Making Lemonade

Cheetos LipBalmI’m becoming obsessed with a craving for Cheetos. Not obsessed enough to even think about trying this product, but it’s clear I’m rapidly reaching a point at which I am going to have to have some cheesy goodness.

Fried, not baked.

I will have them…and someday soon.

In contemplating the Cheetos dilemma, I realized that, over the past year, I have converted a formerly unhelpful tendency toward procrastination into a successful strategy (for me) for dealing with cravings. The proverbial making lemonade from lemons.

Or lemonade from Cheetos, if you will.

In the past when I thought about losing weight, many of my plans started with “Someday soon I’ll…” You can complete the expression with any host of things: join a gym, go on A Diet, walk a hundred miles a day–uphill, etc. and so on.

And, of course, someday never came.

What I realized today is that I’ve been playing the “someday soon” game with cravings. Whenever a desire for something that’s slightly (or more) on the other side of healthy, I’ve handled it by saying, “Someday soon, I’ll have to figure out a way to work that into a meal.” In most of those situations, as in the past, someday never came. The desire faded away. A very good thing, in this case.

There were (are) a few favorites, of course, that I did put thought and effort into seeing on my plate, even if rarely. When I wanted “real deal” pizza, I found a local restaurant that sold reasonably-sized pizza-by-the-slice. My desire for good old-fashioned southern barbecue led me to another local place that offers Barbecue Salad (I just order the dressing AND the meat on the side.) I pushed a craving for cheese dip away until the Christmas pot luck at the office, and then I had five taco chips with a healthy drizzle of dip.

I feel certain that had I indulged in these cravings at the exact moment I had them, I would have either (a) over-indulged, (b) experienced guilt, remorse, and/or shame for having “blown it”, (c) both a and b. Deferring the cravings gave me time to think about (or forget about) it and work it into my plan in a relatively healthy way.

Kind of neat, huh? “Someday soon” used to be a curse; now it’s a tool for managing my beloved splurgettes.

It’s the same for another trait I have. I’m quite happy eating the same foods over and over and over. Not a good thing when those foods are nachos, pizza, cheeseburgerandfries, fishandchips, and Little Debbie snack cakes. But you can see the difference when the repetition becomes turkey, tuna, chicken, turkey, tuna, chicken, turkey, tuna, chicken, cheeseburger, turkey, tuna….well, you get the picture. It works out so much better this way, when the routine foods are composed of lean meats rather than fried and fresh fruit instead of calorie-dense (but oh-so-tasty!) snack cakes. :)

This line of thinking may partially explain why I’ve had success over the past year. I went with what is naturally part of my personality/lifestyle, but I changed the input.

But enough about me, I’m curious about you. Have you noticed any not-so-great habits or traits that are now working a little more in your favor? Think about it and let me know, here or your place. :)