By Matt Stone
Yes! Here I am, taking a break from the joys of vacation such as filling out police reports for my car getting broken into and rubbing Calamine lotion all over my Poison Ivy rash-covered body to bring you another homerun. Nah, grand slam. I love it when you call me Big Papi. I don’t mind really. All the National Parks that we drove 5,000 miles round trip to see are closed anyway. Today, we talk food cravings…
I used to suffer from tremendous food cravings. I thought of myself as being a “sugar addict” in fact, and first went to war against my “sugar addiction” by strictly forbidding myself to eat ice cream (which, interestingly, isn’t that high in sugar typically 55% fat and 38% sugar as you can read in this old post). And, thankfully, I found Dr. Mercola and learned the great secret of EFT for sugar cravings. I just tap away at my head and wham, that “sugar” craving leaves me and is swiftly replaced by a strong desire for grassfed beef liver and interval training.
No, trying to will myself not to eat sugar or throw my cravings under the rug never worked. In fact, they just made the cravings stronger. Worse, my relationship with myself really suffered. Nothing is more defeating than repeatedly failing at something and having no one to blame for that failure other than yourself.
Today, I crave nothing. Ever. And it took no psychological trick, potion, gadget, or anything silly to overcome my “weaknesses.” Turns out my body wasn’t weak after all. Just hungry.
You know, hungry. Underfed. Starving. Undernourished. Depleted.
Imagine that! Having cravings for calorie-dense foods that can be absorbed quickly is caused by the body being in a state where it needs calorie-dense, quickly-absorbed foods!
And cravings can also of course be caused by stress and various forms of emotional malaise, which cause a secretion of harmful emergency hormones that are stifled by calorie-dense, quickly-absorbed foods. Yet again, the body NEEDS these foods, which is why you develop a craving for them. It’s no different from craving a hot bath when you are cold, ice cold lemonade when you are sweaty and dehydrated on a summer day, sex when your balls are overflowing with sperm, or air when you’ve overexerted yourself in a quick flurry of activity. It’s that simple. At least it is that simple in the vast majority of people I encounter with the vast majority of commonly-craved foods.
If you suffer from tremendous cravings, you can probably eliminate these cravings completely and permanently in a matter of a few weeks or months. Sometimes much less. Follow these simple steps:
- Eat what you want to eat instead of what you think you should eat, and do so unapologetically and without guilt. Not just for today, but for days, weeks, and months on end as consistently as possible.
- Eat as much food as you desire, maybe even a little extra at first if you’ve been trying to eat as little as you could stand for years.
- Eat regular meals at regular times without skipping. If you never get ravenously hungry, you’ll never develop a strong craving for anything.
- Satisfy all cravings when they arise 110%. So what if you eat 168 Oreo cookies in a week? You won’t eat that many the second week and may not touch one for two years after the second week.
- Sleep more. Undersleeping puts the body into a chronically-stressed state of being and can heighten cravings for calorie-dense foods. In my experience 8 hours is an underestimation of a “good night’s sleep,” and few even manage to get that much.
- Reduce stress. Easier said than done, and stress creeps in subtly in a variety of ways. But see what you can do. There’s no doubt that being stressed and feeling generally unhappy and unfulfilled can create cravings.
- Don’t overexert yourself physically. Get some exercise, sure. Stay in shape? Hell yes. But nothing will create stronger cravings than really overdoing it on the exercise. This was the primary cause of my severe cravings back in the day. Burning lots of calories through exercise creates a deficit, and creating a calorie deficit increases appetite for foods that will make up for that deficit most efficiently. I know you think you should create a deficit and lose weight and all, but it’s more likely that your body’s cravings and eager willingness to store surplus calories is a direct result of your attempts to create a forced deficit. Stop trying to shortchange yourself on energy and your body will stop craving things that thwart those efforts.
- Stop thinking cravings are bad. They are not bad. They have a purpose and a cause. And if you have developed a strong craving, it’s too late to do anything about it anyway.
Special thanks to Dr. Oz for inspiring this post. Recently he interviewed Cookie Monster on his show and encouraged him to use self control. Screw self control. And, I hate to say it, but screw Cookie Monster, too. Who shoves cookie after cookie into his mouth and doesn’t get sick of them? If you give into your cravings like CM does, they go away, except in very rare and extreme cases. But I guess I would be pretty stressed too if I was a furry blue thing with uncontrollable pupils and no genitals.
And as a final note, I’m tired of hearing about “sugar addiction.” If people were addicted to sugar they would seek out the richest sources of sugar when they had a craving for something sweet. People don’t drink maple syrup or wake up in the middle of the night to raid the pantry of all the dates and grape juice. They want cookies, chips, pizza, brownies, bacon cheeseburgers, and other things that have a lot more in them than sugar (and that have a lot less sugar than dates, maple syrup, and grape juice by volume). The theme is calorie-dense and tasty. The body craves energy when it needs energy and knows what packs the biggest punch.
No, you don’t need to go join Overeaters Anonymous if you keep having cravings and eating your face off. In fact, you’re probably more in need of joining Undereaters Anonymous.
Interestingly, the word “Overeaters” was not picked up by spellcheck, but “Undereaters” was, as if there is no such thing as eating too little. Not even in our vocabulary. There is. Stop doing it.
Alright, getting disjointed and unfocused now. Probably should’ve just ended it on Cookie Monster’s lack of genitals. I’m off to drive across Kansas today, and I’m already starting to develop a wicked craving to see the World’s Largest Prairie Dog. Prairie Dog Town here we come!