Conquer Temptation

It’s that time of year again!! That leisurely time of year where nice weather and cold drinks go hand-in-hand. Where family get together‘s and summer outings are packed with snacks and fun times. When you may feel it’s too nice out to go to the gym. 

Temptations are abundant and your will power is put to the test!
You start each morning with the promise to be “good” today.
You’ll refuse the baked goods at the office. You’ll speed past that fast food place at lunch. You’ll turn a blind eye to the vending machine mid-afternoon. And you’ll pass on the ice cream after dinner. But… you hadn’t counted on the fact that a co-worker brought doughnuts and left them sitting in the break room. Or you get invited to join friends at the pub after work. Or that your special someone would come home with a pizza and pinot noir.
And as you get into bed each night you tell yourself that tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow you will conquer temptation. But tomorrow comes with its own set of special circumstances and temptation gets the best of you once again.

Why Does Temptation Always Win?

We live in society where food temptations are everywhere.

  • Walk through a store and you’ll see the unhealthy food items displayed front and center. 
  • Turn on the TV and you’ll be punched in the face with commercials for fattening foods. 
  • Open a magazine and you’ll notice glossy pin-ups of sugary snacks.
  • Go down the street and you’ll have restaurant signs clamouring for your attention.

In addition to the abundance of tempting edibles, you also have deeply ingrained positive associations with indulging.

  • You treat tempting food as a reward.
  • You turn to tempting food for comfort.
  • You rely on tempting food as stress relief.
  • You use tempting food as a treat.
  • You allow tempting food to become a habit.

It’s Your Turn to Win

Temptation doesn’t need to have the upper hand on you anymore. It’s time to fight back using your most powerful asset: your brain. Your mind is an amazing thing. Once it is made up about something it is nearly impossible to change it. You control the power of your thoughts. The power of choice is yours.

A Matter of Perspective

Imagine for a moment that you’re peacefully floating down the river in an inner tube. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and you are having a wonderful time. You are getting your float on and you feel great about the river because it is making you feel good. Now imagine that you are in a plane flying over that river. Your eye is immediately drawn to an enormous rocky waterfall. You look up the river and just around the bend is a person floating in an inner tube, having a wonderful time, headed straight for the treacherous falls. Do you think that after your plane ride you’d be happy to get an inner tube and float down that river? Of course you wouldn’t. You’ve seen that the river spells disaster. You do NOT want to be the person on the inner tube.
You now have a negative association (watery death) with the river rather than your initial positive association (relaxing fun). Overcoming temptation is all about building negative associations in place of existing positive ones that you have about temptations. Here are some suggestions to harness the power of your mind to become stronger than any temptation.

Create a Strong Negative Association with all the BAD STUFF

If cookies and ice cream and candy and fast food are put on a pedestal in your mind as your favorite things to eat, then you will always eat unhealthy and will continue to gain weight.

What do you dislike about tempting food?

  • It makes you unhealthy.
  • It causes weight gain.
  • It gives you cellulite.
  • It makes you grumpy.
  • It kills your sex drive.
  • It drains your energy.
  • It kills your confidence.
  • It degrades your quality of life.
  • It hurts your love life.
  • It makes you feel bad about yourself.

Every time that you encounter tempting food items focus on your list of negatives. It’s time to kick those cookies off the pedestal and to put something healthy in its place.

Create a Strong Positive Association with all the GOOD STUFF

Now that your mental pedestal has been cleared, put healthy food items on it. Organic fresh fruit, crispy vegetables and savory lean meats are a great place to start.

What do you love about healthy food?

  • It makes you healthy.
  • It causes weight loss.
  • Its builds lean muscle.
  • It makes you feel lighter.
  • It improves your mood.
  • It boosts your energy.
  • You notice your body functions better.
  • It builds your confidence.
  • You feel great in your clothes.
  • It improves your quality of life.
  • It enhances your love life.

Immerse yourself into the world of healthy food. Browse the aisles of a natural food store. Buy organic as much as possible. Walk through a farmer’s market. Bring healthy snacks to work. Clear your kitchen of anything unhealthy.
Using the technique above, you will soon find that healthy food is your favorite food, when you see the reality of choosing temptation.

Put in the effort!

I know what you’re thinking, its too expensive to eat organic and preparing my own food all the time is too time consuming. Well, look at it this way then- Do you have a good medical plan? Prescription drugs and hospital visits can get expensive. All sorts of diseases can be tied in with poor nutrition. Does your job give you paid time off for being sick? Lost time from work can be associated with poor nutrition, whether its physical health or mental health. Does your family mind looking after you when you are sick from some sort of degenerative disease caused by poor nutrition? I could go on, but I hope you get the picture.
Its not about money, its about value. Its about quality. You don’t seem to hesitate to spend money on clothes, cars, or a night out? Why contemplate spending money on your health? Your wellness? Your vitality? Wouldn’t you rather have someone admire your strong, healthy, fit body than your new jeans or fancy car? Those ‘things’ wont be around forever. Your body will. Make an investment in yourself for the rest of your life.

The team at Urban Athlete works year round to keep you motivated! Consider hiring a personal trainer to keep you accountable to a workout routine over the summer months when it’s easy to give in and fall off the fitness wagon.

You have the power to choose. Choose to be healthy. Choose vitality.

The only thing in your way, is you. The only thing stopping you, is you.

By Wendy Peterson