW) more than I would like, I accept that I eat mostly healthy with the occasional sweet treat. Don’t get me wrong, either, if I’m at Mexican, you better believe I’ll need a double order of chips and salsa (why else were these restaurants invented, other than to provide Americans with tons of cheesy, salsa-y, carby goodness?). Point being, you’re getting there and you’re getting there smartly. I claim to be at that 80/20 mark but I still get mad at my fridge when all I have is healthy stuff in there and I am desperately seeking something sinful. That’s why I keep peanut butter and cookie butter on stock at all times. Those are my go too sinful things, aside from eating out (I show no self control when I’m out!). Anyway, everything you’re doing now may seem harder than you want, but you’re training your body what to crave and that’s going to take a long time. You’d rather make this transition effective for the long term than anything else, so I think that in spite of your frustrations, you’re actually right on the course. 🙂 Go girl. So, also, want to add, haha, I never sit at my desk and crave an avocado. HA that had me laughing. Silly lady,..

  8. Everyone has their own tips and tricks for how to keep cravings at bay. You made a great choice by not walking to cvs, CONGRATULATIONS!!! These small victories will all add up into success. You mentioned in your post craving nachos, and I just want to remind you that there are a lot of different versions of “healthy” nachos. You could bake some kale and add nacho style toppings, or you could use a decent chip or cracker (with good ingredients) or you could chop up a sweet potato and load it up with toppings. Find a way to satisfy that craving, while keeping it healthy. You can do it!!

  9. I feel your pain on this! I’m a big fan of the 90/10 (ok, who am I kidding, 80/20) rule, because I find that when I deny my cravings entirely, I get srsly ragey. In some cases, I try to find a reasonable substitute for whatever I consistently crave. (Case in point: I loooove ice cream, but nonfat frozen Greek yogurt has been gettin’ the job done quite nicely for a while.) Or, alternatively, I’ll have a bunch of healthy food before indulging — that way my hunger is sated, and I’m focused on enjoying what I’m eating purely for its tasty deliciousness. 🙂

  10. one thing i might suggest is trying to figure out if you’re missing any certain food groups – that may be giving way to these cravings. for example if you’ve been trying to cut out carbs, maybe that explains your nacho craving. but instead of eating nachos, you can always go for some whole grain crackers with laughing cow cheese. i know it’s not nachos, but i find that whenever i am craving heavier foods it’s because i haven’t been eating enough carbs, specifically grains (because i get plenty of simple carbs from fruits). or maybe you’re craving fatty foods if you haven’t been eating enough fats, in which case try adding some flavorful (like goat) cheese to your meal, or some nut butter.
    it’s really important to give yourself credit too – you seem to be kicking yourself for even wanting to go to CVS in the first place, and then not giving yourself any credit for not going. that’s certainly not going to encourage you to keep up your good habits! try standing in front of the mirror (this sounds lame but it helps me) and congratulating yourself. say “good job, i didn’t go to CVS, and i easily could’ve. go me.” motivation – even if it comes from yourself – is a huge help to keeping at it. and the longer you keep at it, the easier it’ll get, i promise.
    but also…everyone is human. everyone wants cupcakes sometimes. wanting them doesn’t make you bad, it makes you normal!

  11. I have a similar problem. I will eat healthy meals but then crave packaged “fattening” snacks. So I quit keeping them in the house, and it worked.. for 5 seconds. Then I started eating tons of “healthy” snacks trying to curb my cravings and probably consuming more calories than if I’d eaten that bad thing in the first place.

    Soooo I try to eat the bad stuff in moderation and it feel like it’s going better.. but I’m not losing weight either so maybe it’s NOT working so well. :/

  12. Moderation is so hard, and I totally speak from experience. I think it takes a while to fully get it out of your system but when you do it hopefully will make that choice easier, or at least I hope. I am starting whole 30 on may 31st and I already am scared. I love sugar, like a lot.

  13. You will never forget about the brownies and cookies and ice cream. Those cravings are always there. I know what works for me, is food prep. I hate baking as well, but I have found that cutting up all the veggies, making a big bowl of chicken salad, some no-bake bites (with M&Ms!), and some other things to keep in the fridge, make it a little easier and not as boring to stay on track. I am also all about the cheating. A cooking for desert, or some plated scoops of ice cream won’t ruin you.

  14. It is definitely safe to say you are not alone in this battle, trust me. I think I grew to like healthy food by focusing on how good I feel after I eat it but I definitley wasn’t eating enough protein, so I focus on incorporating a protein into each meal too. I love how I feel after eating a dinner that includes a protein such as chicken, a baked sweet potato, and broccoli, or something like a Beef dish, quinoa, and summer squash casserole. I try to focus on those good feelings. You feel good after eating healthy, you just have to make sure you like what you’re eating! Chicken doesn’t have to be plain, spice it up with different marinades, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on your veggies, etc. It’s all about moderation. I can’t end my day without chocolate, so I buy Dove chocolates, each one is individually wrapped, so it’s great portion control. Keep sticking with it girl, you’re doing great!

  15. Speaking from a lot of years of weight maintenance – I have to tell you that those cravings are still there, but in a lesser degree. I still have lots of times where I think, “I sure would like Breyer’s ice cream.” But I resist because I would rather stay at a healthy weight. You know?

    Now, as far as craving avocados or carrots? I’m still waiting for that one! 🙂

  16. Pingback: Letting Myself Talk and Making Myself Listen | city & the cubicle

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