Desserts: I just can’t say no. If they’re in the house, I’ll eat them. If they’re on a buffet, they’ll call to me. If it’s on the menu and I see it, I want it.
If I can overcome temptation with food by being disciplined then I can be more disciplined in overcoming spiritual temptations as well. I can create better spiritual habits as well. If I give into the small things like chocolate or cookies so easily then how will I resist stronger temptations from the devil?
First Steps to Avoiding Food Temptations:
- Not having them in the house. This was easy. The hard part was not cooking or baking them.
- Set limits. Mine was desserts once a week on the weekends. This way I still got to experiment with new recipes but didn’t get in the habit of associating the weekday evenings with desserts. Then I didn’t deprive my sweet tooth.
- Don’t look! At the church buffet I avoided looking at the foods so I wouldn’t start a craving and only took one dessert of the three usually offered.
These helped but I needed more. This was a problem. It frustrated me I couldn’t say no, plus a dessert could be a whole meal’s worth of extra calories easily. Multiple this over days, and weeks and you’ve gain some pounds which are harder to work off. Just telling myself I have to work extra hard if I eat that chocolate doesn’t help me. Telling myself I’ll just eat one doesn’t happen. So what do I do?
Then I found the book The Power of Habit. It’s about how habits form and how to retrain your brain to create new ones. I love psychology and books fills with scenarios so this was right up my alley. The book states that once you start craving something nothing will satisfy it; you need the reward, the feeling/sensation you’re seeking and it can impact your mood negatively when you don’t get it. So the author talks about how to curb the craving in the first place. You have to figure out the root of the problem in order to change the action.
Steps to Retrain Your Brain to Change Your Behavior:
- Isolate the craving. Take 15 minutes to figure out the cause. Why am I craving sweets right now?
- What is your routine that goes with your craving? For me I associated desserts with relaxing with my husband, watching a movie and drinking tea at night. So as long as we had our routine I often thought of desserts.
- What is your reward? Sweetness! If I started thinking about a specific dessert I started craving and couldn’t let it go. Then I’m disappointed if I don’t get it and I’m a woman on a mission to make a dessert.
- Change the rewards. So I could change the routine with my husband so I that I no longer associate evenings with desserts but that would affect our time together. So instead I change the reward. Find substitutions: I substitute healthy sweets when I have the craving; this will satisfy the need without a lot of calories. A small smoothie, dried fruit, fruit leather, cottage cheese and fruit, or a half a piece of fruit are substitutes I can feel good about. Soon I was going a day or more without desserts.
- What is Your Motivation? Why are you seeking to change your habit? For me it is to prevent diabetes. This is a strong motivator, knowing bad habits can keep from from having any sweets later in life.
- Remember Past Successes and Use it to Fuel You During Temptation. Knowing I have gone a long stretch without eating sweets during my pregnancy for health reasons, means I can do it again. Instead of saying I don’t have will power, instead say I can do for this 15 minutes or this meal. Then try the next one.
- Prepare Yourself. If you know you’re likely to have cravings related to stress, a particular environment, situation, or time of day, plan ahead. Give yourself a healthy substitute. Doing this multiple times will start to create a habit and retrain your brain.
You got this!
To read more check out this video.
I don’t have to give in. I can change. You can too.
May you find the roots of your own cravings and successfully avoid temptations.