Being aware of my hungers and cravings, or should I say, getting to recognize and pay attention to them, has been an eye-opening experience. A few of the things I’m getting in touch with

  • I eat when I’m bored
  • I crave sweets at odd times, but often late at night
  • The longer I stay up at night, the more opportunities I have to snack, and late-night snacks are always a bad idea
  • Calories are calories, but it’s harder to over eat on veggies and lean meats
  • By being a bit more conscious about having healthy snacks around can save me a lot of hassle

I’m listening to my own feelings around food and hunger. Sometimes when I have a craving (“I’d love some popcorn.”) I’m really just bored, and the snack is more of a form of entertainment. I don’t need to eat for fun any more. There are a lot better choices I can make for entertainment.

And on that late night snacking, there are a couple options.

  • Just say no (When my resolution is high, this is easy.)
  • Going to bed earlier (My body likes it, and I wake up earlier.)
  • Having a piece of fruit
  • Drinking a glass of water
  • Recognizing they “why” so I can address the need rather than the craving

This weekend I had a number of cravings and I don’t think I allowed any of them to talk me into a snack. I’ve been using almonds and honeycrisp apples as my go-to snacks. I know I need to add some variety, because I’m craving other things, and when my go-tos are not appetizing, I’m more at risk.

And just like emotional baggage, I’m ready to leave a good bit of it behind.

It’s all a kind of game. Like the board game Sorry. Either you are moving ahead towards the goal, or you’ve been slapped back a few spaces. And if I can get in the competitive spirit, even with myself alone, I can challenge myself to ignore the 1am sweet attack.

I had a bit of catsup on a french fry during the week, but I stopped after three bites. I knew there was sugar in it, I gave in for a few bites and then my resolve kicked back in. “This stuff is not that good. I’m just eating it out of habit.” And I stopped.

The drinking of water only has been easy. (Of course I love my coffee with a bit of 1% milk in the morning. But I really only dive after sugar and sweets occasionally, so the whole dropping sugar thing has been relatively easy.

My kids are hilarious. They cannot imagine why I’d declare October as my sugar-free month. “It’s simple,” I told them tonight as they were picking at a bag of early Halloween candy. “When I make a decision, that entire bag of candy is off-limits. It’s not even an option.”

I did have one Laughy Taffy on Saturday night, just because I’d been so good. It was okay, but not as tasty as I had imagined it would be. And I didn’t crave anything else. Again, my path is not just denial. I am okay with making a choice to eat something off the plan, and then jump right back on the plan.

I’m okay with me now, but I’d like to be on the lighter-side of my 50’s.

In my emotional body I know that overeating and eating crap has led me to my current weight. And since I was that swimmer in high school, I’ve rarely had any periods in my life when I was happy with my body. I’d like to get back to just being “okay” with me.

I’m okay with me now, but I’d like to be on the lighter-side of my 50’s. And I’d like a relationship with someone who is also in relatively good shape. I’m active and playing a lot of tennis, but I’m doing it carrying a lot of extra baggage. And just like emotional baggage, I’m ready to leave a good bit of it behind.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

Note: At this moment, it’s 7:40 on Monday night. I didn’t eat a very big meal. I’m hungry again. All I’ve got it my apples and almonds. (frown) I’d love to hear some other folk’s healthy snack ideas. And what do you use to kill a craving (salt or sugar)? And that bag of Halloween candy is starting to call to me.

image: my weekend scruffy tennis joy, john mcelhenney, cc 2014

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