You can almost smell the fried goodness…
There’s something so tempting and appealing about a hot, salty perfectly peeled potato dunked in boiling oil.
The temptation to chow down on French fries is always there. But when you actually have to smell the hot, salted goodness right up under your face — now that’s when it gets real.
This was my day: woke up at 4am to teach 3 classes at the studio. Had about 1 million things to do and was sidetracked by other “issues” that kept me at the studio putting out fires 2 hours after I was supposed to be off. And then — it happened — one of the girls came back with French fries! What!? I mean, we are a fitness facility after all!
I was already 2 hours past my “meal window” and my mind was hitting the panic button. Those fries were whispering sweet nothings to me as I attempted to rein in my cravings.
Now here’s where the practice of mindfulness can come in very handy as a tool to avoid self sabotage. This is the process that I went through, once I realized my cravings and will power was about to go out of control:
1. Realize that the craving is happening.
Thinking: “Man! Those fries smell good! I really want one!”
2. Take inventory of the situation.
Okay, I’ve been up since 4am, and stressed out, as well as I just missed a meal and am feeling low blood sugar and irritable. BUT I have a choice about what to do in this situation. I don’t have any food to eat here because I was supposed to be home by now, but I have other options.
3. Determine if you can satisfy the craving at that moment, or opt for a different solution.
The smell. of. fries. Come on! She offered me some and I said “no”. But you know what? I wanted some! I grabbed 3 fries and savored them like it was my last meal on the planet. Alternatively, I could have gone to grab a quick (healthy) bite at a local restaurant: my favorite — Zoe’s Kitchen. But I knew that I was headed home and had a satisfying meal that I could prepare there (quickly).
4. Mitigate the response.
Control your response to the situation. In my past life, I might have smelled those fries, really wanted them, and said no to her in the moment. But willpower has a tendency to give out — especially when you determine that some foods are “bad” and we just can’t have them. My past self would have said “no” in public, but then drove through the drive-through at Chick-fil-A on the way home and got not only a fries, but a fried chicken sandwich.
I made a decision in my mind to have a few fries, and I already knew what I would eat right when I got home — my favorite meal of waffles and eggs. My alternative meal choice was satisfying and I knew it would make me feel better (physically and emotionally) to eat something that wouldn’t give me that “hangover effect”. If I hadn’t had access to a home meal, I would have chosen my favorite healthy place to eat and spend $10 on a meal that would be satisfying but fit my lifestyle goals (#IIFYLG).
5. Really ask yourself, is it worth it?
In my situation, I had just gone out to have frozen yogurt with friends the night before. Having those fries today in a frenzied moment of stress and low blood sugar was not the solution I was looking for – and definitely not how I want to spend my moment with beloved French fries. The point of having a treat meal is being able to enjoy it. Eating in a stressful situation is not my idea of “worth it”. I would rather save this meal for a time when I can share it with friends in a relaxed and enjoyable situation, rather than stress eating in the back office of the studio.