TEMPTATION! Is that the root of all evil? This time of year is filled with constant sources of temptation. So is your best strategy to avoid it or face it in the attempt to conquer it?
I deal with this all the time with my clients. Some seem to feel that there is a certain moral high ground of being able to face what tempts them and walk away. And there certainly is some gratification in being able to do that. To have something that you want right in your face and being able to turn it down.
But it’s hard - really super hard. As I tell my clients - no matter how good their program is, they are bound to have a weak moment. And if that weak moment occurs while they are around what tempts them - they are certainly going to be more vulnerable to use.
So what is the best strategy? If your weakness is donuts, why would you walk into Dunkin’ Donuts to get your morning coffee? Can get your coffee from some place that doesn’t serve those sugar coated temptations?
I will admit that there have been times when I’ve actually completely avoided certain social situations because I was in a place mentally where I knew I could not avoid temptation and would eat way off plan if I went to them.
But, like the alcoholic can’t avoid for the rest of his or her life being around people who drink, we CERTAINLY can’t spend our lives avoiding situations where we might be tempted to eat something we “shouldn’t” or eat more then planned.
And there’s the other side of the coin - there is a lot of research that indicates that willpower is almost like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it gets. So being faced with what tempts you over and over again - when you are able to say “NO” it makes it easier the next time and so on.
So there is a fine balance of exposing yourself to temptation and avoiding it all together. You might not be able to keep all tempting foods out of your home, but don’t bring home a gigantic cheesecake if you love cheesecake in your mind saying that it is for your husband. Because you and I both know what will likely happen. You’ll avoid initially and then say that you’ll just have a “tiny slice”. The next thing you know, you’ve eaten 4 “tiny slices” and you feel like shit - physically and emotionally.
It makes no sense to constantly expose yourself to temptation. Alcoholics who want to join a “dart league’ that plays all over the local bar scene? That’s just crazy.
If you know that there is an event where you just won’t be able to avoid going off plan, especially if you are vulnerable in terms of being tired or stressed, or if you know someone who pushes your buttons is going to be there - just skip it.
But if you are going to be exposed to temptation there are certain things that can help make it easier to be on plan. Like wearing something tight so overeating would be too uncomfortable. If you are in a situation where you are bringing a friend or family member with you that you trust, tell them what you goal is - like not going back for seconds - and ask them to keep you on track.
There are all kinds of strategies to avoid temptation - who has one they can share??