I've been thinking about the ways different people in the paleo community experience cravings and "forbidden" desires differently (including this discussion and this discussion on paleohacks). I think I've found a good way to categorize the different kinds of craving (and who doesn't love categorizing?). In every case in which you want something that you also feel you shouldn't, there is i. the immediate, felt desire, and also ii. the look to the future or to what you should do, which does battle with the desire. You can think of the look to the future as a concern to avoid a future unpleasantness. With this in mind, here is my list:
You want something bad (crappy carbs, sugar) right now, but you know that in a week or so you will weigh more or be less healthy in some other global sense. [Unpleasantness comes a week later.] This is the only way non-paleos diet, I think.
You want something right now, but you know that you'll get the "carb flu" (see here) or the "gluten nasties." [Unpleasantness within an hour or so, could last for several days.]
You want something right now, but once you taste it you realize that you don't actually like the taste of sugar anymore. You have accomplished a significant degree of paleo acculturation. [Unpleasantness with the first bite.]
You don't really want something that's on the table in front of you, but you feel pain about it, because you grew up eating it, and you wish you could want it. [Unpleasantness after the thought, but no bite takes place.]
You don't want anything sugary at all. You wonder why other people consider it food. [Unpleasantness never comes to pass.]
Using this categorization system (if there isn't anything to add or revise, that is), where do you place yourself? Do you find yourself at one number on some days, and at another number on other days (because of mood or sleep or exercise)? Did you used to be at one number and have since moved to another?
But I might be most curious about something I hinted at above. I think when most people think of "dieting," they think that this means they will have to be constantly exercising their wills to keep themselves from the things they want in the heat of the moment. But it seems like we paleos know we can avoid this situation -- we don't think we're going to have to struggle with our desires for the rest of our lives. But can we get rid of this entirely? I.e., is it possible to make it all the way to five? Possible for everyone? (Is it even desirable for everyone?) If not everyone can make it to five is it because some of us have addiction problems with food (lots of good discussion on this here) and some of us don't? I would love to hear your thoughts, because I myself think about this quite a bit.