Jan 27

Overcoming Unhealthy Temptations & Cravings

This week’s [optional] theme for the Fit Dish link up (hosted by Jill Conyers @ JillConyers.com, &ย Jessicaย Joy @ TheFitSwitch.org) is…Overcoming Unhealthy Temptations & Cravings.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am super, super food-motivated.

Where others may dream of spending their hard-earned money (and in my case, imaginary-government money) on pretty clothes or shoes, manicures and makeup…most, if not all of my “fun budget” (as one of the residents I talked with puts it) goes towards food and groceries (mostly the latter, since I rarely go out to eat).

When I was 3, I may or may not have offered up my arm for a shot because I saw that my brother had gotten a lollipop out of it. Whilst living with Linda (my former housemate/adopted family in WV/reason why I lived at a cat shelter for several months) at Please Save A Cat, we’d constantly be planning our next meal while eating our current one.

In fact, if not for my love of performing arts and volunteering (e.g. International Festival to fundraise for my medical service trip to the Dominican Republic & Follies to raise money for the women’s shelter/so I could perform at Carnegie Hall), the only photos the school photographer would have of me would be me surrounded by, or eating copious amounts of food.

My motivation for working out is partially fueled by my desire to get to eat more. I’m also a major social eater. (Basically, if food is in front of me, I will eat it.)

So how the hecks do I combat this?

  • The “everything in moderation” philosophy. I don’t like the idea of complete restricting what I eat because it usually just tends to make me crave it more. I followed IIFYM for a while back when I was getting myself in shape for a ring girl competition and it yielded pretty awesome results. These days, however, I’m honestly too lazy to weigh my food and log everything. I might get back into it one day, but at present, I think what I follow is a lot closer to “intuitive eating.”


Pull Up Competition

I did 10! ๐Ÿ˜€


  • Drink more water! It’s more hot tea than water right now because I’m a wimp when it comes to cold-weather living. My recent bout of a busted lip due to not-enough-water where my lip would crack again every time I smiled, has served as wonderful motivation to keep myself hydrated. (+ if you don’t want the kids/babies at the peds clinic you’re rotating at to think you’re a monster, you can’t not smile. :[ )
  • A cheat meal/day once a week. I implemented this back in the day when I first started lifting weights/gettin’ my fitness on. On the whole, I actually really do enjoy healthy food, so my cheat meal/day generally just consists of eating much larger portions of healthy/healthy-ish food. (Saturday tends to be my cheat day because of church potlucks.)


  • Rid my apartment of unhealthy snacks and keep it stocked with healthy awesomeness. I think I’ve sent/given away pretty much all, if not most of the unhealthy things in my apartment. (I refuse to part with my Nutella or my Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter though.)

    For healthy snacks, I always try to have some sort of fruit or Greek yogurt hanging around in my apartment. I make my own “trail mixes” with mixed nuts + dried fruit, and pop my own popcorn. I also usually have lots of baby carrots and hummus on hand.

  • If it’s later in the evening/early morning…I brush my teeth. Sad as it may be, the sheer laziness from my not wanting to have to brush my teeth again stops me from pounding down the entire bag of Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark in one sitting.

As some of you might know, I’m participating in Sweat Pink’s #NoExcuses challenge, and since Tuesday has pretty much become my fitness post of the week, I’m going to take a little time to go into why I’m doing it.

Aside from all the benefits I learned about back in exercise biology, my reasoning is very simple.

How often do you see the statement, “Please consult your physician or health care provider before starting a health or fitness/wellness program,” written after every diet plan and workout program there is out there?

How much do physicians know about all these programs that keep popping up?

In the first two years of medical school, we learn the anatomy, the physiology, the pathology, the treatment, and all the nitty-gritty details behind a billion different conditions. In third and fourth year, we’re sent out into the real world to gain clinical experience, and how to actually treat patients. We’ve always been told to advocate exercise and healthier eating habits, but I’ve really only received maybe a handful of lectures on exercise and nutrition combined.

As an aspiring physician, I don’t ever want to have to tell a patient to “do as I say, not as I do.” I want to inspire them by leading by example. I want to learn as much as I can about fitness and nutrition so that I’ll actually know what I’m talking about when I suggest exercises and meals to them, or when they ask me about different programs that they’re interested in.

