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More On Cravings

I’ve talked about craving more than I have before, but I still have a lot of self-reflection to do in this area.  Lately, I’ve been feeling quite strong in my workouts, but food has been a struggle.  And I’m trying to look within myself to understand why. It’s frustrating to admit over and over that I still struggle with my food choices because I kind of assumed I’d have it all figured out by now.  It felt so easy during the first year…

In addition to more food than I need, I crave other things.  I crave love and attention. I crave physical affection from a significant other.  I constantly desire new nail polish (check out my stash if you think I’m exaggerating!)  And I’ve always believed that I’m in need of a new handbag (even when I actually own several.)  For years, I have gone through various phases in which I tell myself that I want and/or need new things.

When I lived in New York, I couldn’t go into Sephora without buying a new lip color, nail polish, moisturizer, eye shadow, etc.  And I still find it nearly impossible to walk in without buying something.  The gratification of purchasing something new (whether it’s food, makeup, clothes or the latest techie gadget) gives me a thrill.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  Am I working through an addiction to food, affection and shopping?

The answer is clearly yes, and while I’ve decided that it’s more important at this point to control it than to understand why, I still want to figure it out.  I want to feel settled and satisfied.  Wanting things (much of which I don’t really need) all the time is exhausting.  I may need a new sofa, but I still have much more than many who seem happily satisfied with less.

Why do I crave so much more than I need?  I don’t have the answer, but I’m going to continue searching for it.  It may not be the most important question that I could answer for myself, but it definitely matters.  And as I continue down this road to self-understanding, honesty, love and acceptance, I’m going to continue to ask the tough questions because that’s the first step toward finding the answers.

Does this self-reflection make sense to anyone else?  Do you crave more than you need?

 

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39 Comments

  • Reply
    Sierra
    August 18, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I totally understand! Clothes, shoes, bags, etc….I have a problem with eating too. I think sometimes it’s important to know why you are doing something, but you can also think about it too much. Like me. I know why I do some things, but then I don’t stop doing them. That’s where I need to be more like you and say, “You know what? It doesn’t matter why….it matters that I stop doing it.” Thanks for this post. Maybe I need to be my own mom to myself: “Why? Because I’m the mom, that’s why!” LOL

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Well, I have no intentions of giving up shopping…ha I just think it’s important to know why I do what I do…and in some areas, change is required…I’m just working through the differences..

  • Reply
    Corinthe
    August 18, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Yup, I hear you on craving things and wanting to have possessions-my problem is gadgets, music, movies & books…nothing size related you note. I don’t understand it, although I have noticed that the more out of control I feel weight wise, the more money I spend…seeking control where I feel like I can’t get it by controlling my food intake?

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Interesting self-reflection….

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    August 18, 2011 at 2:03 am

    I definitely crave more than I need… tonight I HAD to get some new Lancome makeup cuz they were having the free gift with purchase. That is not a NEED purchase, it’s a WANT purchase – yet the idea of pretty new things is so… satisfying. I’ve really cut back on my shopping, but the siren song of TJ Maxx and Macy’s still lures me in all too frequently. Thank god I’m at least a bargain shopper. But I think this materialistic need is also linked to the food habit – interesting correlation. Are we just lovers of fine things, things that make us happy? I know many times I’ll eat something because it tastes good or it’s a pleasant experience, which is not the right reason to eat.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      I’m trying to figure out the correlation, but yeah…I think it’s probably inadvertently related…

  • Reply
    Katie
    August 18, 2011 at 5:16 am

    I hear ya! I am especially bad when I am really busy or particularly stressed because I justify that I “deserve” certain things for working so hard, but it’s more likely junk food than anything else (chocolate especially). For me, I would rather go pick out new nail polish or a new top than have the mindset that I have deserve food that’s not good for me just because I am extra stressed or tired, but I see what you are saying in that whether it’s buying something new or eating something decadent, it’s relating to the same mental processing somewhere that is causing the feelings of needing/wanting more. I guess if I have that mindset sparingly, it doesn’t seem that bad, but it’s not something I want to do all the time/several times a week. I don’t really have any advice, but I know what you mean!

