Do some craving fights NOT need to be fought?

by Kim on January 29, 2014

I have a little love-hate relationship going on with—of all things—the library. (First of all: how nerdy is it to have a relationship, of any kind, with the library?)

I love that I can read books for free, but hate that I can neeeever read them fast enough and keep having to max out my renewals and then—still—send them back unfinished.

First world problems, I know…

Case in point: Jillian Michael’s Unlimited, which I think I recently told you I was reading. Well, I can report that the first 100 or so pages were pretty darn thought-provoking, but the rest? Who knows. Ask the next person in line to read it, who will probably be much better at managing their time than I was.

Luckily, I still get my share of Jillian. I’m a devoted podcast listener, and haven’t missed an episode since the day I started my job (and my 30-minute commute).


I’m sure she’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think this woman is just crazy smart. I don’t even care about her training tips that much anymore—it’s her life coaching that blows me away. If only we were all raised by mothers who are also therapists (I’m sure that helped).

Anyway. In the episode I listened to today, Jillian responded to a caller’s question in what I thought was a pretty surprising way.

The caller had a typical complaint: she was pretty good at working out and watching what she ate during the day, but at night, her dedication started to waver and she’d start giving in to cravings. (Her examples were “two glasses of wine” and “some cheese and crackers while preparing dinner.”) What should she do??

I totally expected J to give the obvious responses: drink a bunch of water first, try to distract yourself with something that’s rewarding but not food (a bath, a magazine, a TV show), bla bla bla you’ve heard it all a million times.

Instead, she asked the woman if she had weight to lose (she didn’t) and whether she was really bingeing on these craving foods (she wasn’t).

And then she said, you know what: you’re fine. It’s totally healthy to have your “treats” in moderation. That’s called living a balanced life.

balanced not perfect

Eating a 100% flawless clean diet all day and maintaining an outrageously fit figure—that’s not balanced. Your body, in its natural, happy state, doesn’t want to be like that (if you’re a woman anyway), and it’ll fight you tooth and nail on it.

Plus, deprivation just for the sake of deprivation is only going to drive you nuts.

So the question becomes: are your cravings truly unhealthy and something that needs to be overcome, or are you just being a perfectionist?

When J asked why the lady wanted to stop, she said it was because she felt frustrated by her lack of willpower and guilty about her “slips.”

Sounds like perfectionism to me.

I’m totally guilty of this myself. Lately, I’ve been really thinking about going on a sugar detox (this one, specifically) with the goal of training myself to keep my hands out of the chocolate chips in the pantry.

But really, how bad is a handful of chocolate chips here and there? Is it truly sabotaging me, or am I just resentful of the habit because it makes me feel “out of control” in a small way?

What do you think? Are all cravings creating equal?

When should you indulge vs. fight?

At what point is it time to shut down a treat habit?

Do you consider yourself a diet nit-picker or a comfortably moderate eater?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

(P.S. I’m still thinking about that detox…)


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ Lisa Living Well January 30, 2014 at 9:05 pm

I am totally a library geek–I check out DVDs, CDs, and cookbooks there at least once or twice a week. I thought Unlimited was an excellent book, so check it out again and finish it! I also like Jillian’s podcasts and learn a lot from them.
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Giselle@myhealthyhappyhome January 30, 2014 at 7:59 pm

I can so relate to that woman and definitely appreciate Jillian’s response. I have actually been struggling with that a little since I tried to start the Whole30 again but failed. I’ve been giving into my wine and chocolate (or Paleo) treat cravings from time to time. Which when I thought about it the other day really aren’t that bad if you look at what other people are giving into on a daily basis! I’m healthy, happy with my weight, feel good so why worry right?!?
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Kim January 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I love Jillian Michaels!!!
I tend to agree with her – no need to give up our “treats” if the only reason we feel like we should is so that we can say we are following a set plan. I enjoy we evening glass of wine or cocktail and plan to continue to enjoy it.
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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries January 30, 2014 at 11:26 am

I love this topic! Thanks for sharing Jillian Michael’s podcast with us. I love her too! I used to TOTALLY be one of those diet nit-picky people. Yikes. It was bad. I would make myself feel so guilty about the stupidest little things, and then it would spiral out of control into a binge and/or beating myself up about it. Thankfully I’m past all of that, and I’m content with an “everything in moderation” approach. I know I’m never going to have the PERFECT, ripped body, and I really don’t want that to be honest! It takes way too much work, and I love sugar too much. ;) But I do desire to have a healthy and energetic body that lives a long life and can be a good example to my kids. To me, this means everything in moderation. I try to live the “80/20 mindset”, but sometimes it’s more like 60/40 while other times it’s 90/10 – whatever, it all averages out. I mean, yes, there’s days where I have ice cream for dinner and realize, “oh crap, I need to work on doing better tomorrow”, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I enjoy that ice cream and move on. So there’s my two cents. ;)
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Larissa January 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

I am 100% NOT a fighter. I can not stick with a resolution to “never” or “always” do something. Some people work better way; I don’t. Simply put, the emotional stress that puts me through is absolutely not worth it. So yes, I will have that handful of chocolate chips (totally do that too!) and I will have chips and salsa and I will have a beer, and no, I will not feel guilty about it. I’m healthy, I’m active, my body can handle some “pleasure” calories and my emotional state is much happier. Moderation and balance, not perfection. I love that.
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Ali January 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

I love the Jillian Michaels podcast! I think she’s brilliant and not the hardass that she appears to be on the Biggest Loser. I think she’s much “softer” than that and I love her.
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Katie @ running4cupcakes January 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

#1. I love that you love and hate the library. I am thankful that our library does not have late fines otherwise I would be losing lots of $$. #2. I love Jill too – and I love her responses to questions – they aren’t canned, they are honest and truthful and often times outside of the typical response that you think you should get.


Fiona January 30, 2014 at 7:51 am

I am totally guilty of a ‘snack’ while making dinner and I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one! Damn that Jillian, just when I think I’m done with her, she pulls me back in ! Great post!


Kim January 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

Hahaha you can’t shake Jill!


Caroline January 30, 2014 at 12:11 am

I definitely eat unhealthy foods, but balance it with the good stuff. I love Jillian’s podcast too and listen every week on my runs!
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