Minimizing Temptation by Managing your Environment

Minimizing Temptation by Managing your Environment
Claudette Pelletier-Hannah

You know your favorite indulgence is sitting in the pantry. How long will it last?

You probably won’t stop thinking about it until it’s gone, right? It’s just a matter of time before emotion wins over willpower. If that sounds like you don’t feel bad about it. It’s just how the brain works for many who struggle with food.

Retailers, including grocery stores, know all about how the brain works and our desire to seek reward. They use it to make us buy. Free samples! Fat free! Buy one, get one! We lose our common sense in the noisy sea of promises. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Unfortunately, the good food feeling doesn’t last. It’s often replaced with regret.

I suggest shopping with the intention of managing your environment. You know that if you buy it you will eat it, sooner or later. So don’t let the promise of a short-lived, good feeling highjack what you really want long term. (What do you want long term? That should be really clear.) Pay much closer attention to what you purchase.

What does managing your environment look like as a consumer? Shop from a list. Don’t go to that bakery, or down that aisle. Don’t even look where you might be tempted. Do not make eye contact with items in the checkout line. Look at people instead. (They’re quite interesting.) Be alert to marketing manipulation. Outsmart it. Don’t buy it. Don’t bring it into your home, or your car.

Managing your environment can also include:
• leaving your kids at home. They also know how to manipulate you.
• staying out of the coffee room where donuts live.
• throwing out leftover cake, or holiday candy.
• having boundaries about where you will eat out.
• choosing who you hang out with.

The intent here is simply to make it more difficult to consume those things you’re trying not to eat. This isn’t foolproof of course, but it’s one more strategy to eat a little better and feel a little stronger.