Let's talk about cravings
. What do y'all do to deal with them? My first and always principle is to accept the craving, not fight it, and I don't ever feel bad about having it. Cravings are natural when you're on a diet.
I make a strong distinction between having a craving and acting on it. I think of it as like the difference between fiction and real life: just as you can enjoy a scary movie, but not want to be scared like that in real life, you can have a craving, but not have to act on it.
99% of my cravings go away, given a little time, so the main thing to do is to find something to do, while I'm waiting for them to go away.
25 things I do while waiting for a craving to pass
(in no particular order, but the things I do most often are listed first):
(1) Eat something that's on my plan.
I'm doing Atkins, so I can eat all the meat I want, plus cheese, green veggies, and macadamia nuts in moderation.
(2) Listen to music.
Sometime I listen to CDs, but I like surprises, so I listen to the radio (Sirius-XM), Pandora.com, and other music on "shuffle." My sweetie and I gave ourselves the complete Beatles for our 35th anniversiary: there's a lot of songs, so they're great on shuffle.
(3) Look at art
. Artworks are like the visual equivalent of songs. Museums are best, of course, but short of that, I look at art books and look at art online. It's fun to pick one artist I like, google them, then try to find everything they've ever done. Renι Magritte, for example. I also spend a lot of time looking at art, including photos, on Flickr.com, because there I can interact with the artists by picking "favorites" and making comments. Your local library probably has art books.
. Don't know how to meditate? I highly recommend Mindfulness in Plain English
by Bhante Gunaratama: the title doesn't really say so, but it's basically Meditation for Beginners. It's written from a mild Buddhist perspective, but I'm no Buddhist, and I find that part easy to ignore.
(5) Take a nap.
Sometimes when I meditate, I fall asleep. That's fine. Sleep is always a blessing.
(6) Listen to nature sounds.
You can find CDs of ocean sounds, rain, etc., at Amazon.com. Very soothing.
(7) Do my leg exercises
. What I do is so easy: I lie on the couch and do leg lifts, half on my side and half on my back. Left leg on odd-numbered days, right leg on even-numbered days, so the muscles have a have a day to recover. I count them out in groups of twenty. At first I could only do 40, but I gradually worked up to many more. I do three sets a day, with rests in between until my breathing and heartrate come back to baseline. They've made a big difference in how I feel!
(8) Dance to the music
. I like the rock-n-roll show that Jim Ladd does from 7-11 EST on Sirius-XM's Deep Tracks station. You may have an exercise or dance DVD: those are great! When I'm lazy, I just lie on the couch and dance my leg lifts or dance with my arms.
. Post to 3FC or some other forum. Talk to my husband. Make a phone call. Write an email.
(10) Get outside
. I haven't started walking yet, but I still like sitting on the grass, going to the park and sitting on a bench, admiring the fall leaves, spring flowers, etc.
(11) Write in my journal
. I should have put this earlier on this list, because I do it a lot. I can say absolutely anything in my journal, and it's super for figuring out what the craving is really about
: loneliness, neediness, anger...Writing out your thoughts & feelings is supposed to be very helpful in a weight loss program. I do mine in a paper journal, but computer files are good, too.
(12) Go "window-shopping."
I do this a lot! It doesn't cost any money at all, of course. Sometimes I do it with paper catalogs or magazines: turning down the corners of pages that have things I like, or circling them with a marker, even cutting them out with scissors and collecting up all the things I "bought." But mostly I do it online: adding items to my wish list at Amazon.com (where my husband looks for things to buy me at Christmas & on my birthday), adding to my favorites list at Etsy.com. Books, CDs, DVDs. I like to window-shop for things I could conceivably wear now, like jewelry, socks (SockDreams.com), scarves, expensive full-size clothes (lots of places, but especially MakingItBig.com). I also adore ArtfulHome.com, for all kinds of gorgeous artsy stuff.
(13) Buy something for real.
A T-shirt. A coffee mug. Inexpensive jewelry.
(14) Download a book.
I do this a lot, too. The nice thing about Kindle and other e-books is the instant gratification. Don't have a Kindle? Put one of the plain ones (not the Fire) on your wish listas your next mini-goal reward. They're really worth it! If you avoid the latest releases, lots of Kindle books are free or just a couple of bucks. Or go to your local used bookstore. Nothing like a new novel or a collection of short stories to distract you while the craving passes.
. Sometimes I imagine that the craving is sitting up high on a cloud, and then I watch as the cloud slowly drifts away. Other times I just visualize myself doing my favorite thingssailing, sitting on the beach, lying in a hammock in some fantasy location.
(16) Watch a movie
. Duh...this should have been higher on my list. Netflix is great. Or a favorite DVD.
(17) Do something creative
. If you want a new creative hobby, I highly recommend Swap-bot.com. You sign up for a swap, then get assigned a partner to whom you mail something, and somebody else gets assigned to send something to youa great way to get nice mail! I started easy, with postcard swaps: send a postcard of your hometown, whatever. You meet people who become friends, then you mail them postcards & letters whenever you feel like it. Then you can work up to doing crafts: knitting, needlework, collage, they have it all.
(18) Play a game
. Another way to socialize, either online or in person. Lots of forums have games, and I hear good things about Words with Friends.
(19) Do a jigsaw puzzle.
Pomegranate.com has great puzzles (cool other stuff, too): just $18-19 for 1000 beautiful pieces and hours of entertainment. Clearing off the dining room or kitchen table and covering it with a puzzle makes a serious statement that you have other interests besides food.
(20) Go for a drive.
Sometimes it helps to just get out of the house and move around in space. Go to the park, or pick up a vente-size decaf at the Starbucks drive-in window, or drive around aimlessly. But of course I avoid stopping anywhere that has food!
(21) Do something kind for someone else.
A friend. A family member. A stranger on 3FC who needs positive feedback. Volunteer. Giving to others is good for the soul.
(22) Chew some sugarless gum.
Why not? It's oral gratification!
(23) Make myself coffee or tea.
A definite favorite. And on the Atkins diet, you're allowed to have cream! When I'm craving something sweet, I add stevia (Sweet Drops liquid) and vanilla, and sprinkle cinnamon on top.
(24) Take a shower.
I always feel better when I'm clean. Refreshed. Ready for anything.
(25) Do housework.
This one belongs at the bottom of the list, but sometimes I get inspired to clean or pick up while listening to rock-n-roll.
I'm sure there's more I haven't listed (sex! alone or with a partner) but this posting is huge enough. Obviously a lot of the above can be done in combination: listen to the radio while driving, meditate and visualize, and so on. I tried to put in links for the websites, but 3FC kept taking them out...oh well.
So what do you
do while you're waiting for a craving to drift away?