I should know by now, that when I’m craving a scone, nothing, NOTHING else will suffice. I tried to convince myself otherwise, knowing well I would be tempted at the coffee shop where I was going to work. I already knew they had the very best gluten-free blueberry scones in the world so while at the health food store, I stocked up on diversions - 2 packs of seaweed snacks, a protein bar, celery and a pint of strawberries (which I would normally consider “too sugary”, but in this case, a necessary deterrent).
Once I loaded the car to head to the cafe, I already knew it…”I am getting that scone”, I said matter-of-factly to my boyfriend. Because, there is just no way around it. When you are craving something particular, whether it’s chocolate, cheese, chips, or a blueberry scone - only that very thing will suffice. I tell my clients this all the time. I say, “you are far better off eating that one thing you are wanting than telling yourself you can’t have it and eating 10 other things to take your mind off it, only later, to eat it anyway or be left feeling deprived.”
Deprivation is also a slippery slope. The more you withhold, the stronger will be your rebellion against yourself. People often respond with, “I’m afraid if I let myself have “x” (fill in the blank), I won’t be able to stop”. This is an understandable fear. The cookie seems like the precipice of a very long and hard fall. But the truth is, the real precipice is the disallowing, acting out of fear and perceived future guilt.
The cookie is just a cookie. It’s everything you make eating the
cookie mean about yourself that is the precipice.
The same is true for emotions, the more you hold back, cover-up, numb out (think TV, social media, shopping, gossip), the more you stuff down and the more will inevitably explode in anger, violence, binging, and other spontaneous actions you might very well later regret.
So eat your scone, feel your feelings, let the inner blame go, and move on. In reality, you will also likely consume less calories letting yourself eat the cookie, than you will trying to distract yourself from the cookie.
This kind of allowing is why I loved being pregnant. For once, in a long time, I had something beyond myself I was invested in. The moment I found out I was pregnant, my obsessive desire to be a size 2 again evaporated completely, and in it’s place a sense of responsibility much deeper. I felt connected to my body and to what I felt it wanted. I never had cravings for deep fried pickles or anything too strange, but I did want pancakes, and I wanted them DAILY. So I let myself have, and enjoy them, fully. Feeling as though I was giving my body and my baby what it wanted. The biggest change wasn’t in letting myself eat pancakes as much as it was allowing myself to enjoy them without an ounce of guilt. Total. Guilt. Free. Pleasure. What more could we want??
I’m writing this from the other side, people. I have finished my scone (I even cleaned the plate of all crumbs), and I’m ok, i’m actually pretty great. The sky didn’t fall, or worse - I didn’t gain an instantaneous 5 lbs, I don’t feel sick, I don’t feel fat, and I don’t feel remorse. I just feel…"normal". Because I let myself enjoy the scone, each delicious, sweet and buttery, crumbly bite, I also don’t feel like I need more and I’m not in line to buy out the rest of their inventory.
So, my recommendation- have your cake/cookie/scone, and eat it too. Eat it with presence and gratitude, taking in the full experience. Let it in. Don’t rush it so that you can pretend it didn’t happen or swallow each bite with a little regret and self-hate. That will just make you want more, because you still haven’t given yourself what you were wanting. Slow down. Take it in and listen to your body. This is all it ever wants from you anyhow.