    KT

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      I think it’s okay too within reason….

  • Reply
    Joan
    August 18, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Sometimes I think we are sisters separated at birth. Our experiences for craving “more” seem to be identical. I always think I have to have the newest, latest and greatest, whatever it is. I always want more including food. If you get this figured out please post because I’ve been searching the the answer to why for years.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      If I ever figure it, I’ll tell the world..ha 😉

  • Reply
    SeattleRunnerGirl
    August 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I definitely still struggle with always wanting MORE, though less than I used to. One of the things I figured out through therapy, writing, reading, and a lot of self-reflection and prayer over the years is that for some reason, I grew up feeling like I somehow wasn’t enough. Like I was “less than.” And looking back on my childhood, I honestly can’t pinpoint where that lie took hold in my heart, because that message was NOT coming from my parents/family.

    Regardless, that is the lie that came to live in my heart…that I wasn’t enough. That I wasn’t loved or loveable just as I was. And my child’s way of coping with that was to “fill myself up” with other stuff so that I FELT like enough. Only I never really did feel like enough, you know?

    Fast-forward to/through adulthood, and the coping mechanism that made sense as a child was destroying my health (100+ pounds overweight), my finances, and my self-esteem. I can’t say when, exactly, I realized the root of my problems, and I can’t even say I’ve got it all figured out. But slowly I did realize and figure and just have my eyes opened to where this dysfunction was coming from.

    So for me, part of the journey HAD to include the why…because knuckling through and controlling my behavior through willpower only worked for so long until it didn’t and then I spiraled back to where I had started (or worse). And it wasn’t enough to KNOW why, I had to start healing the parts of me that had been damaged by that lie.

    Sorry to make this so long, but just wanted to share my story of what this “more” thing was about and how I started down the path of figuring it out, learning to love myself (after all, if God loves us every one, who are WE to question our loveability?!), etc.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      I’m trying to heal the parts of me that have been damaged in similar ways…it’s not easy, but I think it’s so important so I’m trying. Thank you for being such an inspiration and reminding me that I’m not alone.

  • Reply
    Leslie
    August 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I recognize this feeling, in so many ways. And I agree with SeattleRunnerGirl – we can learn to control it, but until we get to the WHY, it won’t ever really be contained. I’m trying to think and pray about it more, but I have a long way to go.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      It seems like we have to be uncomfortable for a while to get more comfortable with ourselves…

  • Reply
    Gail @ Shrinking Sisters
    August 18, 2011 at 9:56 am

    “Why do I crave so much more than I need?”

    Yep!

    I notice that when I get sucked into weekend-long marathoners of Hoarders, many of the people on the show are overweight. They just can’t stop accumulating things — whether it be dolls, plastic shopping bags or excess weight.

    But I find that when I “purge” myself of excess clothes, handbags, shoes, etc., I feel much better — lighter, even. And when that happens on the scale it’s the same feeling.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Well, you know… I’m very minimalist…I have things that I really like, or I don’t have them…no room for junk….junk stresses me out. Maybe that’s a good thing..

  • Reply
    Hilary @ The Big Weight
    August 18, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I completely agree with this. I am the same when it comes to shopping (and eating obviously). But with shopping, it’s definitely a “feel good” addiction for me. I shop to make myself feel better. Fortunately I don’t think it’s too large of a problem because I shop within reason – I’m not racking up credit card debt of any kind, but still, just because I’m not going in to debt doesn’t mean it’s okay either. Great post!

  • Reply
    Heather
    August 18, 2011 at 10:14 am

    It is interesting Kenlie.
    When I was overweight, I surrounded myself with things that always “fit”…
    handbags, makeup, shoes, technology, you name it. I felt like I had to have everything right NOW!
    Now that I am maintaning my goal weight, I do not think twice about that stuff.
    I do not obsess on what my next meal will be or what I just ate.
    For now, I just *be*…..
    I hope it sticks because it feels right.
    Good Luck Mama!

