I had exactly two soup dumplings (normally, I can eat all 8 by myself) and soy sauce chicken without rice. Wanted to ease myself back in while still breaking the rules (although let’s not even talk about the bill. Okay, let’s. It was $50!).
The first dumpling was amazing! Magical! Transcended my taste buds! The second dumpling, not as much. So I stopped at two and was happy. Until my mind started thinking, wait! The third one could be as awesome as the first! You never know. I stared at the dumplings hard for a while. Luckily, amidst all my brain talk, my boyfriend polished them off before I could convince myself to have another.
THE MORNING AFTER
I woke up this morning and didn’t want to get out of bed. My nose was stuffed up, my sinuses were crying, my throat was scratchy and I felt achy all over. And let’s not even talk about how we only spent $100 on restaurants for the whole month of January and blew half of that 3 days into February.
And I don’t even think I went that crazy! No white rice, no dairy, TWO dumplings, and $50 for dinner out for two people is average in NYC.
But WOW, was I hyper aware of what it felt like to go back to my old habits.
I went on two extreme detoxes at the same time. 1. I don’t recommend it, because choosing which habits to keep and let go of could prove to be messy in the coming weeks, but 2. it really showed me what I could and couldn’t live without (and what I could, but didn’t want to live without!), and 3. taught me how to be creative about creating the same feeling from what I usually get by eating chocolate or paying for someone else to make our meal.
THE POWER OF HABIT
I also spent the last two weeks reading The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, and learned about the cue-routine-reward-craving cycle. Basically, we are looking for that reward to fill a craving (of satisfaction, relief, completion, accomplishment, happiness), and have developed a routine (going out to dinner, eating a piece of pie, going shopping for the afternoon) to get to that reward. Certain cues (the root is often emotional, like boredom, stress, sadness, exhaustion) automatically trigger us into the routine to get to the reward.
Figure out the cue and reward, find a new routine to get there, and you change your habit. Tada! Easier said than done, of course, BUT powerful in its simplicity.
I have many a time ordered in for dinner, which is something I don’t even enjoy, but the convenience of the food coming while you wait is so appealing. My cue was I’m hungry and there’s nothing in the fridge and my reward for ordering in was having food come. The feeling of relief of having that responsibility transferred to someone else was something I craved.
So what did I do during Whole30 and the Money Detox, where my diet was super restricted and wasn’t allowed to order in?
I meal prepped. When I was in the headspace of cooking and making food (which I love doing in general), I made LOTS extra. I also started keeping stuff in the house that was substantial and easy to grab or make into something, like cans of tuna, boiled eggs, prewashed spinach, etc.
So whenever I looked in the fridge and didn’t feel like cooking, I had already transferred that responsibility to Meal Prep Pam a few days ago and just had to heat something up or take five minutes to put something together. I have sweet potatoes and roasted chicken thighs waiting for me right now. And I’m not even on any detoxes anymore!
YOUR MONEY DETOX
During the Brunch & Budget Money Detox, we are going to dive into what your cues and rewards are as we shake up your normal routines. What are you really trying to satisfy when you go to a bar, buy new clothes, or jump on Seamless for lunch?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this may seem extreme, but a “detox” is really about making you stop and think about what you mindlessly do or don’t do, living through the uncomfortability of doing it differently, and coming out the other side with a better understanding of what you are willing to give up (and aren’t willing to give up!) for what you care about most.