Temptation. When I hear that word, I think of an evangelist preaching at a big tent revival on the perils of falling prey to the temptations of sex, liquor and sinful living. The reality is that temptation is around us every day. I know I can not escape the aroma of sugary baked goods; the sight of cheesy, fat laden comfort food; and the call to stay in bed another 30 minutes and skip the treadmill on a cold morning.
A few weeks back I had the ultimate test of willpower. I was on a weeklong Caribbean cruise. On any cruise, food takes center stage with near 24 X 7 availability of pretty darn good food. I went in with a game plan and did pretty well. I came out gaining two pounds. I ordered on the healthy side and participated in a yoga class and 3 cycling classes. Unfortunately, I could not control the occasional grazing which I do not fall prey to at home. Gelato, gourmet coffees, ice cream and pizza were my weaknesses. Thanks goodness my Lapband kept me from going overboard (on the diet, not the ship).
Of course, I came back to the holiday season. My holidays are pretty much the same as most people’s holidays. There is an endless stream of parties, dinners out with friends, the parade of cookies and goodies at work, and large family dinners. I must say this is even a bigger temptation than a cruise. Each occurrence requires a different strategy. Coworkers and family members are tempters who encourage you to “just try a little”. High fat and sugary food seems to be everywhere calling my name. This is the season where you either sail through with a good plan or sink from a poor plan.
I recently read a WebMD article on 7 strategies to help your diet survive temptations from not-so-supportive friends and loved ones”. It has some excellent tips for this holiday season. Here is a summary of the seven points. Feel free to read the complete article for more information.
- Don’t make food the focus – Consider meeting a friend for a hike, shopping excursion, or a coffee rather than a dinner or other event that revolves around food.
- Look for support in the right places – If your closest family or coworkers just don’t give you the support you need to be successful, find a person who will. Strong support carries you far in the battle of temptation.
- Foil Your Fitness Foes – If you family’s favorite restaurant is that deep-friend, cheese-covered, butter-topped palace of comfort food, take the initiative to suggest a healthier alternative. If you have to, decline the invite to a place where you are sure to fail.
- Keep it quiet – Nothing seems to make people encourage you to eat more or to “try just a little” is when they know you are dieting. Say nothing and they will most likely be clueless of your new eating habits.
- Learn to handle sabotage – Aunt Martha may have the best of intentions with the gift box of her famous fudge. It is not a crime or impolite to refuse food outside of your diet with a polite explanation. Sometimes you need to just avoid the source of this sabotage.
- Draft a survival script – A powerful tool is to have good responses to temptations ready; sort of a survival script for dealing with less-than-supportive loved ones. Often we fail when we are caught off guard.
- Put some support in your corner –Look for people who can help you set goals; be a positive role model; encourage you to try new things; welcome you into their support networks; are a friendly voice when you fail; and are that cheerleader when you need to keep moving forward.
Temptations may seem insurmountable this time of year. One of the best things you can do is to use the above seven strategies to turn away these temptations. Life will most likely never get easier. Temptations will not go away. It is all in how we look at temptations and live our life with them.