Last week I talked about gathering DATA when you start to have a craving. Did you try it? What’d you discover? If you didn’t get the chance to try it I want you to keep the idea in your back pocket so you’ll have it in case you need it! This week I want to elaborate on what you can do when you assess the situation and you find that you’re craving is really just a desire for something else. I want to share with you my personal experience with the “DATA” technique and then tell you about one of my favorite things to do next.
The discovery I made during my first WHOLE30…
I’ve always known that procrastination is a problem of mine but I never realized it was associated with what I choose to eat. It wasn’t until the whole30 that I started to pay attention to my food choices more closely than ever before. I knew that I craved chocolate at night. We all have a sweet tooth, right? I mean I come from a long line of chocoholics. Don’t most women? But I never really thought much about my cravings. It was just something that I accepted. I love chocolate. Period.
I discovered so much more. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of a whole30 adventure that I had this AHA moment. One of those…well, that was so obvious why didn’t I notice that before kind of moments.
Because I couldn’t just REACT and give in to my cravings, I was able to stop and bring light to what was behind them. I noticed that they would usually be around 8pm when the kids were finally in bed. Exhausted from the day, nothing sounded better than vegging out or grabbing a treat from the kitchen. I go to the kitchen and glance over at the sink full of the days dirty dishes, stacks of mail on the counter and a house full of toys cluttering the floor. Eek!
Diversion! Quick, I need a diversion! I’ll get a snack first before I tackle these messes. That’s the first thing my unconscious mind would say. Ahh..procrastination rears its ugly head. I was using food to procrastinate. Not cool.
But it was more than just procrastination. I would also be overwhelmed with guilt. Guilt for not having any desire to keep my house clean or keep up with chores. I should. I really should be a good housekeeper, wife, mom and just clean up so I can wake up to a nice and tidy home. But I really, really don’t want to! That was my inner dialogue. It was like a parent asking a child to do a simple task and a child throwing herself on the ground, wailing and whining about how much she doesn’t want to do what you’ve just asked. It was a true inner struggle. I know that I should be doing something productive and I felt so lazy for not wanting to do it.
Ha. And to think that until I was in the thick of my first whole30 experience I never thought twice about the reasons I craved chocolate. I just thought I craved it because it was delicious. But I can be really good at ignoring my feelings. It seems so simple in theory but actually realizing, naming and shining more light on your feelings is a true discipline. Mindfulness if you will.
Luckily at this same time I made this discovery, I was also reading the book Eating with Fierce Kindness, which is amazing by the way. Sasha T Loring calls us all to be our own friend and stop thinking so badly of ourselves. Let’s get rid of all the guilt and instead show ourselves a lot more compassion. So, I’ve been working on allowing myself time to rest at the end of the day if I need it and also trying to tackle chores before they get so out of hand and overwhelming. It’s a work in progress. And yes, I still love chocolate but I try to enjoy it when the time is right. Not to cover up some crazy feelings. Also, a work in progress.
Once you make your own discovery it helps to get curious about it. Here is my favorite way to think about and sort through what’s behind a craving. I write out a Shitty First Draft or SFD. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a chance to simply write out what’s on your mind without any judgments or hesitation. Anne Lamott, the gal behind the SFD concept, says “just let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later….just get it all down on paper.”
Anne’s advice is geared toward writers but Brene Brown, one of my favorite authors, encourages everyone to create a SFD in regular everyday moments. She calls us to question the stories we make up in our heads and to be curious about our emotions. In her SFDs she writes out these 6 things and then fills in the blanks:
- The story I’m making up is.. (watch Brene talk about this more)
- My emotions..
- My body..
- My thinking..
- My beliefs…
- My actions…
Use this tool in addition to the DATA technique and to help you sort through those things that lie behind the cravings. I wonder what discoveries you might make? Next time you are experiencing a craving or even just feeling uncomfortable and vunerable give these two techniques a try.