Temptation is constant. Turn on your TV in the morning and you’re confronted with a commercial for the latest double chocolate, triple mocha, extra whipped cream latte. Head into the office and your cubicle mate offers you a slice of cake left over from the party she hosted last night. Lunch is no escape when you have to show you’re a team player by joining the group for fast food. When you finally get home you’re so exhausted from a day of stressful eating that you just want to sit on the sofa with a tub of ice cream. In a world that tempts you with unhealthy food from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed, how can you develop and maintain the willpower you need to make healthy eating choices and achieve your weight loss goals?
1. Take Baby Steps
Start fighting temptation by identifying your temptation triggers. Are there certain situations, people or signals that make you reach for the unhealthy food? Once you understand what tempts you to overeat, you can begin to improve your willpower by focusing on one trigger at a time. If you know that your triggers are date nights. drinks after work on Fridays and visits from your mom (who makes the best pumpkin pie on the planet), begin by tackling just one trigger. If your date nights involve too much wine and cheese, see if your partner would be interested in a healthier evening activity, like going for a sunset walk or hitting the driving range. Once you’re in a healthier date night groove, then you can think about talking to your colleagues or your mom.
2. Change Your Mindset
To really improve your willpower and stop falling into the temptation trap, there are two words you need to drop from your vocabulary: “deserve” and “deprived.” The old you might have felt that you deserved a treat, whether it was a chocolate bar or a break from the gym, every time you did something good. To achieve your health goals, you need to get out of that mindset. The confidence you’ll feel when you love your body inside and out is all the reward you need to make good choices. Similarly, you need to stop calling yourself and your lifestyle deprived when you give up unhealthy indulgences. Deprivation is a punishment, but the strength to resist temptation is actually a reward in itself. With this new way of thinking you’ll be equipped to tackle any challenge that crosses your path.
3. Find Satisfying Substitutes
In the process of identifying your temptation triggers, you probably also identified the treats that you succumb to most often. Whether it’s your mom’s pumpkin pie or the pull of a streaming TV marathon, everyone has their preferred guilty pleasure. It’s a lot easier to resist unhealthy temptations when you have healthy alternatives on hand. When it comes to tempting food, it’s recommended that you keep a small selection of low-fat, low-calorie snacks like air-popped popcorn, apples, cheese strings and sliced raw vegetables in your kitchen. When you’re tempted to give in to a lazy lifestyle, stay strong and stay active. Instead of watching TV on your sofa, head to the gym and watch your favorite show on the treadmill. Popping in a podcast and heading out for a walk is a great substitute for mindlessly surfing the net.
4. Celebrate Your Success
For years, successful entertainers and businesspeople have touted the importance of having a vision board featuring beautiful images of the life you dream of living. This visual reminder of your goals helps to keep them front and center in your daily life and motivates you to stay on track. For someone looking to resist temptation, there’s an even better alternative: an accomplishment board. Keep a visual journal of your successes as you make healthy choices every day. You could include a line graph showing your weight loss over time, shoelaces from the running shoes that you needed to replace or a photo of a delicious, healthy meal that you cooked from scratch. Your accomplishment board will become a visual reminder of your ability to resist temptation and evidence that you have always had strength and willpower inside.
Temptation is everywhere you go, but with a solid plan, you can learn to resist temptations without giving them a second thought. Your weight loss, health and fitness goals will be within reach when you follow this guide. Just make sure you start small, think positive, set yourself up for success and celebrate your successes along the way.
Photo by: Demi Felicia Vares.
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