I had only just moved back to California when a new friend and I supped at one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Taco Temple has these awesome black bean tacos loaded with fresh spring mix, shredded carrots, and purple cabbage. If you order them sans rice and sour cream, they make a pretty healthy nutritarian dinner (well, except for salt in the beans). However, this particular locale also sports a crazy-delicious and obscenely monstrous piece of homemade carrot cake on their wipe-off board menu. I had planned to share a slice (more like a mega chunk) with my friend, but when we got ready to leave, he’d barely touched his moiety. Well, if you’re an incorrigible foodie like I am, you can probably imagine what happened next. The wheels started turning, and before you know it, I was walking outta there with his comestible remains in my hot little hands!
“I’ll save it for tomorrow afternoon,” I assured my guilt-ridden superego. “Besides, it’s free. And I never get to have this!” This internal pouting, reminiscent of my tween years, was an indication of the energy required to justify this gustatory infringement.
Fast forward to eve’s end where, lo and behold, tomorrow’s cake was history before bedtime! Awakening next morn, I felt pretty fat and lousy. Snacking on fruit while I prepared breakfast (instead of eating it seated and WITH breakfast) didn’t help matters, and the “healthy” chocolate nut balls I gnoshed on later in the morning began eating away my confidence. As the day progressed, I began feeling restless and off-kilter and found myself fantasizing about dark chocolate-covered cashews from the market down the street.
And then arose the old and hackneyed refrain, “I’ve blown it for today, so I might as well start fresh tomorrow.” Sound familiar?
Luckily, in the distance a tiny little voice made itself known–“Yes, it’s true that I didn’t follow my food plan yesterday and for part of today, but do I want to add insult to injury by eating more junk? I’ll be much happier tonight if I don’t eat more sugar and, instead, stick to my food plan for the rest of today.”
With that, I jumped right back on the wagon!
Y’all, this happy outcome might seem too simplistic and hard to believe, but talking back to your unhelpful food thoughts really works. There is a caveat, though, and it is this: it takes time and consistent practice. Learning to override feeding impulses is largely about strengthening your rational mind, and that requires lots of repetition and effort.
Next time you find yourself recycling the familiar refrain, “I’ve already blown it so I might as well. . . ,” stop before you eat and generate at least three rebuttals to that fallacious reasoning. The more you do this kind of exercise, the stronger will become your brain’s inhibition centers.
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