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Absence of Cravings

on March 27, 2012

Whenever I went on a diet in my life, and there were many, many times that I did, I always craved foods I wasn’t supposed to eat.  I always felt deprived, not of quantity, but of the actual foods.  Nearly all of my life, I wanted to be able to eat any food that appealed to me.  I wanted to eat like a “normal” person.   Of course, I never realized there is no single “normal”.  Everyone is different.  Some of us adore chocolate and other sweets.  Others want to scarf on fried foods all of the time.  There are carb cravers and those who would rather eat fresh fruits and veggies over anything else.

My older brother stopped eating meat some 40 years ago.  He eats dairy, eggs and seafood but not beef, lamb, pork or chicken.   I love all of those things except for seafood.

Yes, there’s the irony.  We who have always struggled with weight are usually advised to eat lean meats, poultry and seafood.  Lots of seafood.  I’ve loathed fish, shellfish, other swimmy things all of my life.  I grew up Catholic and prior to 1968 we weren’t permitted to eat meats on Fridays.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince my mother to always let me eat eggs, grilled cheese or macaroni and cheese on Fridays.  Sometimes, I was forced to consume tuna or fish sticks.  I doused the tuna in mustard and poured ketchup on the fish sticks to choke them down.

But I digress.  Back to the diets and cravings.

No matter how good I did on any particular diet, there would come a time when a craving got the best of me and I’d give in.  A candy bar, some cookies, a McDonald’s sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, a milk shake, pizza — I wanted them like I wanted to breathe.  They’d call to me like the sirens in the Odyssey lured sailors.  I always told myself that I could limit myself to just a taste, a sample, a one time thing.  Then, I said, I’d go right back on the successful diet.  Unfortunately, while I might be successful going that route for a little while longer, eventually I’d crash my diet ship on deadly rocks and sink my own best efforts.

One of the biggest surprises for me right now post-surgery is that I don’t experience cravings.  I don’t sit here night after night and consider running up to the convenience store for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.  I haven’t picked up a bag of miniature chocolates to keep in the house “just in case” the urge for a single piece hits me strong.   Over the weekend I bought a single chocolate chip cookie with my lunch when pre-surgery, I would have purchased three and eaten them all after finishing the sandwich.   This time, I didn’t consume the cookie at one meal.  Hand to God, that one cookie lasted for three different meals!  This is crazy in a great way.

I can’t imagine how much it would suck if I had to live my days constantly craving rich, sugary, carb-laden, or fatty foods.  Even if I craved them, I wouldn’t be able to eat them in big quantities.  I’m so relieved that, for now, I can handle the occasional treat.  I went to dinner with friends last night and ordered a steak and cheese sandwich.  (Grilled skirt steak with cheese, onions and peppers on a pretzel roll, served with a side of seasoned fries.   I picked out a couple of pieces of meat with some of the veggies and cheese and slowly ate the bites.  I had a couple of french fries but didn’t want any more.  I tasted the pretzel roll, but preferred the yummy steak instead.

This is a huge difference.  I’m not only eating according to the guidelines I’ve been given, but I also actually want to eat the good-for-me stuff.  At home when I think about cooking a meal, I rarely think of adding a starch to the dinner.  Last night’s fries were the first potatoes I’d had since before the operation.  Tonight I had meat and veggies and was absolutely satisfied.

I’m amazed.  I’m also grateful.  I hope that this remains the new normal.  Let the cravings stay away.  I want to continue to eat sensibly, including the occasional “treat” food without blowing myself completely off course.  Because this is my choice, I no longer feel deprived and I believe that’s making the difference!


8 responses to “Absence of Cravings

  1. pinkpelican says:


    I too have much reduced cravings. Part of it is resetting my head to pursue protein protein PROTEIN first and foremost. We often augment with a little bit of a carb side (some version of pasta/couscous/barley/quinoa) or with some veggies mixed in or on the side. Every now and again I find myself wanting a treat. Depending on how I’ve done for the day, I might decide to go ahead, and that treat will often last a couple of days, depending on what it is. sometimes I’ll want something but not enough to go out and get it.

    But rarely do I have the cravings screaming at me, riding me, and filling my mind. they just pop up now and again with minimal intensity, and I’m usually quite satisfied with a small portion as a snack.

    I too am hoping this is a long term thing. It’s lovely to be able to indulge a little bit and not worry quite so much about become hopelessly, helplessly entangled in the food once I get a taste of it.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Knowing that you’re about four months ahead of me and still not experiencing screaming, demanding cravings makes me hopeful that this is a long term development!

      Glad you continue to do so well.

      • pinkpelican says:


        What is more likely to happen with me are boredom or avoidance cravings. I’m wandering around the house bored, possibly lonesome (if my husband happens to be out of town), and the TV is the same old same old, and I don’t feel particularly motivated to be productive (or it’s late & I don’t want to start a project) … then I’ll have the urge to go graze in the fridge.

        If I’m at work and facing a task I’m not quite ready to get into, I’ll get the urge to wander into the kitchen and see what snacks I brought with me, or what snacks are available that my boss has provided, and I’ll have the urge to graze.

        The first, boredom, is usually overcome by actually doing something worthwhile, by going upstairs and away from the kitchen, or finally giving in but making sure it’s something like a piece of cheese or a spoonful of peanut butter (or realizing there’s nothing in the fridge I want and flouncing off in a huff to pout).

        The second, avoidance, is generally solved the same way (which is why I make sure I have cheese or peanut butter at work too, grin) — either force myself to get started on whatever it is, or take a little snack. Maybe take a break from work and walk around the parking lot a time or two — a little exercise, clear the cobwebs out of the head, & get back in the mood to be functional and productive on the boss’ behalf.

        These types of things aren’t inordinately overpowering in my experience, but they are old habits and don’t go away, so if they were bugaboos for you before the surgery, you’ll probably run into them in the near future if you haven’t already. Sounds like you have decent coping strategies already in place for cravings in general, so you should get through these ok, once you realize what’s going on . ;=)

        • Mary Stella says:

          I keep cheese sticks and peanut butter, or natural almonds, at work so that I will always have a snack around when I need it. (Usually around 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.)

          Sounds like you’ve worked out a good plan to keep from overeating! Good for you!

  2. That’s terrific! I wonder what it is that is making the difference, though? The removal of the bit that signals hunger? Or is it just a whole different place that your mind is at now? Either way, I’m truly happy for you that it’s happening – cravings can be a bitch.

    BTW, DH is contemplating next Wednesday’s Springsteen concert . . . He was very envious of all your times seeing Bruce at the Stone Pony, etc.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Karen, what’s to contemplate??? If there are tickets available, go see the show! We had seats that were directly to the side of the stage. Even though we were in the upper level, these were still great seats! Go, go, go!

      I have no idea why I’m not getting cravings but I hope it continues! 🙂

      • Update: he’s going. I don’t do concerts for the most part – I get claustrophobia in crowds and find loud music physically painful – so mostly he goes by himself or with a friend.

  3. robenagrant says:

    That’s great. Ever since I cut out gluten from my diet I’ve found that I rarely even look at cake or cookies or anything like that. They just have no appeal. It’s been about six months now so I guess I’ve been weaned. I’m still working on chocolate and wine though. : )

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