I love chocolate. I’m a woman, a wife, a mom and I’m not ashamed – I love chocolate. I love it so much that it’s nearly a need in my life.
Over a month ago we switched our diet to Paleo – cutting out a lot of the food that causes fatigue, skin irritations, upset stomachs and more. This process begins with an intense month of no grains, no beans, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine.
As you can imagine it’s not the easiest thing to do. Each day we were faced with cravings and choices as we conditioned our self to follow a new set of rules and a new rhythm. No more quick bowl of granola for breakfast and you can say goodbye to your creamer and coffee.
As we cut back on these foods the cravings grew – the first few days are the worst but I’m finding that it’s still hard every day.
Just today I wandered into the kitchen – not hungry, maybe a little bored – looking for something sweet. It’s 4:30 PM, dinner is still a bit away and all I want is some chocolate or salty chips or anything to occupy my belly and satisfy this want.
But that’s just what it is – a want – not a need, not a must-have, but a want. And a want born out of boredom and years of mindless snacking. I’ve conditioned myself since college to satiate whatever appetite I had – I ate the food I wanted when I wanted it. I wasn’t stick-thin but I wasn’t overweight either. I would work out for an hour and then order pizza. Chocolate, yes, soda, sure, waffle with ice cream for dinner, yeah bring it (college was the best).
Well, it’s been over 3,500 days since I began college and the daily binge is finally coming to an end.
Cravings only become real when you give in or say no. In living the Christian life we are often confronted with cravings of sorts – watch more TV because you’re bored with your life, eat more food so you don’t feel so empty, post that comment or photo so you feel better about yourself. If we’re not careful, these cravings turn into habits and habits shape who we are.
Discipline is the enemy of temptation. With following a Paleo food plan I still have cravings for chocolate and bread but because of my discipline, I’m finding it easier to say no.
Just as cravings can turn into habitual snacking which then leads to more cravings, discipline creates ordered and intentional habits which in return help to build virtue. There is strength in saying no. There is grace in denying our wants. If we start differentiating our wants from needs, we’ll find we have a lot more space, time and freedom on our hands.
So which will you choose?