Overwhelming Cravings for Fattening Things

I’m currently obsessed with all things coconut.  I love the smell, the texture, and the flavor.  I realize it’s strange to love coconut so much.  This week, I indulge in coconut cake and then, as if that weren’t enough to ruin my weight-loss plan, I must have coconut ice-cream.

Last night, I actually dream of eating coconut cream pie.  

This morning at church, I ask the ladies for their help in managing my coconut addiction.  It’s a horrible thing to love:  even in just one small cup of the stuff, I’m eating so many calories and fat that it’s hard to justify.

I actually pray about this.

Later, I’m out running errands with my daughter, and we’re about to stop for a fun treat.  Immediately, I imagine us eating coconut cake, and I know just where to get some.  Instead, my daughter asks for a treat in the form of crafts: new markers that you can twist and blend together. 

I’m stuck longing for that fluffy white coconut confection that I won’t be getting.  

I have to find some coconut, or I just might die. 

In the craft store, my daughter points to a rack of candy.  Small and unassuming, a package of tiny coconut candies from Belgium sits.  Because of portion size, this coconut treat represents a reasonable, low calorie, and remarkably low-fat little treat.

Back in the car, I have just one, and I’m satisfied.

Living with flair means I have to remember that I don’t need to gobble the whole cake or scoop out mounds of ice cream.  I can find healthy alternatives in small portions.  When the craving hits, I know what to do.  

That leaves me time to get to the good stuff:  drawing pictures with my daughter’s new blending markers.

Journal:  I’ve learned in my Weight Watcher’s meetings about “substitutions” for my favorite unhealthy snacks.  Instead of potato chips, I can grab a healthy substitution like air-popped popcorn or pretzels.  What “substitutions” can I make for other unhealthy food, thoughts, or behaviors?

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  1. Long time reader, first time responder. I've really enjoyed the daily journal self questions at the bottom of posts lately. One thing that I saw in the journal question today though gave me pause. The part about substituting something more healthy for a craving. In my experience when I've tried to do a piece of fruit instead of cake, etc, I just wind up eating the fruit and then much later the cake as well. What I have found more helpful is to ask why do I want the cake? Very rarely am I hungry for the cake itself. I eat emotionally or out of boredom. I think we eat for taste and not substance. What is the connection between quantity and taste? How come one bite of something is often not enough for a craving but eating a whole piece, or multiple pieces is also not necessarily a good idea.

  2. Jaclyn, this is SO TRUE! If I eat fruit when I really want cake, I always find the cake later. Maybe I need to think more about my substitution theory. At least in terms of coconut, the little candies did satisfy me and I didn't want the cake. I like how you said we eat for taste. We do. Maybe my coconut obsession is a longing for something else. Maybe I need a trip to a tropical paradise!

  3. I hear you with the coconut obsession! I love all things coconut. Are the little candies you found called Rafaella? Those are great little treats.

  4. I truly dislike coconut :(. However, I love, love chocolate. I have not been able to swallow or taste for years but put cocoa, coffee and other good smelling creamers in with my tube feeding. BUT, after my radiation as we waited for the blisters in my mouth to subside before surgery, all I wanted was chocolate cake – and I had not been a cake person. My aunts brought me Pepperidge Farm frozen cake with chocolate frosting – I ate and ate, so I can
    sympathize :). I no longer have a weight problem but a fitness problem – HA.

  5. Roberta, I love your enthusiasm and strength. I love the account of the frozen cake! Isn't it funny the things we suddenly crave? I like how you make the distinction between a weight problem and a fitness problem!

  6. “I actually pray about this.” Brilliant!

    Jaclyn, try thinking about what exactly it is that you crave; the taste, chewiness, volume, timing, naughtiness, etc. Surely, it's not the calories. Maybe it's two things combined. When you can pinpoint the craving precisely, then you can try to find a substitute that fulfills the craving without or with fewer calories.

    Sometimes this is easy, sometimes not so. Sometimes recognizing the craving suddenly makes it manageable.

    That said, I've never found a replacement for my true love: chocolate. I just try to stay away, otherwise one bite can snowball.

  7. Jaclyn said just what I was thinking – I can eat all the substitutes I want, and I STILL crave whatever I crave! Worse still, once I finally give in to the craving, I crave that food again, sooner than the time before.

    When you find the final answer, PLEASE tell us! (The coconut candies don't work for me because I'm not at all a coconut person, unless it's shampoo we're talking about :O))

    Roberta, sounds like you've faced some serious health issues – hope you are doing better now.

  8. I recently found a decent substitute for my unfortunate habbit of eating in the evening (while watching TV, usually). I'd have some dessert, or some cheese and crackers (I'm not that much of a sweets person) or another helping of dinner…it was so hard to stop doing that because I felt like I was giving myself a treat, a pat on the back for working hard that day.

    Figuring out that what I needed to do was nurture mhyself helped – I try to stick to a cup of tea instead, and make the most of it: I buy expensive tea, boutique honey, make a nice big mug and cradle it, sipping it and feeling the warmth in mhy hands and the steam in my face.

    That helped! I agree with those who say if you are truly craving something a substitution doesn't help much. I too will eat the fruit PLUS the brownie…bad idea…


  9. Coconut milk, vanilla. It's much better for you than dairy or soy, and will satisfy all your coconut cravings with health food. Coconuts are very good for you.

  10. Have you read the book Made to Crave? It is a fabulous book about learning to crave God instead of food…depending on God for our comfort instead of food. It is making a huge difference in my life and I'm only half-way through the book!

    Thank you so much for your blog….I read it faithfully, but seldom comment. So many times, it has made me stop and count my blessings instead of being discontent with what I don't have. I love learniing to Live with Flair!

  11. I looked up your blog after hearing it mentioned tonight; I was curious what you had written about coconut. Now I'm feeling a little guilty about supplying the coconut fudge =)