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Wait, wait! Don’t eat that.

I don’t know which came first: my impatience or my addiction to quick fixes. It doesn’t really matter but the two are intimately connected. And while I know what the solution is, I have trouble implementing it when it comes to food. When I get the need, the desire, the craving, I just want to fix it.

But waiting is most often what I need to do. When a craving for alcohol or sugar comes over me, I know how to wait. I know it will pass. I have years of evidence for that and in the case of alcohol cravings, I have decades of knowing the desire won’t last. But when my need for food masquerades as hunger, I have a lot more trouble waiting to see that it will pass. I seem to just get hungrier, not more peaceful.

Some experienced overeaters in recovery believe that we have lost our ability to distinguish real hunger from the craving to eat. That seems true in my case. So the answer lies in a different form of waiting: eating on a schedule of meals (and snacks, if that works for us) and waiting in between. It’s a relief not to have to decide if I’m hungry or just craving because the clock decides for me.

Does scheduling meals support your abstinence?

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