Dealing with Temptation and Strategies for Success
We all ‘fall off the wagon’ from time to time, it’s totally normal; whether we’re on a weight loss journey or just trying to eat well.
But it’s how we deal with slip-ups and lapses that’s important. Obviously, your mindset is a key factor.
So is understanding that you need to put an end to ‘dieting.’ Seriously!
Diets don’t work
I’ve said it many times already and I’ll keep saying it until everyone gets it! The biggest reason is that most ‘diets’ simply aren’t sustainable long-term.
Of course you will have some short-term success when you cut out food groups, or reduce how much you eat of certain foods, because it generally means that you’ve created a negative energy balance.
Unfortunately, though, most fad diets require you to make changes to your eating habits that just aren’t sustainable in the long-term and that’s when you slip-up and ultimately, give up.
Eat good food most of the time
The truth is that if you want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you need a diet plan that you can follow for the rest of your life. I’m using the dictionary definition here of the word diet, which is “the kind of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats.”
In a nutshell, I’m saying that you should eat a balanced diet of real, whole foods.
You will have slip-ups and lapses sometimes. As I said earlier, it just means you’re human, like the rest of us!
I don’t know anyone who eats perfectly all the time, it’s just not normal. If you’re armed with the right tools, though, you’ll be able to confidently deal with distractions and temptations when they occur.
You’ll learn to forgive yourself and move on. Actually, sometimes, you’ll even plan for it!
Avoiding Temptation in Social Situations
Here are the best strategies I’ve found to deal with social situations and possible lapses, binges or overeating. It’s going to happen, so you need to know how to cope and move forward.
The most important thing after a lapse is not to use it as an excuse to give up. If you don’t want to repeat the experience, learn from it by taking note of what happened and why and get straight back on track.
Forgive yourself and above all, don’t expect perfection!
1. The stop technique
Stop and think before you eat! Take a moment and remind yourself that you have a choice. Ask yourself some questions, like “do I really want to eat this?” or “will I be happy with myself afterwards if I eat this?” If you decide that you really do want the food, then go ahead. Give yourself permission – have a small serving and really savour it and enjoy it – then move on without feeling guilty. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ve ruined everything, so you may as well carry on for the rest of the day, or even longer. As long as you get straight back onto your plan, you’ll be fine.
2. Polite Refusal – Just Say No
Remember that it’s okay to say no in social situations (when you want to) and you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings if you do it respectfully and assertively. For example, you can politely refuse dessert by saying something like “I really enjoyed my meal/dinner and I’m actually full, thank you. Maybe next time?” Or ask if you can take some home for later. Be genuine and offer a compliment.
3. Eat Before You Go
Eating normally before you attend an event or function works best to ensure you don’t overeat. Don’t make the mistake of not eating through the day to save your appetite or calories, or whatever – it’ll usually backfire. If you’re satisfied instead of starving, you’ll be able to indulge in one or two small things and honestly say that you’ve had enough.
4. Avoiding Alcohol
If you have trouble stopping at one alcoholic drink, but you really want to go out with your friends, then offer to be the designated driver. Make sure that you stay away from the soft drinks though, which can be just as bad. Try soda or mineral water with lemon or lime slices.
5. Be Prepared with Snacks
Like a good boy scout, if you plan ahead, you’ll have a much greater chance of success. Always have a healthy snack in your bag or car for when you need it. Get into the habit of taking a piece of fruit, some nuts or a healthy snack bar with you when you go out. Then if you’re out longer than intended, or something happens unexpectedly, you won’t be tempted to buy something you wouldn’t normally choose.
The simplest ones are usually the best. Let me tell you about my favourites.
Sometimes you might simply need a distraction to occupy your thoughts until a craving goes away, because you’re not actually hungry, you’re bored. The best example of this is mindless snacking while watching TV.
Chances are that you had plenty to eat for dinner and you’re not hungry at all; it’s a habit you’ve developed out of boredom. I’m talking about the biscuits or chips/crisps that come out after dinner when you’re watching telly.
If this is a habit that you have that you’d like to stop, the easiest thing to do is distract yourself with something else. A lot of women say that giving themselves a manicure or painting their nails works brilliantly, as you simply can’t eat with wet nail polish!
Brushing your teeth is another good one that a lot of people like to use. You won’t want to eat after you’ve just brushed your teeth.
Or you could learn a new hobby like knitting, crochet or needlepoint, something that can be done comfortably while sitting in front of the telly.
Instead of mindlessly munching on junk, you’ll keep your hands occupied and learn a valuable new skill. I have a client who knits squares for a local charity scheme who make blankets for homeless people – what a great idea, huh?
Here’s a list of some more simple distractions, just find one or two distraction techniques that you think will work for you, or be creative and make up your own!
1. Go for a walk
2. Make a phone call, text or visit someone
3. Pamper yourself – a hair treatment, manicure, pedicure, facial, etc
4. Take up a hobby like knitting, painting, writing, jewellery making, jigsaw puzzles, etc
5. Do some housework
6. Do some gardening
7. Do some exercise or put on some music and dance
8. Make time to do some yoga, stretching or foam rolling
9. Sort out your bills, or to-do list
10. Sort out your wardrobe
11. Brush your teeth
I hope these tips help. You can download or Pin a summary below in this handy free PDF.