Yesterday, I finished up my part of a big project at work. The last push required a lot more mental effort than I was expecting (those things left until the last minute always do!) so I was wiped out by the end of the day. I had the Cooking Light slow cooker ramen already going in the slow cooker, but even the steps to finish that seemed like more work that I was capable of that evening. I was simultaneously mentally wired and exhausted from working all day. I wanted dinner out that I wasn’t responsible for and I REALLY wanted a glass of red wine.
I called Darrell and he was on board with that plan. Then I went to fetch my kiddo and was reminded that it was pajama day at school. There aren’t a whole lot of places I could think of with a glass of red wine and a dress code that allowed a four year old in the Perry the Platypus pajamas. Sadness. Village Inn it was. At least it was Kids Eat Free night and I got refills on my Diet Coke and I wasn’t cooking dinner.
The problem is, those weren’t really the things I was craving. I was craving that glass of red wine and in trying to fill that “want” I ordered a tuna melt, which I had the calories for in my daily allowance and was enough outside my normal eating style that I thought it would fit that “special” feeling I was craving. It didn’t. It wasn’t what I really wanted. It just left me reflux-y because I’m apparently too old to eat raw onions at dinner.
We went home and did our usual evening routine. I was still feeling unsatisfied and we were out of wine, so I got myself a big bowl of fruit. I love a big bowl of fruit and it would feel good enough to fill that empty space, right? Nope.
I also ate a chocolate I didn’t need and yogurt that didn’t fill the spot until Darrell went out and bought a bottle of red wine. I had a glass of wine and finally, felt settled. I talk about this, not because I’m an alcoholic (although I can see where you might have that concern) but because sometimes in our attempts to avoid the ONE thing we’re craving, we end up eating a ton of food we don’t really want or need. If you’ve got an urge for something that isn’t going away, maybe a small amount of that thing is better than all of the OTHER things you’re trying to have instead.
It’s a slippery slope, of course, especially for those of us who binge, but I’m working on learning to trust that urge and that I can stop with a small amount if I let myself honor that urge.
How do you differentiate between a craving you should honor and one you just let slide? For me, when I find myself in this position where I’m eating lots of other things and can’t distract myself from the craving, I’m actually at risk of binging on other things (I won’t lie – me and that fruit bowl got to that mindless, shoveling it in state). I need to figure out how to honor the occasional craving. This is a never-ending learning process.
PS – My kid drew the Martian Manhunter as his Folk Hero at Village Inn and this geek mom is pretty proud!