Don’t be a Food Puppet – Food Cravings Part 2
Everyone gets food cravings. Some more than others and no one really knows why. The reasons may be physiological or psychological. But until they invent the little blue anti-craving pill that gets rid of food craving without causing any other harm, you can let the craving pull the strings or you can assert your authority.
There are lots of food tips out there to control food cravings – my all time favorite was one that was supposed to address the craving for crunchy, salty snacks. This was during my Potato Chip phase. I read somewhere that that particular desire was driven by the need for crunch. So all I had to do was to replace those salty, crunchy, chippy things with something that satisfied the crunch – like celery or carrots.
I was skeptical but I tried it. I’ve always been one to initially concede authority to someone who’s done more work on a particular issue than I have. But right away I could see a flaw in the theory: without a doubt carrots were absolutely out. When the mouth wants salt, giving it sweet – like unknowingly biting into a handful of warm buttery Kettle Korn – causes a momentary break between the autobiographical memory chip in your brain and the perception of reality you’ve been used to up to that point in your life. It’s like seeing turquoise rain.
So that left celery. I thought I would be smart about it and adapt the solution by appeasing the other part of the craving. So I sprinkled it with salt. I’m not saying it wasn’t a nice enough snack. But all in all the experiment was a failure. The watery, salty crunch of celery does not begin to approximate the salty, crunch of oily potato chips. It didn’t stop the desire for chips and I never developed the craving for celery.
So here’s a tip for real people. This addresses the possible psychological drive to a particular snack. What do we want? Think about it. From the time we’re pre-teens on the playground starting to notice the opposite sex, or the fact that our older brother gets to stay out till midnight or that the two comfy chairs in the living room are reserved for mom and dad, isn’t there always an allure to what we cannot have? Whether it’s a fact of life or a rule we’ve imposed on ourselves.
So, Tip #1 for real people says: Take the mystique out of the snack. Give in sometimes. If you’re compulsive, plan it into your day – that way you can shelve the craving till you get home at 4:00. You can plan how much you’ll have and perform whatever ritual will honor the fulfillment of a human need. Sit in the chair that’s reserved for you, lower the lights, focus on the food and enjoy something you enjoy. If you can have it occasionally, it might dispel some of the desire.