With the holidays approaching, I feel that this blog post is extremely important to start practicing with now!
One culprit that causes weight gain is temptation. Sometimes foods are so enticing, we don’t have enough will power to say no!
So what can we do to help build that will power and keep us from those situations arising in the first place?
Here are 5 tips you can follow to avoid food temptation!
1. Make your home your sanctuary.
If you have junk foods or trigger foods at home, it will be nearly impossible to stay on track with those treats dancing around in the back of your brain. Make today the day you grab an empty box, open that pantry, and carry a load to your local food bank! This way, if you have a strong craving for something unhealthy, your only choice is to throw on shoes, jump in the car, and go purchase it. And no one wants to do that in the middle of the night. This will also help with mindless snacking on junk.
And before you say, “But the kids really like ____, I can’t just get rid of that…” think about their health. Is that a regular food you want them to grow up eating? Or should that food really be a treat for them?
2. Remove yourself from the situation or find a distraction.
When choosing a healthier lifestyle, you must allow yourself time to go through sugar/salt/fat withdrawal. Yes, we can be addicted to these substances and sometimes it is just as bad as drugs/alcohol. When looking at brain scans, our brain can light up like a Christmas tree when eating these foods in a stressful state and shortly after, we feel calm and relaxed. This was something we discussed during a food addiction seminar I attended. What is happening is actually a serotonin (our feel good hormone) release. And if habits like that have been practiced too long, we can now be addicted and must allow time for withdrawal.
So if its evening time, the tv is on, and you reach for something to munch on while you relax, ask yourself, “before I take this bite, am I truly physically hungry? Or am I looking for something to do?” If you are not physically hungry, this is a great time to remove yourself from the situation you are currently in, or find a good distraction.
By distracting the mind from temptation, you are currently in the process of breaking a habit. It takes almost a month to break a habit, so stay strong. Find something that can relax you at the same time whether its a craft, hobby, or going for a walk.
3. Eat slowly.
This is an extremely helpful tip. The slower you eat, the faster you fill up. Once you are no longer hungry, you will be less inclined to have dessert or a late night snack.
Asking for a to-go box immediately when ordering your food is also a step in the right direction. When you remove half of your meal from your plate, you are eliminating that temptation of eating the full serving. Always give yourself 10-15 minutes after completing a meal to determine if you are satisfied or not.
The last suggestion when it comes to social gatherings, restaurant celebrations, or holidays, is that you can always eat before you go if you don’t think you will have full control. Now this doesn’t mean I believe you should never have “cheat meals” or something unhealthy occasionally… But if this is a gathering you are attending recently after a cheat meal or it happens to be a place serving trigger foods for you, it is a great idea to eat ahead of time and just enjoy the social aspect of the event.
4. Don’t buy it!
If you do not purchase this food, you cannot eat it! Practicing the word NO is really important.
5. Avoid tempting aisles at the grocery store.
You always want to shop the outskirts of the grocery store. This will keep you around fresh produce, protein, and dairy products. Anything within the aisles will always revolve around processed foods. If you have a specific trigger food, AVOID THAT AISLE!
One grocery store in particular has really helped some of my patients by doing an online ordering system! You can order all of your groceries online, pay online, and schedule a pick-up time! How awesome is that? This way you don’t have to look at the junk on sale at each end cap or smell the aromas from the bakery.
These are just some of the things I practice with my patients to make sure temptation is not going to be an issue while living healthy. I do believe in moderation, but for some people, if they fall off track or even have a cheat meal, they may throw in the towel because they already feel that they have failed. So these are some easy tips to work on to make sure you avoid temptation and stay successful with your healthy lifestyle.