Raise your hand if you have ever experienced cravings.

Ahem… I’m not trying to call you out or anything, buuuut… Shouldn’t YOUR hand be up? Mine is. Actually, both of mine.

Everyone has cravings. Everyone.

Okay, can I hit the pause button for just a moment and overshare with you?

Ugh, good. Thank you.

I work with many clients of all shapes, sizes, ages and walks of life yet everyone I work with talks to me about cravings as if it were a rare disease that only they have and are SO EMBARRASSED of- with cravings comes feelings of guilt, defeat and shame. FOR. EVERYONE.

(Brace yourself, here is where the oversharing comes in) 

Every single time I have an in depth conversation about cravings I giggle at some point. It’s never a good moment to giggle, and I’m never giggling at them or what they are sharing. (I completely get where they are coming from and how frustrating and upsetting these cravings and the emotions behind them can be.) Nope, the very mature coach that I am always has an image of a certain children’s book that pops into my head…every….single….time. While this client is taking cravings and wanting to learn strategies on how to navigate them I’m over here picturing Taro Gomi’s, “Everyone Poops”. (I have the humor of a 10 year old boy so…poop = funny. What can I say?) Her simple (yet highly effective) book takes something that is typically associated with embarrassment, shame and for some children, fear and turns it into a relatable function with less fear, less embarrassment and less shame. Suddenly potty training kids everywhere are confident, comfortable and pooping. At this point you might find yourself asking, “Why would that book pop into your mind?” Valid question.

The world needs an, “Everyone Craves” book…. (Writing one is on my list of things to do, comfortably sitting at #349. So, feel free to help me out and get to it before it do. 😉 ) I swear if people understood cravings are something everyone experiences we would stop beating ourselves up and start making progress towards healthier strategies – free of shame, guilt or defeat.

Wouldn’t that be great!

Okay, back to that thing everyone does. No, not that one…. the other thing… everyone craves.

There it is, sitting on the counter starting at you… You are drawn to it, tempted to pick it up and devour it. It’s almost as if you can hear it calling to you. “I’m right here… You NEED me. I’ll make all your troubles go away… Just one bite.” 

Maybe you started thinking of it before you saw it sitting there. Maybe you were in another room when the image popped into your head and the craving for it soon followed. Maybe you have been in the same room, passing by, but suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to indulge.

Whatever the case, you’ve become aware of these urges…. these cravings and want to take control of them.

First of all, if you have gotten this far give yourself a pat on the back because being able to recognize what is  happening is the first step. You are aware and in your awareness is POWER.

Now, for the second step… a step backwards, but a step in the right direction.

You need to create space… A space between where this craving is acknowledged and where it is acted on. Creating this space is important and will take time to grow a healthy distance between the two. Know this as you work towards it. Allow yourself grace in the process.

Okay, how do we create space?

I recommend setting a timer the moment you feel and acknowledge a craving. You can set the timer for as little as 2 minutes or up to 20 minutes and tell yourself this time is like hitting a pause button. It’s your time to figure out why that three day old donut is calling your name AND why it seems to so irresistible when you know darn well it’s probably stale.

What do I do after I set the timer?

Good question!

You have two choices…. (one you will find below and the second to come in part 2 of this blog.)

For beginners, I typically recommend distracting yourself. Find something you like to do, go for a walk, do some push-ups (I’m completely serious), read a few pages in a book, paint your nails, brush your teeth, watch a recording of Ellen’s Game of Games…. anything that will pass the time and help show you that the control over this craving is actually in your hands.

When the timer goes off, give yourself some praise for not indulging. This is big and you should recognize it!

The thing is with cravings, they will typically go away after a little time. After you get a few empowering “You were wrong, DONUT… Look at me not eating you” moments under your belt you will feel empowered and more confident. Then you are ready to start looking into this a little deeper and working on understanding the emotions behind your cravings. (Don’t forget, that’s coming in part 2… another blog, another day. Be on the look out.)