Lemon merengue pie in my refrigerator.
Temptation. The one thing, no perfect diet plan, routine, or good intentions can withstand,
if we succumb to our temptations. I'll paraphrase simply what temptation is when you're on a diet - an increased desire for food (appetite) that is outside of what you otherwise intend to eat. You know, when you see or smell something and your senses are stimulated, causing your desire to increase, you face temptation, a physical stimulation that is very difficult to resist (or so we believe.)
One day I was cleaning up the kitchen. I opened up the refrigerator to put something away, and to my surprise (my husband went to the grocery store the night before), I see a lemon merengue pie in the refrigerator. I thought nothing of it, as I don't like lemon merengue pie, and continued to clean up the kitchen. As I'm cleaning, I go to throw something away, look down in the trash can and see a box. A pie box. A pie box that said "Banana Cream Pie." And I thought to myself, "Now that's a horse of a different color!", because I love banana cream pie! All of a sudden, my mouth started watering and I had an appetite for that pie, the pie I had already seen, and felt no desire for two minutes ago. So I asked myself, where does this sudden increased appetite/temptation come from? What was causing me to desire this pie all of a sudden? It wasn't sight; I had seen it and didn't want it. It wasn't smell; my face was looking in a trash can. It wasn't even a simple desire to just eat pie. I realized the only thing that caused my appetite to increase at that moment was a memory. The memory that I think banana cream pie is delicious. And that's it. And that simple. My brain - all my thoughts, beliefs, knowledge, reactions, and memories - controls my desire for food (appetite.) My brain controls it all.
The only way to control your appetite is to control the brain. We train the brain to use mental strategies in our weight loss coaching. One of those strategies is higher awareness. When I became aware that my appetite was stimulated from memory and memory alone, I was able to talk to myself about that. Self-dialogue is another very effective strategy. "Yes, I do think banana cream pie is delicious. I have great memories of eating banana cream pie with my grandmother. I know what it tastes like. I don't need to eat it right now to remember the taste; it is delicious, I know it is. I've eaten it before, and I'll eat it again in the future, I am sure, so I don't have to eat it right now."
Look at your temptations square in the eye, don't run from them or resist them; over-power them. Your brain is more powerful in controlling your appetite than anything else. It is the only thing controlling your appetite.
Shelley Johnson is the Creator & Founder of The Losing Coach®.
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