Tea, glorious tea

I began fighting the weight battle once I was old enough to look into a mirror and compare myself to the other kids in elementary school. Thankfully, after many years of beating my head against a wall getting nowhere, I had the idea of diving into the science of the process to see if there was a better way. And that slowly began my deep dive, and eventual career transition, into the fieldObesity Medicine.

Although I have been weight stable for the past 5-6 years, it doesn’t mean that being that way comes easy for me every day. Most of the things that I write about I understand all too well – because I either lived them or I am still living with them.

I ask all of my patients what their biggest struggles are and I’m always willing to share my own struggles. My biggest issue is around food cravings. Occasionally I can be an emotional eater. Occasionally, I struggle with the time management piece of getting healthy food on the table between work and school and practice, but my biggest struggle by far revolves around food cravings.

Now, thankfully, I rarely give into these cravings. However, don’t start thinking that I have tremendous willpower or strength or some other amazing personality trait. The reason I don’t give into them is that I’m too lazy to do the work. I rarely have things around my house that tempt me. If I’m craving chocolate after dinner, I have to change out of my PJs into something more socially acceptable, get in my car, drive to the store, and pick that something up (and risk being mortified that someone I know will catch me in the act!). All of those steps are just too much work most of the time. It’s easier just to do something else.

If I had foods that tempted me in my house, it would be a very different ending to that story.

The other tool I have in my toolbelt to fight cravings is tea. Yes, tea. Most of the time when I’m craving something, I want something sweet and comforting. I want comfort smells and flavors like cinnamon and vanilla. Thankfully, there are a bunch of amazing tea makers in the world that have learned how to replicate those flavors – without using sugar or fake sugar or anything else that will stimulate insulin and wreak havoc on my body.

These are the teas I currently have in my cabinet. I’m sure there are more like it – I certainly haven’t done an exhaustive search – but when I’m craving sweets or I just want to feel comforted and secure, I open up my tea cabinet and browse through these options. One will inevitably do the trick. Try a few of them out – although loose leaf, high end tea can be expensive (but sometimes worth every penny!), none of these are pricey – and I get them from local grocery stores or Amazon.

Give your mouth something different when it wants chocolate – don’t chomp on ice cubes and deny it altogether. Acknowledge it, find an acceptable substitute, and most importantly, make it really easy to choose the substitute.

Make it really hard to get the item you are craving. Changing clothes, getting into a cold car, having to drive to and park the car at a convenience store and stand in line to buy something you know isn’t good for your body is a whole series of acts – with multiple opportunities to laugh at yourself, turn around and go home. And enjoy a nice cup of tea instead 🙂

If you need more help, you know where to find me!

Courtney Younglove, M.D.