Friday, May 13, 2011

Dealing with Temptation

You’ve told yourself you’re making the switch to healthier eating, but you see food all around you (on TV, in your mailbox and email box, in the store, on the menu) that you know isn’t good for you. What can you do to deal with the temptation?

You need a plan.

Start with your home—that will be the hardest—especially if your house is full of hungry grouches (I say this endearingly) who don’t see eye-to-eye with you on eating healthy.

Here are things you can do to make things go smoother.

Don’t Have It in the House
Throw out unhealthy food with artificial ingredients, sugary snacks, cookies, candy, sodas and even juices with added sugar. This has been my get healthy credo for many years. You can hear the same advice from diet and health gurus like Dr. Oz.

Being a sugar addict, having sugary cookies or dark chocolate (my favorite) in the house was a huge temptation. I would literally eat until I was sick and it was gone. Ask my husband.

Have Healthy Snacks Available
Besides making sure you eat plenty of food at all your meals (remember, it's what you eat, NOT how much you eat), have healthy snacks available to grab for in between meals.

I have Cuties in a bowl on the counter from fall to late spring. Have apples, carrots, celery sticks or a small slice of whole grain bread with some almond butter.

Be Prepared Mentally
Making changes can be demanding and it’s important to steel your mind each morning to stay the course. Pray for wisdom to make the right choices for the day and/or write an affirmation (I love healthy food and make healthy choices when eating) and put it where you will see it.

This process takes discipline.

Once you no longer crave all those bad things (it will happen), your body will feel better and those choices will become easier.

Find an Accountability Partner
It may be as simple as having your spouse keep you on track, but realistically that rarely happens. Remember the hungry grouches? … That’s right, the spouse is one of them.

My husband was with me on the cancer-fighting diet. After all it was his idea (hmmm … keep that in mind). And he has reaped the benefit of losing weight he tried to lose for years without success.

Find a trusting friend that will regularly check in with you and encourage you to stay the path. Don’t do it alone.

Keep a Food Diary
Many diet programs recommend this technique. It helps to see it on paper in your own handwriting. Comparing healthy foods to processed foods on the list (Tuesday snack: handful of almonds and raisons vs. Monday snack: microwaved hot pocket) helps you see the contrast. Healthy feed-the-body nutrients vs. empty calories.

Tune-in to Your Body
As you change your foods, take careful note of how you feel when you eat healthy as opposed to eating any processed and sugary foods. Write the reactions in your food diary. This will help you to see and then remember what healthy food choices do for you. Be sure to take the long range effects into account. Don't cheat by noting that the candy bar or donut you ate gave you an energy kick when it actually kicked you to the curb an hour or so down the road.
Seared Ahi with Roasted Butternut Squash and
 Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

I hope these recommendations help you on your journey to a new way of eating and a healthy life. You'll look back and wonder why you ever ate those things that made you so sick and tired before.

Check The Daily Menu for a sample of what I eat in a typical day.

What helps you deal with temptation? Scroll down to add a comment.


  1. Boy can I relate to your statement about being a sugar addict. If desserts are in the house I'll eat them until they are gone irregardless of how they make me feel! HOWEVER, I have successfully eliminated refined sugar from diet by doing some of the things you mentioned in your article. One of the best arsenals in my efforts to "just say no" is the support of friends. They know how much my depression has improved from changes in my diet, therefore they support me by not offering me dessert when at their homes or offering a healthy alternative for all their guests. They have also skipped dessert when we are out even when the specialty of the house is sinfully decadent! What a wonderful gift my friends have been along my journey to better mental and physical health!

  2. Jennie, Thanks for your candid input. It's good for people to hear that you can have success. And having it through friends is that much sweeter.