When I woke up on Tuesday, I only had one thing on my mind: cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting. I was having an enormous craving that was rapidly spiralling into an out-of-control urge to binge. The whole time I was getting ready for work, all I could think about was cinnamon buns…cinnamon buns…cinnamon buns. I could picture them in my head, feel them on my fingers (I like eating with my fingers), and taste them in my mouth. Making it through the work day was like climbing the steepest mountain. The cravings were so powerful. After work, the real battle began.
I made a promise to myself: if I truly wanted a cinnamon bun, then I could have one tomorrow. I kept repeating that promise to myself over and over again. When I went home on Tuesday, I ate almost all of my allotted food for the rest of the day right away in one sitting. That’s something I’ve noticed before – there are days where the more I try to resist a food craving, the more I eat (pretty much everything but the desired food). When it’s one of those days, it’s best for me to satisfy my craving right away to prevent unnecessary overeating later. I ended Tuesday over my limit but without having an all-out binge.
When I woke up on Wednesday, it was Tuesday all over again. This time, I made the decision to go out and have a cinnamon bun first thing that morning. This was no small cinnamon bun; it was an 850+ calorie behemoth. I devoured it in minutes at my desk before work. Then the binging thoughts began.
I thought of getting more cinnamon buns. And pizza. And pie. And coffee cake. I could feel the tension building inside me, waiting to snap. It was a horrible feeling, that feeling of being on the precipice of an enormous setback and feeling powerless to stop it from happening. Then the punishing thoughts began.
I thought, “I shouldn’t eat breakfast today. No way. Maybe not lunch either. I’ll never make up for this. I can’t believe I gave in. Why did I do this?! I’ll never be able to beat BED. I’m so tired of fighting. Look at me – fat and weak. ” I made a mental list of everything I would buy to binge on during my break. I repeated the list in my head, letting the food consume me. Then the rational thoughts began.
I realized that I felt satisfied. My craving was fully satisfied. I felt like I hadn’t eaten anything at all yet, but the craving was gone. I realized that if I just ate all of the meals and snacks that I had planned for the day, as if the cinnamon bun never happened, I would feel satiated. I don’t need to binge. I don’t need to restrict. I just need to keep doing what I was doing.
When I woke up on Thursday, I felt fine. I didn’t have any cravings. I hit my dietary target, and it wasn’t hard. I felt so proud of myself for preventing what could have been a massive setback, and I did it by eating what I wanted. It was that simple. If this whole thing happened just a few months ago, that binge absolutely would have happened. What have I learned? Giving into a craving does not mean you are failing. It can be the right thing to do.