That’s what fuels me. <3 I want to really make a positive difference in their lives.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.fairyburger.com/overcoming-unhealthy-temptations-cravings/


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  1. Gloria

    I’m with you on the teeth-brushing – I do the same thing in the evenings! I also don’t really keep anything unhealthy in the house, and like you, I really enjoy eating healthy. My one weakness is sweets, but I try to enjoy them in moderation and in a healthier way (chocolate covered almonds, for example).

    Love that you’re leading by example – I think all doctors should do the same ๐Ÿ™‚
    Gloria recently posted…This Weekend in Photos: January 23-26 โ€“ Ventura + Santa BarbaraMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Yay for chocolate covered almonds! That’s usually my compromise too, because sometimes, I really do just crave something dessert-y and indulgent.

      Thank you! <3 That's my hope!

  2. Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness

    When people ask me if I like to go shopping I say yes, only they don’t know it is grocery shopping that I like! I can spend hours at the grocery store but I cannot and will not wait to try on clothes at a clothes shop. ๐Ÿ™‚ Brushing my teeth also stops me from eating. Food tastes different after you brushed your teeth and to me it tastes quite bad. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness recently posted…Toppings are the Best PartMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I’m definitely the same way! I love love love grocery shopping, but have little patience for any other shopping (unless it’s online, because then I can multitask!).

  3. Sami

    Great tips! I definitely allow myself a cheat day…not just a cheat meal ๐Ÿ™‚ I also drink tea/coffee or chew gum when I’m craving sweets!
    Sami recently posted…Healthy Movie Night Popcorn!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Cheat days are the best! ๐Ÿ˜€ I wish I could chew gum, but it just seems to make me hungrier! :[

  4. Susie @ SuzLyfe

    Thank you for making the active and conscious choice to not be the obese, chain smoking physician (or nurse) outside during lunch break. Plus I think that knowing what goes into the “struggle” will also make you that much better as well.

    And you are beast mode in that pull up picture!

    1. Farrah

      That’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid, since I see that way more often than I’d like. (Why?!) If I’m not doing what I’m advising them to do, what reason would they have to listen to me?

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€ I beasted that pullup competition and won lots of free things. <3!

  5. jess meddows

    The cheat meal is what keeps me going with healthy eating, too. I find that I really do genuinely like healthy foods, and then I have bizarre cravings for salt and oil. And when I’ve had my cheat meal, I feel kinda gross afterwards and ask myself why I needed to do that! Oh, except for when I eat Mexican. No regrets ever with Mexican, hehehehe ๐Ÿ˜€
    jess meddows recently posted…Bangkok Airways & Qantas Business Class Chiang Mai to SydneyMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Hahaha, same here! Unless it was poorly made Mexican food (nooo). I also adore frozen yogurt! <3

  6. Kate @KateMovingForward

    Hey! Stopping by from the Fit Dish! I love your attitude and approach to healthy living–you’ll be an awesome and informed doctor and I’m sure your future patients will love you for it! I also try to keep all tempting stuff out of the house for the most part; if I really want ice cream then I have to drag my butt to dairy queen 15 minutes away! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Kate @KateMovingForward recently posted…Overcoming Unhealthy Temptations and CravingsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! I really hope I can inspire at least a couple of em’! :D! I’m like that too, haha. Playing into the laziness that I know I’m prone to really helps! ;P

  7. Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite

    I love that you want to live what you preach as a physician! I wish that nutrition and exercise were more emphasized in health professional education (all education, actually) because it is so so critical! Especially with the transition to preventative medicine. You’ll be a great example for your future patients ๐Ÿ™‚
    Elizabeth @ Enjoy Every Bite recently posted…Super Eats For Super Bowl SundayMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I really wish that too! :[ I guess the thought process behind why there’s no super-detail in med school is that there’s so much other stuff to learn already that they figure dietitians, personal trainers, etc. can do the rest. I want at least a baseline knowledge of everything though! :] And thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€ I really hope so!

  8. Erin@BeetsPerMinute

    I love this!. I love the bit about taking a shot for the lollipop – so funny! I also think my workouts can be driven by what food I want to eat, but I have to always keep it in check personally because of my past ED. It sounds as though you have a really great, balanced approach to food! Food is great and it makes life great, and we should all enjoy it in the most sensible ways.