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      That’s interesting and awesome to hear…I hope it sticks too…I have always loved shopping, and I’m okay with that…I just want to be healthy about it..you know? Trying to learn who and what I am…

      • Reply
        Sarah
        August 20, 2011 at 10:07 am

        I’m with Heather on this one. I can’t tell you the number of things I pick up and put down now. Just like food at the grocery store that I don’t really need the same goes for Macy’s Banana Republic and Sephora. It was a subtle shift, but like food, purchases require conscious decision. That and the husband always saying to me, don’t you already own something like this! lol.

  • Reply
    Jane
    August 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I was always /craving seeking more: more love, more food, more things. If I could not have love I could eat. If I put down the food I wanted to shop and get stuff, or travel – travel was great because it was a combo of activity, food and stuff.

    In 2006 I finally understood there could never be enough as long as I was jumping from replacement to replacement. I had to learn to not have the food without picking up a new distraction. I had to find a way to nourish my spirit without filling my body, my closet or my credit cards. I know I am doing well when I accept who I am at this moment and enjoy my life without craving and without excess. It is a hard but wonderful journey and I enjoy every step today.

    Keep going Kenlie!

    Jane~
    Keepingthepoundsoff.com

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      August 21, 2011 at 6:28 am

      Wow Jane…that is incredible…I hope I can say that in truth someday soon..

  • Reply
    Brooke
    August 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Ever read this short story called “The Yellow Wallpaper?” Well, I did in college and had to write a paper about the meaning behind it. I remember that my English professor was impressed with my analysis. It was somewhat about how wallpaper was decoration and how women were more of a decoration in that time period, so the women seeing herself in the wallpaper trying to get out was her trying to escape the mold that society had placed her in.

    I think we all have this problem. I recgonized it in myself when I got old enough to afford to pay for my own clothes. I use them to decorate myself. If I put pretty clothes on, fix my hair up, do my make up, my nails etc. I’m kinda decorating myself to cover up what I don’t want people to see. Kinda like a putting a table in front of a crack in the wall. Once I figured that out, I was able to change how I saw my cravings for clothes. That’s why I changed my style. I started wearing the belted look, I put on some leggins (Oh yes I did), wore shorter dresses (despite my pale legs and knee hangage), and wore tank tops without shrugs. Its a process, but I find myself getting bolder, breaking my own mold and not decorating myself to hide behind it, but presenting myself for who I am and what I look like.

  • Reply
    Betsy
    August 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt!!! Often, I think I feel like if I own cute shoes, it makes me cute. If I have a gorgeous purse, it makes me gorgeous. If my makeup is pretty, I am pretty. So when I am feeling bad about myself, fat, ugly, tired, mean, whatever, I am often prone to shopping indulgences. Its like somehow, those having those things will make me a better person.

    I feel like I’ve been able to get a handle on this now though. For me, its taken a lot of self love. Learning to love myself despite my flaws, and realizing I’m effing awesome with-or-with-out a new pair of stilettos.

  • Reply
    Bella
    August 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I absolutely crave more than I need. I always have a mental list going of things I’m going to buy next. My cousin is the same way – she cannot walk into any store without buying “a little something” from it. She gives fantastic gifts, but I have wondered what the deal was with that. After reading your post, I wonder if the issue is more widespread than I first realized. My cousin is also a plus-sized, single woman, so maybe the need to consume (in this case buy) helps all of us replace other things that we feel we’re missing in our lives? Very interesting stuff! I hope you keep asking the difficult questions.

  • Reply
    tiffany
    August 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I think, at some level, that we all crave more than we need. I try to balance my craving for new clothes/shoes, etc. by donating what I don’t use or wear as much. My rule is…if something new goes in the closet, something old has to come out. I make sure the items I donate are in clean, good condition. I donate furniture, appliances, clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. to our local goodwill-type store. The proceeds from that store helps the mentally handicapped in our community so it’s a good program to support. 🙂

  • Reply
    teresa
    August 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I think it’s natural to crave new sensations or familiar sensations that feel good. We’re alive and we want to feel. I totally relate to what you describe. I crave colors, textures… in things as much as foods. Sometimes I believe my intense desire for pleasure is more of an issue with my food addiction than any of the emotional issues I have around food. If I don’t address that, then I can’t diet, because it’s not okay to deprive myself of pleasure. I get pissed off.
    Of course, we can’t indulge in shopping any more than eating. I try to satisfy the need with small things.
    The partner is a unique desire and I hope you find the right person to give you that kind of affection.

