I don't know about you, but a lot of the time my cravings for foods change on a daily basis. The standard way we think of dieting really doesn't support being able to address cravings. If you're trying to reign in your random acts of eating and maintain some sort of control....you can't possibly just go with the flow of your cravings, right?
I think that is true for some people---the people who have not really reached a good healthy comfortable relationship with food. So, the first goal, is to make peace with food and eating (remember the post about not fighting?). Food isn't the enemy, and its even difficult to explain what it feels like when you've surrendered the fight----but when you do, you'll know. I talked to someone this week who is so excited about her new perspective on eating and success at weight loss without a single bit of restriction, that she could barely stop herself from announcing it to the whole office.
If you're still trying to reach this comfort level with food, keep at it. Try new things. Remind yourself to love and forgive yourself when you think you've screwed up---and then stay positive.
For those of us who are at a higher comfort level now, don't deny your cravings! A couple days ago, I bought some pine nuts with the intention of adding them to salad---instead I ate about half a cup of them by themselves. Later, I read an article about recovering from holiday eating and one of the tips was to eat pine nuts---great! But then it said to eat about a teaspoon of them a day to stave off hunger. Oops! For about 15 seconds, I got that old guilty feeling and started to strategize about fitting in an extra workout----then I relaxed. So what if I ate extra pine nuts? I'd just eat less later, and maybe workout a little harder if I felt like it.
The point is to eat what you want, with balance in mind. Today, I had hot chocolate for breakfast because we ran out of coffee---did I really need all that sugar? No, but I wanted it! I'll balance it all out later with carrots, and I enjoyed it more by not feeling guilty about it.