    I’m also with you on nut and cookie butters; they don’t leave my cabinet. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Erin@BeetsPerMinute recently posted…How To Overcome Unhealthy Food Temptations and CravingsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! I like the “everything in moderation” principle for precisely that reason–it helps to keep everything in check! <3 I think my parents had vague concerns when I was little that I would run off with strangers if they offered me food. ._.

  9. Mary Beth Jackson

    you are going to make a great doctor! I love that you want to lead by example and show your patients what a healthy life looks like. No one wants to go the doctor and get a lecture about eating better and getting more exercise when your doctor looks like they couldn’t run a mile if you set their ass on fire! Great post girlie, I mean doctor!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Sick leave and unhealthy temptations!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thanks so much! :] I really hope so! That’s how I feel–the hope is that if I’m doing what I tell them to do too, mayyybe they’ll see that it’s not impossible! Baby steps! :]

  10. Natasha Mila

    I completely agree that you should not completely restrict something from your diet! As soon as I do that, all I crave is that restricted item.
    Natasha Mila recently posted…5 Ways to Educate with Paper ClipsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Yes indeed! That being said, I do go on binges sometimes. My love for ice cream/frozen yogurt is rather strong!

  11. Alli

    I’m such a foodie, but I try to eat whole, healthy, good for me foods. When my grown children come to spend the weekend they keep looking in the pantry and asking where the food (junk) is. I point them to the large fruit basket on the counter or the bag of raw nuts. I also pop my own popcorn. Great tips.
    Alli recently posted…I Was Almost CardedMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      That’s awesome! ๐Ÿ˜€ I don’t plan on having kids, but if I ever get my own place and have guests over, that’s gonna happen to them too! ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. Jessica Joy @The Fit Switch

    Farrah, I love how you have found a healthy balance for you. Love the cheat meal. Those are nice. And, love the brushing your teeth idea. Also, what is Trader Joes Cookie butter? Oh wow, sounds like heaven. Haha. And, I can commend you enough for being the best upcoming physician you can be. You, are a superstar. How lucky they will be to have you on their side! Keep it up!
    Jessica Joy @The Fit Switch recently posted…How To Overcome Unhealthy Food CravingsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! <3! Trader Joe's has this awesome cookie spread that's like nut butter...but made from cookies. It's basically like crack in a jar. Word on the street is that they apparently have a cookies & creme flavor now!! *-*! I wish the closest TJ wasn't 2 hours away!

  13. Jenn

    Brushing your teeth is one I had forgotten to use!! It really works! I too love cheat meals, and will never give up my Friday night Pizza tradition ๐Ÿ™‚
    Jenn recently posted…Managing Cravings โ€“ #Dishthefit Link Up!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      For sure! Gotta have those cheat meals in our lives! ;P

  14. Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    The brushing the teeth trick totally works or even gum. Sometimes I want something sweet and a piece of gum satisfies me.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…5 Tips to control cravingsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I really wish the gum one worked for me! I used to do that to help me stay awake in my less-riveting classes, but it made me super hungry! :[

  15. Ana Valentin

    Loved this post! I recently decided to become vegetarian and that means scouring my cupboard for all animal products ( I’m restricting cheese and I loathe milk anyway) so a lot of this applies. I bought some hummus which I’m excited to try!
    Ana Valentin recently posted…Gossip Girl Day Link Up!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      That definitely helps! ๐Ÿ˜› Hummus is awesome! I hope you like it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. Sonali- The Foodie Physician

    Farrah, you really are an inspiration! And I’m continually blown away by all of the things you have done and tried. A ring girl…OMG, that’s amazing! I love the brushing your teeth trick, that actually might work for me too ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Farrah

      Aww, thanks so much, Sonali! <3 My ring girl stint started off as an attempt to win some monies to pay for a tinytiny fraction of student loans, har har. ๐Ÿ˜›

      Hope it helps you too! It works especially well for me because it feels like such a hassle to have to do something again when I've already done it.

  17. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    Totally with you on the spending budget ๐Ÿ˜‰ It all goes to food!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…All You Need Is MomentumMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      We definitely have our priorities straight! :]!