  • Reply
    auntiekim
    August 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I’m wracking my brain trying to determine if this is me. I honestly don’t think it is, but who knows? Maybe I’m deluding myself. I’m constantly trying to get rid of the stuff I have and donate it. HOWEVER, I have a serious travel bug and if I don’t have at least one vacation planned at all times I get super depressed. So, maybe this is me afterall! Are you in some sort of a support group? The online support you get here is fantastic but there’s no substitute for sitting in a room full of other people all going through the same thing you are. I go to one monthly and I can’t tell you how beneficial it is. We talk about all kinds of stuff like this….things that may not outwardly seem weight-related but they actually are. I’m glad you’re going to the Slimmons stuff. That’s great. I need to get my butt into a group exercise class. The shared experience is very similar to the support group setting.

  • Reply
    NZLisa
    August 18, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    I hear ya – my excercise routine can be perfect and exactly what I need and then I go and blow it on my bad food choices.
    I know I want to be thin but why do I overeat or overspend! (altho with a family I can’t overspend to much but I do not make wise choices when I do spend -ie nothing to show for it except a bigger belly!)
    I am reading a book by Geneen Roth – Lost and Found – Unexpected revelations about money and food . to try and see if it helps me
    She also has one called Women Food and God – which I have heard lots of great reviews about, but have not yet read
    Good luck with the journey

  • Reply
    Patty (135by2012)
    August 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    It totally makes sense to me. I need instant gratification/satisfaction for three things: material/luxuries, food and approval.

    I have been working on the material things, debating the need vs want, and ultimately don’t buy it. I have long term goals and bills to pay that force me to do better in this area.

    Food is another struggle that I have gotten better with, have a long way to go. For example, if I have cookies, cake, etc. ready to go for me to eat, I will have that first, because it takes no effort to make and I am instantly satisfied that I ate something. I can keep those things out of my house, but I am just avoiding the problem that way. Not dealing with the issue. I need to figure out how to fight the fight and win to be truly successful.

    I seek approval or praise constantly and can get a little discouraged when I don’t get it. I honestly think it is one of the reasons why I started a blog. I wanted encouragement and praise when I was doing well. I have to learn to acknowledge my achievements and not rely on others to make me feel good about myself.

  • Reply
    Tammy
    August 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    My weakness is clothes and shoes! I should have been a celebrity so that I never had to wear the same outfit twice! Last year, when I lost weight, I bought a lot of cute clothes. I haven’t bought much this year because I feel bad that I can’t wear the ones I have. I’m working towards getting back into them because they are still cute!

  • Reply
    KCLAnderson (Karen)
    August 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I can relate to this SO much!! When I first started losing weight back in 2005-06 I started shopping all the time…I’d look for any excuse to shop and I started to realize that I was replacing eating with shopping…it was like I just couldn’t be with myself…I needed to be constantly distracted, not to mention needing to feel “full” whether it was with food or things. I think there was also an element of feeling that, on my own, I wasn’t “enough.” And the constant need for approval/reassurance from others…but I honestly feel that the more aware of all of this I become, the better I do.

    And I can relate to Patty’s comment above, about how blogging fulfills that need in me. I view it as a positive…

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Kenlie, thanks for being so transparent. I am on the journey to healthy living as well and I’ve struggled my whole life. This summer, I read a book called Breaking Free by Beth Moore that has truly answered the “why” for me. So now that I know, I am working to re-pattern my life and live in the fullness of life that I was designed to experience. Check it out if you have the opportunity.

  • Reply
    Tricia
    August 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I found all those wants (men, spending, wine) were satisfied when i turned to God for a closer relationship. He satisfies all the desires for love because His love is endless. And he loves us more than we can ever understand and He wants us to love ourselves as much as He loves us!

  • Reply
    Tanya
    August 18, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I can TOTALLY relate!! Reading this post I was thinking that it could have been written by ME! Sometimes I think the buying things is us trying to fill a void in our lives… at least you (we!) recognize this as an issue 🙂 Good luck!

