Post by Michelle May, M.D.
The holiday season officially began with Halloween and will continue right through Valentine's Day! For many people with diabetes, this season is associated with food cravings that can feel overwhelming at times. Many people find that the more they try to resist their cravings, the stronger they grow.
One way to take the power out of your cravings is to imagine them in a neutral way. Here's an example of how to picture your cravings like something that holds no power over you whatsoever.
A Calm Lake, Interrupted
I had a limited view of the lake through the window from where I was sitting. The water was calm and peaceful, when from the edge of the pane, a duck drifted into my awareness. I watched it bob in the middle then float away. The ripples slowly receded back into the lake and it was still again.
Minutes later several ducks paddled in from the other side of the window. They splashed about, apparently struggling for something below the surface. The strongest duck swam directly toward the window, circled several times then paddled back the way it came, followed by the rest.
How like my cravings! They seem to appear from nowhere and capture my attention. The difference is that I’ve never had a seemingly uncontrollable urge to jump up and devour a duck! Instead, I can watch a duck with a detached awareness. I feel curious, even entertained, but uncompelled to take any action. I allow the duck to just drift away, unconcerned about where it goes or when another will emerge.
Duck Your Cravings
Learning to observe your cravings in a curious but uninvolved manner can take the power out them. Try this exercise:
- The next time you have a craving, stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and focus on your breath.
- Observe the craving as if it was a duck, bobbing around in your awareness. Become curious but remain calmly detached as you watch it.
- If the craving becomes stronger, imagine that is simply paddling toward you.
- If you feel compelled to stop and eat the object of your craving, smile as you picture yourself chasing down an innocent duck.
- Practice slowing and deepening your breath as you patiently wait for the craving to turn and float away.
- Imagine the lake returning to peaceful stillness.