What’s your biggest food temptation?
We’re talking about if the food is in your reach, you’re going to eat it. Maybe it’s your go to “treat” food or the food that you celebrate with. You may have more than one. I am a sucker for tortilla chips and guacamole and chocolate chip cookies. Not together of course, that’d be gross.
When you’re trying to improve your diet and/or lose weight, these temptation foods can be an issue for some. You might binge on them and then feel ill after. They can also cause people to tumble down the slippery slope from healthy eating habits to cravings and junk food galore.
My goal as a health coach is to help you create awareness about the food you eat and then create systems that support you.
Your Starting & Ending Point Matters
How you handle your temptation foods depends a lot on where you are in your health and weight loss process. It also depends a lot on your personality, your goals, and what types of habits support you to succeed.
Here’s an example, if someone told me that I couldn’t have chocolate chip cookies anymore, all I would be able to think about are chocolate chip cookies. I’d obsess about them and probably give a big middle finger to the person who made them off limits and I’d eat them anyway. (I can have a contrary nature).
On the other hand, if someone suggested that I eat a chocolate chip cookie once a week, I could absolutely do that. No problems. I could even buy a package of cookies, eat one, and set the rest aside for the next week.
This “moderation” approach doesn’t work for everyone. Some people, a good many people, need a food to be off limits, at least for a while until they reach their goals or get the food temptation out of their system.
If that package of cookies were in their home, they’d obsess about it. But if it weren’t an option, they’d forget about it. Once the food is no longer a trigger or a temptation, then you can choose whether to eat it sometimes or not. Again, it all depends on your motivations, personality,and awareness.
So What Do You Do About Those Temptation Foods Right Now?
#1 Identify The Foods That Are Temptations
You might know a good number of them already. You may know that chocolate chip cookies and tortilla chips are foods that you could eat all the time. There are, however, other foods that you may not be aware of until you stumble upon them.
For example, I had a coaching client who found that when she ate sweet potatoes or yams, she’d get intense cravings the next day, be extremely depressed, and she was unable to control her intake. The sweet potatoes were a trigger food and, for a while, we had to remove them from her list of foods.
For another client, she learned that eating oats for breakfast set her up for carb cravings all day long. But when she had eggs or a protein smoothie, she was fine and it was much easier to stay on track.
Bananas, rice, grapes, and other natural whole foods can cause similar issues for others. The key is to pay attention to how you feel after you eat these foods. Notice patterns in mood, sleep, energy, cravings and so on. Be your own detective. If you find a food that causes problems, just take it off of your list for a while. It likely won’t be forever.
#2 Create A Plan For You
Assuming the food doesn’t cause you to feel moody, get bad sleep, or drain your energy, then the next step is to create a plan. Will you eat the food once a week? Once a day? Never? In the case of cookies and chips, I take Friday off from my normal routine. I eat anything that I feel like eating (as long as I’m not allergic to it) and I don’t track my intake. So that’s when I’d have my chocolate chip cookies and tortilla chips.
This works for me because I don’t deal well with abstaining from foods, but I am able to moderate well. That may not work for you, so you’ll want to create a plan. If you need to abstain from a food, consider abstaining from it for 30 days.
#3 Assessing and Motivations
Once you’re implementing your “plan” and either moderating or completely eliminating your intake of your temptation foods, it’s time to assess. Pay attention to when you crave these foods. What’s happening in your life? What did you eat earlier in the day?
Here’s a personal example, I only drink alcohol on Fridays. It’s part of my day off. I noticed that my Saturdays were sucking. I was sad – I mean really really sad – for no strong reason. Because there are so many things that I eat and drink on Friday that may contribute, the first thing I thought to eliminate was alcohol. I know that it can have an impact on mood so it seemed like a logical place to start. The next Friday I didn’t drink anything and had a perfectly lovely Saturday. I repeated this experiment a few times with good success. So I know that if I do decide to have a glass of wine or a margarita, I am going to suffer some moody consequences the next day.
Pay attention to what happens in your life and what you eat that may cause you to feel differently physically, mentally, or emotionally.
This information that you gain from paying attention can help you make decisions that support your personal goals and motivations. I can decide if a glass of wine is worth the sadness the next day. You can decide if the bag of chips is worth the cravings the next day.
This information is powerful because then you’re making decisions from a place of knowledge. If, for example, you decide that you’re going to eat those chips on Friday, you know that Saturday is going to be challenging and you can put systems in place that support you to overcome those challenges and get back on track.
There’s no right or wrong way to approach your temptation foods. You get to decide what you eat, when you eat it, and how you feel.
What is important is that you know what these foods are and how you want to handle them.
I’m here to support you. If you need help determining your temptation and trigger foods, let me know. If you want to chat about a plan to manage your temptation foods, reach out. We can work together to help you achieve your goals.