I knew exactly how to handle my temptation to graze: work harder. Literally, that has been my solution for many moments when I knew my brain would want to start a binge session. I would work hard: cleaning, writing, organizing, gardening. Anything that required brainpower and manpower could keep me out of the pantry. This was especially true during the girls’ younger years when the reason for my binging was to escape the stress and demands of raising toddlers and caring for a little one with intense developmental and medical needs.
The problem was, I couldn’t stay busy forever. My already exhausted mind and body would rebel and then those cravings were bigger and more intense than ever.
The funny thing about cravings, though, is that they are scarier and more intense when we are running from them. When I was first taught the concept of sitting with an urge, I was skeptical. There was no way I wanted to give that feeling my full attention. But, when I did, I noticed that it shrank away and came in waves that petered out. It reminded me so much of a toddler tantrum. With a toddler tantrum we can try to discipline or ignore but eventually if we give in next time that toddler is ready to go even longer. However, when we sit with them, drama-free and more curious than emotional, often the tantrum is over and the child is ready to move on.
Do this with that urge, that craving. Sit in a quiet place. Notice where you feel it physically. Ask what you are thinking about that item or activity you want. Curiously ask why that urge originated from. Set a timer and give the urge your full attention for a few minutes. You might notice that it goes away quickly and is not as intense as you thought it was.
There is an amazing passage in Philippians chapter 4. Paul speaks about worry and anxiety then he follows it all by saying that he has learned to be content in every circumstance, whether he is in need or in want because, he says, “I can do all things through God who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13). That ability to be content, to sit in acceptance of a circumstance, is what gives us strength to not struggle in cravings for things that can’t and don’t serve us.
Journal prompt: What do your cravings feel like? When do they seem to happen the most? Where do you feel them in your body? What thoughts come up for you when the cravings are strongest? What happens when you sit quietly with that craving for a few moments?
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.