The other day while I was about to leave my client's house after exercising her dogs, she suddenly starts talking to me about the ice cream she was eating. The scenario went:
G: You know, I was only going to eat 2 bites of this ice cream. And look how much is left. (she raises up the pint of ice cream to show me)
Me: (feeling slightly awkward) Ice cream is good.
G.: I just can't help it. I was craving it and was only going to eat 2 bites. Then, I just can't help it-can't stop myself until it is gone."
Me: Well, indulging is good to do every once in awhile. There's nothing wrong with it.
G.: I just have no control when it comes to ice cream, and especially chocolate raspberry. Sometimes I wish J. (husband) would not buy it.
Me: Well, he buys it because he knows you like it.
G.: Yes, but too much.
G. finishes the ice cream and then she says very cheerfully,
"I have this trick I play on J. I put the empty carton back in the fridge. I don't think he' ll ever notice. Well, once he noticed and asked why I put an empty carton back in the fridge. I said so he wouldn't buy me anymore."
My client's thinking is no different than most of the people I know, and it reminds me how much my view is not in the norm. Certainly, I have thought exactly like how this client has. In that time period of my life, I almost loathed myself for craving something, because I knew I could never have it in my mind. For a long time, I had a horrible craving for peanut butter, but I would never touch the stuff--too fattening, I'd eat it all, etc. And it just fueled the fire more.
Besides the fact that my body needed fat, I had really liked peanut butter (and still do) prior to ED, but it didn't seem right of me to actually indulge myself. For some reason, that word left a feeling of selfishness in my head that I was simply not allowed. I'm learning now that it is okay to indulge myself more regularly--a coffee toffee heath bar ice cream freezee at Wendy's (yummy), an outing of retail therapy, a day of being unproductive after a long week, etc. I still have my hang-ups, but they are less and with much less wrath on myself than I used to be.
I think what people forget is that the word "crave" and "indulge" don't have to have the negative connotations that they seem to carry in this society. There's a sense of "naughtiness" to them and that it always has to be based on rewards. I hope we can start leaving the morality behind, because we truly do not need it. We need to crave, indulge, and simply enjoy, and none of these things have to be based on food. And even if they are, there is nothing wrong with it.
What do you crave in life? What are your indulgences? Has your view of cravings and indulgences changed in recovery?