By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
I asked one of my clients who has been struggling with staying on his training and nutrition plan for an example of something in his life that he is really disciplined with. “Nothing,” he replied. I chuckled, because he has a wife, children, and a successful career, so I knew he was being a little unrealistic about his self-control capabilities.
“Seriously,” I said, “You are obviously good at your job, which requires some self-discipline.”
He agreed, and said that for about the last 10 years he has put all his time, energy and focus into his career. “My weakness is temptation,” he said, half kidding. “I may be disciplined when it comes to my job, but everything else is a completely different story.”
TEMPTATION, REBELLING, CONTROL AND GUILT
How many of you feel like you are controlled by temptation? When you are tempted to eat an “evil treat” you feel like you have no choice because it’s right there, staring at you, taunting you. Maybe you don’t really want to eat it, but it’s more that you can’t not eat it. 😖
If you are on a restrictive nutrition program or just trying to make healthier food choices in general, you may think “I can’t have this food or that food because it won’t get me closer to my goals.” This can cause some people to rebel, feeling like they want to be in control of their food choices. So, “I want to eat a doughnut,” becomes, “I’m eating a doughnut!”
But, who is in control here? Are you in control by allowing yourself to make whatever food choices you want, consequences be damned? Or is the tempting, “off-limits food” in control, because even though you really don’t want to eat it, you don’t want to feel like you aren’t allowed something you want? 🤔
This is what I call the temptation-rebellion-control-guilt cycle. It goes like this (tell me if this sounds familiar):
• You decide to set limits for yourself, implement a little self-discipline for the sake of your health and fitness, and incorporate a list of unhealthy foods you choose to cut back on or eliminate.
• You do fine for a little while, then start thinking about these foods. Maybe it’s a commercial, or you pass by a billboard or restaurant, or see them while you’re grocery shopping.
• You start negotiating with yourself and coming up with reasons why you could or should indulge, and find reasonable ways to justify it. You begin rebelling against your own rules to cut back on or eliminate said foods.
• Giving into temptation and partaking in an indulgence-feast fest makes you feel like YOU are in control. You da boss, and no one (not even you) can tell you what you can or can’t eat!
• A few hours later, or maybe the next day, you feel horrible. The tempting food controlled YOU, and your choice to give in felt almost like temporary insanity. You wish you could un-do it.
HOW TO CONQUER TEMPTATION
We’ve all (well, most of us) over-indulged in a night of one too many alcoholic beverages that had us swearing we’d never, ever drink again. 🤢 This is the same scenario with over-indulging in foods that may be counter-productive to our health and fitness goals.
1. Acknowledge Your Weaknesses What foods or beverages are your weakness? If you have followed Nicole for a while, you know one of her temptations is nuts and nut butters. She has come up with ways of minimizing the opportunity for her to over-indulge, such as not keeping these items in the house where they are easily accessible. If your weakness is Krispy Kreme, or Starbucks “froo-froo” drinks, make it a point to avoid driving by these places.
2. Implement Strategies To Avoid Temptation After you identify all of the foods and beverages that are temptation triggers, come up with a strategy (such as the two examples above) to avoid situations that might expose you to temptation. If you have kids, for example, and they eat Oreos, but Oreos are a temptation for you, store them out of your sight, or only buy them on occasion (for your KIDS, lol). Or better yet, switch to a healthier treat that both you and your kids can enjoy, such as any of the dessert recipes on NicoleWilkins.com.
3. Struggle for Control Know that you are ALWAYS in control of your choices. Knowing that you always have the power and the control to choose what you put in your mouth, in your body, can help prevent you from rebelling against yourself. The illusion of control isn’t the issue regarding food choices. The issue is accepting the consequences of your choices. If you choose to eat a doughnut because you just want to eat a doughnut, then you have to accept that the choice to eat a doughnut may hinder your health and fitness progress.
One of the most effective ways to conquer temptation is to try convincing yourself that it isn’t an issue for you anymore. It’s simple, but not easy: just say no. ✋
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.