Not only do diets not work, neither do diet foods. The skinny on Splenda is that it was originally created as a pesticide. Splenda, is a chlorinated hydrocarbon, which as a poison is toxic and carcinogenic. Try sprinkling Splenda on an ant hill today to find dead ants tomorrow. If you’re craving something sweet, eat the REAL thing in moderation and enjoy. If you let yourself savor it you’ll likely find you don’t need much to satisfy your sweet tooth.
I recently visited a friend in the hospital who had two operations to alleviate debilitating back pain he’d had for three years. After the second operation, he was in, “More pain than I’ve ever been in –magnified by 10.” As one point during our visit he turned inside and tuned me out to fight the pain. I got his attention, looked him straight in the eye and repeated several times in a steady and calm voice, “It hurts. The pain is real. You’re not making this up. You can get through this. Keep acknowledging the pain. Don’t fight it, resist it or try to will it away. It’s real and it hurts.”
Within moments of talking to him like this, the extreme force of the pain subsided to a relatively manageable level and the color, which had blanched from his face, returned. Later during our conversation, the pain overtook him and again, we locked eyes while I repeated what I’d said earlier. Again, the pain subsided and the color returned to his face.
I had a similar but thankfully, less intense experience myself. I was getting deep tissue body work that hurt so much I let rip countless four letter words until I realized that cursing wasn’t relieving the pain of the treatment. In fact, it was worse.
The massage therapist reminded me to acknowledge the pain the way I acknowledged it with my friend at the hospital. The very next moment the pain was gone and I could tolerate the deep work with ease. It simply didn’t hurt, which shocked me because the therapist said he was exerting the same amount of pressure as before.
It could have been that I relaxed so the muscles weren’t tight and I’m sure that had something to do with it. But the irony is, the more you hate the pain, whether physical or emotional, the worse it gets. Pain plays an important funtion in our lives, giving us important information. It’s there for a reason and will scream until it’s heard.
It works this way with cravings as well. The next time you have a craving, instead of attempting to deny it (which works great, right?) wishing it would go away (that doesn’t work too well either!) — accept and listen to it. Name and be curious about it. Wonder, with an open mind, why it’s bothered to settle in your body/mind.
Try, “It’s true I’m having this craving right now. It’s intense. I want it (the food you crave). I’m worried it will never go away. I think I’ve got to have it now.”
Or try to imagine this craving as if it was a separate person while you acknowledge and listent to its point of view and concerns. What if you asked, “what does this craving think would happen to me if it didn’t get what it wants right now?”
You may be quite surprised that what is wanted and needed is a hug, a kind word, or some rest. If you’re truly curious and open, you may be in for a pleasant surprise as you get answers you didn’t expect and the pain desolves.
This is the gift of mindfulness. Try it. You might like it.
I had just come out of a meeting that left me very upset. A lot of unpleasant feelings were running up and down my body that I wanted to douse before they burned me up. Looking for the nearest “fire hose,” I figured that chocolate covered graham crackers and a latte would do the trick.
Just as I was about to head over to the nearest Star Bucks, I remembered that I had an appointment back at my office, about 30 minutes from where I was and that stopping for my favorite and frequent fix would make me late. This was an unwelcome conundrum; do I feed the craving to numb myself and be late or do I show up on time and be distracted by my own upset? Even if I could make it to the office on time, how do I pay attention to my client after bottoming out from a sugar crash?
Instead I chose to practice what I teach. I ducked into the bathroom on the 9th floor, found an empty stall and did a Tapas Acupressure Technique® (TAT®) process on myself. I put my hands on my head in the TAT pose and said to myself, “I’m upset, I hate the feelings I’m having right now and I want to run to Star Bucks for chocolate covered graham crackers and a latte.” I took myself through the 9-step process, which took me about 5 minutes.
The entire time I was in the pose, I worried that the process wasn’t working. Once I finished the ninth step, I checked in with myself. The feelings still ran up and down my body but I LIKED them. They felt good. The craving for graham crackers and a latte were gone. I was on time for my next appointment and I was focused. It’s been over two years and the craving is still gone. It’s not that I haven’t had these two lovely treats since. I have and enjoyed them tremendously; twice. That’s it. Even writing about it doesn’t bring back the craving.
It wasn’t long after that incident that I asked my friend and colleague, Patricia Thatcher, to work with me on developing our group, Transforming Overeating. Results from four groups, published in the February 2011 issue of NASW Focus Newsletter revealed for almost all group members what I had experienced. “Eating to soothe my feelings” was reduced by 50%.
This can happen for you too.