My Top Ten Tools for Tempering Temptation

26 Aug

In my last post I agreed to share with you my strategies for maintaining an iron will for goal achievement. Many of you are dieting for health and fitness reasons or you may be gearing up for a competition.  Whether you’re doing so because it’s necessary to prevent illness or the exacerbation of a condition or because you want to look and feel your best, you have hopefully assessed the meaning of your goal and the incentives of accomplishment. If you haven’t I’d stop what you’re doing right now, grab some paper and identify your reasons.

Why is this important to me?

The rest of this post won’t make a bit of difference if you have not at least developed your purpose in goal striving! If you’re asking this question now, look internally for the answer. INTRINSIC goals are those that will propel you forward when the going gets tough. For example, some of my clients have said the following:

1. I want to be able to get on the floor with my future grandchildren.

2. I need to be able to fit in the airplane seat when I go on this missions trip.

3. I want my kids to never struggle the way I did with weight.

4. I no longer want to be at the mercy of food!

Identifying your goals from this perspective is foundational. When you’re setting them is the time to dig deep for these answers. But what do I do when the threat is right in front of me?

My Top Ten Temptation Tempering Thoughts (in no particular order) are as follows:

(I get sarcastic with myself, and yes, as I mentioned before, I talk to myself…out loud. Keep in mind there is a specific reason I use each of these thoughts).

1.  Really? You’re THAT hungry that you would actually compare yourself to a starving child in Africa? (Brings me back to reality and out of emotional reasoning).

2. You do realize that you just ate, right? You consumed ___ protein; ___carbs; and ____ fat. I think you’ll be okay. (This is an objective, just-the-facts assessment of the situation; we can easily get carried away by our emotions and make poor decisions as a result).

3. You have another meal coming up soon. (Another objective statement; no emotion attached).

4. You could have cake anytime. Why is it imperative that you have it RIGHT NOW? (Changes my perception of the situation; when I’m craving something or feel a sense of urgency to eat it, reminding myself that it’s always available takes away the thought that “if I don’t eat it now, I’ll NEVER be able to eat it,” which just isn’t true).

5. They’ve got their goals and you’ve got yours. You’re seriously going to justify eating that because everyone else is? (We are easily swayed by the actions of others. We want to fit in, we sometimes don’t want to explain ourselves, and let’s face it, when everyone else is doing the same thing, it can be more difficult to live above the crowd).

6. It’s not that you can’t have it, Kori. You could have it any time you want. You choose not to. (When we feel limited and caged and like we do not have a say, we want to break out of our box and prove that we have control. Think of the last diet you were on that mandated you eat a certain time, in a certain way, with a certain recipe, etc. How long did it last? Structure is good– we thrive with it. But make it too rigid –“you can never eat that food again”– and you’ll likely want to bend the rules. Get back to reality and recognize that you can have any food you want; yes, you really can. But you are choosing not to have certain foods because you feel better without them, mentally and physically.)

7. You’ve been down this road before. Is it worth it? NOPE. (If your immediate, impulsive, no-pause answer moves you in the direction you desire, great. Impulsivity is a problem for most people here– I want it, so I eat it. Instead, develop some rules or standards for yourself. Rules are appropriate in some situations. For example, “I don’t walk into the break room” or “Cheetos give me a stomach ache. I don’t like them.”

8. You know the negative consequences far outweigh the short-term pleasure. Walk away. (Here I’m thinking of similar situations I’ve been in and where they have led when I make a certain decision. I love pita chips, but I don’t even go down the pita chip aisle. Why test myself? It’s like a recovering alcoholic going into a bar, sitting down, ordering a drink and willing himself not to take a sip. Why risk it?)

9. Is what you are thinking of doing in line with what you’ve said you want to accomplish? (We’ve all been there. We say we want one thing but then we act in a way that is incongruent with those wishes/hopes/desires/goals. Pause for a second and ask yourself if you want to be the broken record. Aren’t you tired of asking, “How come I self-sabotage?” I will answer that for you– because you don’t stop and RESPOND. You are impulsive and act without thinking.)

10. Are you even hungry, Kori? Genuinely, physically hungry?  (If I have to ask myself this question, there is a high probability that I’m not. And in that case, I am not going to tarnish my winning streak of positive decisions!)

And there you have it. I’ve got a lot more where those came from.

I’d love to hear what YOU do to temper temptation. Using both cognitive (thoughts) and behavioral strategies can provide a winning combination for achieving your edge in tempering any temptation and moving closer to your goal!


One Response to “My Top Ten Tools for Tempering Temptation”


  1. Bad Rewards and Temptations – On Quitting Soda | Jessica - August 28, 2012

    […] My Top Ten Tools for Tempering Temptation […]

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