  18. Linda @ TheFitty

    I am incredibly food driven too! When I get my paycheck I think about going to whole foods and eating copious amounts of food lol! We could be mates(and hey, my name’s Linda too…)

    I did not know you had a passion for performing arts. I’m going into musical theatre!
    Linda @ TheFitty recently posted…The 3 Secret Ingredients For Perfect Chocolate Chili!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, yes indeed! I tend to get along with pretty much anyone that loves food, because we’ll always have a very enjoyable pastime/activity in common! ๐Ÿ˜›

      That’s awesome! <3 Music Performance was one of my majors back in undergrad, and I also love to dance! :] One of my pipe dreams is to be a singer, so I hope a parallel-universe me out there is doing it for me!

  19. diane

    Hello Farrah! For me, I really like your tip of ridding your apartment of the junk! If it’s in my pantry…I WILL EAT IT! My husband brings something home, I swear I won’t touch it, I think about it day and night until I demolish it! No good can come of junk in my cupboards! Have a great week!!
    diane recently posted…How Do You Overcome Unhealthy Cravings?My Profile

    1. Farrah

      That definitely happens to me too (except that I live alone, so the “junk” is really from events that had free food that I didn’t want to go to waste ๐Ÿ˜ก ). I’ve remedied this by bringing it into offices and potlucks! ๐Ÿ˜€ Win-win!

  20. alyssa

    I like that teeth-brushing tip. I feel like I would definitely be less likely to eat past 8pm if I brushed my teeth. Who wants to dirty freshly cleaned teeth!?

    1. Farrah

      Exactly! I gotta work with/play into that laziness! :]

  21. amanda turner

    I really really needed this today! Great post!
    amanda turner recently posted…Pinterest wins & fails…My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! Glad it was helpful! ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Rachel

    This post is great. I can totally relate. I love, love, LOVE food. And I also brush my teeth to avoid eating more! I’m totally lazy and I know once I brush my teeth, I don’t want to have to do it again. So glad someone else does this! Ha!

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, I’m so glad I’m not alone! Laziness breeds creativity sometimes! ;P

  23. Sharon

    Lots of great tips! Looks like we have a couple of ways to overcome unhealthy temptations that are similar. I have been drinking a lot of hot tea too lately! And I like to rid the house of unhealthy food. Love the teeth brushing idea!
    Sharon recently posted…5 Ways to Overcome Unhealthy Temptations or CravingsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Hot tea seriously makes me world go round right now. <3 It's definitely making this winter a little more bearable!

  24. Kaylin@EnticingHealthyEating

    I’m definitely more of a social eater and it’s been difficult for me to get over the habit of “If it’s right in front of me, eat it!” I feel like I’ve gotten much better though! Especially with this recent “diet” I’ve been doing where I cut out all processed foods, processed sugars, etc. There have been many extras of random things clients have catered at my work like cookies, donuts, sandwiches….etc. But I’ve turned them down!

    I really like what you pointed out though about how if you’re going to be a medical doctor and advise people on their health, it’s definitely best to be a good role model for that good health and happy/healthy lifestyle!
    Kaylin@EnticingHealthyEating recently posted…What I’ve Been Eating LatelyMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I am most definitely a social eater to the max, and am known among my friends as the resident food receptacle for any food that they can’t finish, because they know I’ll be able to finish it. (Good and bad, because yay for free food, but hello, unhealthy binge session.) That’s awesome that you’ve been able to turn it all down! I have a reallyyy hard time turning down free food, so I usually take it and ration it out, haha.

      Thanks! I really hope I can be a good one for them! :]!

  25. Emily @SinfulNutrition

    I’m right there with you on the hot tea this winter! OR just hot water with lemon. Or else I get brain freeze from trying to drink cold water, haha!
    Emily @SinfulNutrition recently posted…{Cabot} Mac & Cheese Jalapeno PoppersMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I need to drink more hot water with lemon! The only time I can drink cold water right now is if I’ve just finished a super-intense workout! ๐Ÿ˜›

  26. Jess @hellotofit

    The teeth-brushing is such a smart idea!! And I’m all about living a life in moderation…how can I ever say no to rich, creamy ice cream?? ๐Ÿ˜›
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Link Love #2 and a winter routineMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Exactly! ;P (As I was hugging my space heater, I was eating from a tiny tub of gelato, hahaha.)

