Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweet Temptations

Let’s face it – if we have a weight issue – and who doesn’t these days? – it’s most often due to a lack of willpower. We tend to use food, particularly desserts, as a salve for other things going on in our lives that make us uncomfortable – things we’d rather not deal with - or forget - or gloss over with something we know we love, like food to switch our focus, if only for a moment.

Once you’ve decided to pay more attention to how much you are eating – you may decide that not having certain items in the house is the best way to battle temptation. If it’s not in the pantry or refrigerator, you can’t eat it, right?

A friend mentioned that she has bought several cupcakes with the idea that she will only eat one a day. If she can do that, keeping track of the calories, that’s great. But what is going to keep her from diving into a second one or a third or even all of them if temptation gets the best of her? Many of us wouldn’t stop at one. If we didn’t struggle with willpower, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. After the first cupcake – it would be too easy to start justifying the second one:

‘OK, so if each cupcake is X amount of calories, I’ll subtract the second one from tomorrow’s calorie count. It’s all about our total calories for the entire week, right? 3500 calories is 3500 no matter how you slice it. A pound is a pound, right?’

But you know what will happen. Tomorrow rolls around, you’re hungry for sugar – you not only don’t like the idea of subtracting last night’s cupcake from today’s calorie count, but you also don’t like the fact you won’t get today’s cupcake. And then there is the shrug-your-shoulders-and-eat-it-anyway, excuse. You only live once, right? And it’s only a cupcake for heaven’s sake.

May I offer a suggestion? Don’t buy desserts in multiples. Resist a full-sized cake or pie or a dozen donuts or anything that’s going to give you more than one serving of dessert, unless you have someone at home to share it with. You’re only making your battle with food, harder. Yes, if you can eat only one cupcake like my friend believes she will, you’ll feel proud of yourself in the morning, knowing you struggled and won the day. But how will you feel if you ‘slip’ and have two or all? You’ll probably feel physically bloated and a little ill from the sugar rush – but more importantly, you’ll risk feeling a failure – disgusted with yourself for not finding that elusive willpower. Not a good way to strengthen your resolve and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. We don’t get very far by taking two steps backward. Do yourself a favor. Buy one cupcake. Eat one cupcake. Be proud of yourself. Move on.

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