Controlling Cravings

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Remember when my small one and I “killed bananas into slime” (see my post for more on that if you have no idea what I’m talking about). That double coconut banana bread was the bomb. Moist, crisp on the outside, sweet… I used stevia so I could rationalize away the sugar, but the coconut oil… If you’ve drunk the koolaid you know that coconut oil has lots of healthy fats in it, is free of cholesterol, and has been praised for everything from improving health and fighting disease to correcting the lean of the leaning tower of Pisa (ok, I made that up, but you get my drift). But the bottom line is, just like “sugar is sugar”, “fat is fat.” If you take in more of it than your body needs, it gets stored. And it gets stored easily because, well, it’s already fat. It is the last thing our bodies burn off in digestion, because digesting sugars and proteins is a little easier (that’s why a gram of fat is higher in calories than a gram of protein or carbohydrate).

The way I figure it, that banana loaf had 1/4 cup of coconut oil, which is 4 tablespoons. So if the loaf is cut into 8 slices, then each slice has about a half tablespoon of oil. Not so awful as a treat.

As a treat.

Not as in “I’m going to eat all 8 slices right now real fast before anyone else gets them.” Ok, it wasn’t that bad. Without other coconut-banana lovers to share with, the hubs and I probably split this loaf pretty evenly over several days. But it is still more fat than I really would like to eat. And I had trouble resisting it, seeing the shiny aluminum foil wrapped loaf sitting on the counter day in and day out.

How do you control your cravings? Eating other food doesn’t really help me. If I want a sweet and I go load up on fruit and veggies, I usually still want that sweet. And then I cram it in on top of whatever I tried to load up on. I read somewhere that our body doesn’t process “full” when faced with sugars–that’s why there’s always room for dessert. So for me, controlling access helps. There are two concepts that apply here–one is stimulus control. Basically, if you don’t want to eat it, don’t have it available. Don’t buy it, bake it, or open the package. Don’t be around it if others are doing it. If you like to bake and try out recipes, one “stimulus control” method that works for me is to freeze things. I have to be a little more deliberate about pulling something out of the freezer and defrosting it (in the microwave cause really who can wait?). And it is not sitting out on the counter as a constant reminder to eat it.

Another method that works is called incompatible behavior. Do something that makes giving in to a craving impossible–by changing your environment or filling your hands with “other than food.” Busy your hands with a craft, needlework, housework, or a game of cards. Go for a walk or exercise. Leave the kitchen and connect with a family member in another room. If you are eating mindlessly in front of the tv, switch it off and change your scenery.

Not going to bake that banana loaf again soon unless I know we have company and it will get consumed by a bunch of people. Or I may try it in muffin cups to make the servings more controlled. What do you do to control your sweet tooth?

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