  27. Emily @ My Healthyish Life

    I spend an embarrassingly large amount of money on food. I’d rather spend money on a good grocery run than clothes (how many people say that?!). These are great tips! When I don’t drink enough water I feel sluggish and suffer the (digestive) consequences
    Emily @ My Healthyish Life recently posted…Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert?My Profile

    1. Farrah

      hahaha, same here, so hooray for a fellow foodie! Food makes me way happier than clothes would (although if they’re super-cute workout clothes that are on clearance, that might tip the scale temporarily). The hydration part is definitely the one I need to work the hardest on!

  28. Kimberly Bolden

    You killed those pull-ups! You are my hero! I believe moderation is one of the keys to success.
    Kimberly Bolden recently posted…He Writes My Story โ€“ A TestimonyMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Thank you! :D! I wanted to prove that girls could do em’ too! ๐Ÿ˜› And yes indeed for moderation!

  29. Whitney @ French Fry Runner

    I’d much rather go to the grocery store than the mall. I love all the new and magical things that are found there! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m more of an intuitive eater than anything else too–moderation in all things. I don’t think I could give up my Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams, though. Delicious.
    Whitney @ French Fry Runner recently posted…My Worst Race EverMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! I love Peanut Butter & Co! :D! My favorite is White Chocolate Wonderful. <3

  30. GiGi Eats

    I am all about the hot tea- Drinking it right now actually! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What’s interesting though is that I have been FAR MORE THIRSTY as of late! I think I might be eating more salt than normal, ha! But I love salt and have very low blood pressure, so I am good ๐Ÿ˜‰
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Lil Wayne’s Sundae Breakfast, Wink, Wink!My Profile

    1. Farrah

      Hehehe, I’ve been that way too! Not sure if it’s just because I’m perpetually dehydrated or if I’m having too much salty stuff also! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  31. Lori Musselman

    Brushing your teeth is a good one! I do that too and didn’t even think to write it on my blog.
    Lori Musselman recently posted…8 Ways to Overcome Unhealthy CravingsMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      I almost didn’t think of it because I do that one so often (plays in well with my laziness), but then realized that that might actually be a good tip, hehehe.

  32. Elizabeth

    I TOTALLY brush my teeth so I won’t eat anymore! That is such a great tip! Ridding the house of bad food has been the best thing for me. I also try to munch on things like apple slices or little Cuties instead of salty things. I always eat more when I’m eating something salty.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Pinspiration: My Blogging CornerMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Same here on the ridding-the-house-of-bad-food! I’m actually a little sad right now because I was craving chocolate today and ransacked my apartment…and actually came up with a bar of chocolate! Except it was stale. Super disappointing, hahaha.

  33. Amy @ Life to the Full

    Teeth Brushing!!! I do that one too but didn’t even think to put it on my list. That is actually one of the best evening-craving-killer techniques ever! Great points and I hope you get more hydrated so you can smile again ๐Ÿ™‚ Cracked lips are miserable… and not smiling isn’t fun either. The air has been so dry this winter I always wake up thirsty and in desperate need of chapstick ๐Ÿ™‚ #fitfam
    Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted…Conquering Unhealthy Food Cravings #dishthefitMy Profile

    1. Farrah

      Agreed! :[ I’ve been trying to remember to keep chapstick in every pocket (and to drink a whole ton of fluids) to battle it out. My lips hate me a little less now! :D!

  34. Tammy Mcconnell George

    Thanks for the wonderful ideas. My eating is something that I have to get control of.

    1. Farrah

      Same here! I eat like a plague sometimes, but following those tips tends to help a lot!

  35. Alex

    So this is old but, one of the reasons I work out, well practice karate, besides it being really something I enjoy doing is that it helps me not having to monitor every little thing I eat. I too eat in moderation, 90% healthy and stopped stuffing myself, but I’d certainly hate having to watch closely what I’m eating all the time.
    Alex recently posted…A little Something SomethingMy Profile

  36. Jen @ Sprinkles Hikes

    I totally am a night time teeth brusher to combat my late night cravings! It works every time ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Farrah

      ๐Ÿ˜€ glad I’m not the only one!! I like appealing to my laziness, hahaha.

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