On Sunday I posted the Tale of the Cheese Popcorn as my first craving story I want to share. In short, that started with a craving and an ill-advised grocery store trip that ended up with cheese popcorn in my cart. It was not a planned indulgence of a craving but I still managed to get control over it. Those are one type of craving – you see something and suddenly you’ve bought it and brought it home. Then you have to figure out what to do with it. Or maybe it is saying yes to the “Do you want a bakery item for 99 cents?” question at Panera. In a moment of weakness you are confronted with a craving and then need to decide how to do damage control.
There is another type of craving though. This is the kind that lingers but you are strong enough to avoid until you can really satisfy it properly. Instead of having a moment of weakness you go into a situation planning to indulge in your craving from the beginning. And so I bring you The Tale of the French Fries
The Tale of the French Fries.
Here is the thing about French Fries. I love them, but 99% of the time I am disappointed by them. When you get the perfect batch of fries there is almost nothing better, but that perfect fry is allusive. It doesn’t matter if it is McDonald’s or some hoity-toity restaurant, I will judge you by how well you can make fries. The perfect McDonald’s fry – hot, crispy and salty is great, but most of the time they just fail to live up to expectations. So when I started craving fries I knew that I was going to have to do some work to meet the craving in such a way that didn’t make it worse.
You see, sometimes if I give into a craving and it doesn’t satisfy me I keep searching for the solution that will satisfy me. So when I am craving fries I don’t want to give in to the craving 4-5 times in order to find the particular fry that satisfies. Which is one of the reasons that this particular french fry craving I had for nearly a month before I chose to eat some french fries.
Last week I ended up having an impromptu lunch with Erica at a restaurant called Yum! – They have excellent food and I happen to know they have amazing fries. The kind served in a newspaper cone with aioli dipping sauces. I also knew that eating a whole order of these fries would completely trash my day. So there was only one option – split the fries with my friend.
I think that sharing food can be the best way to deal with cravings ever. First of all you won’t eat the whole thing that way. Portions are way out of control when eating out, whether it is fries, desserts or appetizers. Sharing allows you the taste of things that you are craving without the temptation to eat them all. Secondly, you are not eating alone! I don’t know about you but eating alone can turn into a binge very easily, especially when it is something that you are choosing to indulge in. If I was alone at Yum! I wouldn’t have ordered fries because I knew I would eat them all.
Instead, we split the fries and I relished each one. I used the dipping sauces because that was part of the experience too. And we chatted and had a great lunch together. It is always good to have someone to chat and share with and since Erica is working on weight loss as well (100+ lbs lost – GO ERICA) then I know that we were both indulging responsibly.
Best of all is that I haven’t craved fries, or even deep fried food since. It took care of my craving and I could move on. So I tracked my fries, and my grilled mahi fish tacos and went back to work satisfied. That is the biggest thing to cravings – how can you eat it successfully (not going over calories or points) and in such a way that satisfies you. If I had given in and had drive thru fries earlier I would NOT have satisfied my craving. Instead it took a place that really had great fries to satisfy me.
Consider a craving you have right now? What would it take to indulge responsibly and to satisfy you completely? If you can do those things then why not indulge. We need to learn to not let food control us, but that also means that we need to learn to listen to our bodies and make good choices about foods that we love. I don’t think it is bad to love french fries, but it would be bad to eat them everyday. So I am trying to learn how to indulge cravings well. As always it is a work in progress, just as I am a work in progress.