Sunday, January 25, 2015

When You Think About Something and Then You Want It

Sometimes my stomach and uterus like to gang up on my brain. The conversation usually goes something like the below.


Brain: Ok, dinner is over, I’m out of calories for the day, I had a smaller dinner after a big and caloric lunch and I’m satisfied. Lalalalala, weight loss is easy, just need balance.  
Stomach: I’m doing okay.  
Brain: Lalalala, everything is awesome. 
Stomach: *off-key* Everything is cool when you’re part of a team! 
Brain: Oh yeah, Chinese food exists.
Stomach: I demand Chinese food! Bring me dumplings! 

Uterus: *Sobs Uncontrollably.* Yes! I need you to eat! What if we get pregnant, you need weight on you! 
Brain: Hey, Uterus, it’s been a few weeks since we’ve heard from you. Soooo, um, listen, Uterus, you’re okay. Did you get a new haircut? Nice suggestion, but I already have an extra forty pounds of fat on me, so we’re pretty much set in the evolution/starvation/apocalypse arena.  
Uterus: *Uses ovary to flip off brain* No, we need more! Chinese food is so delicious, it’s all that will make me happy. 
Stomach: Holy crap, literally all I want is Chinese food now. That is the only thing in the world that matters. Hey, Brain, it’s as easy as ordering it online. Order some. Chinese food is all that matters now. All we are is Chinese food.  
Brain: Whoa, okay, I really want Chinese food. Yes, Chinese food is all that matters.

And it’s hard to resist, whether it’s because it’s that time of the month, a really stressful day, or just one of those things. 

I must take full responsibility for my eating decisions, but sometimes, it’s just feels so much harder to make good ones. I’ve given into this, sometimes after a great calorie day where I said no to the donuts at work. I’ve never once been happy about my decision, mostly because I know so well that there’s room for pizzas and chocolate chip cookies in a healthy eating plan. Just not every day, and probably not the entire pizza.

So, what do you do? What do you do when all you want is a melty chocolate chip cookie, or a whole pizza, but you don’t have a thousand calories to spare that would still let you lose some weight that week? And you want to lose weight? When you feel so conflicted, even though you feel silly for feeling so conflicted?

The only thing that’s actually helped, at least for me, is to explicitly articulate exactly what I want and how much I want it. Admit it, out loud. “I really, really want some dumplings and moo shu chicken. I have the ordering tab open, and I really want it. I feel like I actually need it.”

This happened just a few days ago. John listened to me explain to him, for several minutes, just how much I wanted to order Chinese food. 
He then said, patiently but matter-of-factly, “Listen, if I thought that ordering the food would help you, I’d tell you to go for it. But I know it won’t make you happy. We’ve ordered this in before, and each time you’ve ended up eating much more than you wanted, and have been disappointed and regretted it.”

I knew he was right, but I still wanted it. But I waited a bit, and of course, that urge to eat faded, and then went away. And I was so glad I hadn’t indulged in a thousand or more calories of food I didn’t need.

I’m trying to remember the very point of the title of my blog - that when it comes to the delicious things I want to eat, it’s goodnight, not goodbye. Not having the Chinese food that night doesn’t mean I’ll never have it again, it just means that on that particular night, Chinese food wasn’t in the plan. If I really want to have some, I’ll work it into my day in a reasonable way. I can even plan around the really good deep-fried stuff.

This over-dramatization brought to you by Teenage Girl, Inc, and Reader’s Digest.

Have you had the overwhelming urge to eat something? 
What did you do about it?


  1. Hi Leah! New to your blog. I read Wheat Belly, and then The End of Overeating, and learned that sugar and grains cause actual brain chemistry changes that trigger cravings and are also appetite stimulants. You cut out sugar and grains, and those cravings DO go away. Except during times of stress, when you have to re-train yourself to avoid the old bad habits from sugar and grains. Thousands upon thousands are doing the same thing, with the same great results. It's not lack of will power. It's fighting chemical changes from what you eat. Once you stop eating them, and are persistent about breaking bad habit knee-jerk reactions to stress, it all goes away. I promise. Anyhow, you might want to check out those books to learn the whys and hows. :) Good luck, except luck has nothing to do with it! :)

    1. Hi Gwen,
      Thanks for stopping by, and for the book recommendations! I've heard good things about Wheat Belly especially. When did you start to make these changes? What did you mean by re-training yourself?

      As for me, my biggest rule of losing weight is to not do anything to lose weight that I'm not willing to do forever to maintain that loss. And I think, for me at least, that cutting out food groups is one of them. I don't doubt that cutting out sugar and grains can be the best way of losing weight or just generally getting healthy for some people, but ultimately I don't think it is for me personally. I'd honestly rather work toward moderation, even if in some ways it's harder.

      I hope you keep reading and commenting, because I like to hear from people from all different sides. And I definitely agree that luck has little to do with weight loss.

    2. Scratch my questions, I've been checking out your blog. Your story is amazing!

  2. Funny how we don't crave cauliflower! When those voices start nagging me, I think: "It's a Trap!!" When junk food calls, I know it's just me (or those crazy lady hormones) wanting something else, to cope, for comfort, relive a food-related memory/emotion... or just not wanting to cook myself a meal because ordering by phone or online is so much easier. I usually chew some gum, drink a glass of water and figure out what is really behind the craving.

    Ordering Chinese Food was a favourite activity and bad habit for me. Almost every Friday if I wasn't going out to eat with friends, I ordered it in. Now, if I really truly do want an eggroll, I go out to a restaurant and have one.

    Hope you figure out what is behind your cravings!

    1. Yes, I love this - figure out what's going on behind the craving so that you can figure out what would really make you happy.

      Funny you mention egg rolls, I actually just made a whole bunch of baked egg rolls on Sunday, using ground turkey and cabbage. They were SO good and just 75 calories each.