  • Reply
    Jill
    August 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I used to crave more than I needed – but life threw my family a curve ball and out of necessity we had to stop our ways and survive only on the bare essentials. I had to sell my truck to pay bills, so we turned into a 1 car household. We gave up Tv, cell phones, eating out, and movies. Along with that, we gave up many friends who weren’t willing to stay with us during this time. We started selling anything that wasn’t nailed to the floor to make some extra cash.

    I’m glad that happened. It gave me perspective on what is truly important and taught me how to make the most out of what I have. I’m proud to say that I am now debt free. With that freedom comes a new challenge. My fiance is going back to school in 2 weeks and we’re taking on a student loan debt, but we’re not intimidated. We know how to kill this debt, too.

    We’re not thru with my downsizing plan… it’s like a flood gate has opened. I’m always posting something to sell on craigslist. Or we have yard sales every weekend. So much relief to know I’m not weighed down by all this stuff.

    But get this, I don’t feel this guilt for buying anymore. Because I am always selling or donating something. The money I make from yard sales or craigslist goes to getting something that we really need. Sometimes just want.

    See, I learned that when you get rid of something, it opens the doors for something new (and perhaps better) to come into your life. There’s this blog I read that’s been inspirational, as far as “stuff” goes. A little extreme for me, but I give this family props! ZERO WASTE HOME! Crazy right?? As far as food…. hmmm, that isn’t my main struggle, but I do get moments!! Working out is my arch nemesis! I stopped working out last march and haven’t really lost any weight since. I don’t know why I stopped because I felt so much better when I did it. Why can’t I start again??? Why do I keep pushing it off until “tomorrow” ???

    http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/2011/03/yahoo-video.html

  • Reply
    Ryan Yewell
    August 19, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Heya Kenlie…

    From your post and the comments… It appears I need to be thankful for my absolute loathing of shopping 😉

    But I do think it is actually a part of human nature to want more… If we didn’t, we probably would still be floating around in a bacterial soup, I think our creativity/vision/desires are both positive, but also can come up in ways that are self-harming.

    The first step of any process is self-awareness, and it sounds like you are already there, so you’re on your way…

    I definitely have my yearning moments… I’ve found that as I’ve shifted to a healthier lifestyle, put good food in the fridge and cupboards, hit the gym, etc. it’s become easier to let go of desiring things like hitting the drive thru…

    Keep yourself in good places, make sure you are surrounding yourself with healthy food, healthy people, healthy activities, and over time, it will get easier.

    It will never go away, we will always want something… I think there’s been very few people on the planet that ever learned to completely remove all desire/suffering from their souls, but IT WILL GET EASIER, just keep yourself on the path, and find as many moments as you can to be thankful for the time we get to spend together 🙂
    Ryan

  • Reply
    KLA
    August 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Funny, I was just thinking about this. I would wander through Grocery stores, dollar stores, convenience stores and food courts hunting for something to eat, constantly battling overwheming cravings. I also wandered through Walmart and shopping mall stores with the same craving/need to buy something. It certainly didn’t take much convincing on my part to buy something to eat and /or buy some thing that I just had to have. From CBT, I found out that I overeat and binge to alleviate anxiety. Now that the cravings for food have significantly decreased, my need to buy something has also decreased. I’m thinking that I also craved buying stuff to alleviate anxiety as well.

  • Reply
    nikkianne
    August 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I totally understand! Although it usually expresses itself in food rather than things for me, it comes from two areas of emotion.
    1. I DESERVE it. If I’m struggling in life, I often indulge in food. I need food to eat, I may as well treat myself in that area, right? A HUGE part of how I ended up weighing 264 lbs
    2. I feel DEPRIVED. This one, for me is more about listening to my body and isn’t something I was able to identify until I started on my healthiness journey. In order to lose weight I had to cut back on a few faves: chocolate, ice cream, pasta, chips, alcohol. I always try to resist any cravings I get, but there are some that I need to indulge in or I feel deprived and feeling deprived leads to overindulging.

    Where this sense of entitlement comes from, I’m not entirely sure. But I’m trying to work around it.

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