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Unhealthy Food Does Not Cross My Threshold: The “You Deserve A Break Today!” Edition

In last week’s blog “Unhealthy Food Does Not Cross My Threshold” I talked about how I create a safe haven in my home, where only healthy food options are available because I don’t allow unhealthy ones in. It’s a pretty simple concept and if you adopt it at your house it will go a long way in supporting your goals to make life-sustaining food choices every day.

But what about the rest of your day? Essentially, most of your day? You’re away from home – you’re at work, at school, at the mall, at the airport – wherever. We’re busy people and we spend a lot of time out in the world. What then?

No surprise, I’ve developed lots of strategies to deal with each of these challenges, and I intend to share them with you, but the one I want to talk about first is what to do when you’re confronted with those impulsive “treats” that we encounter all the time.

On nearly every street corner, in every mall and airport food court, enticing treats are everywhere: elaborate coffee concoctions (it’s pumpkin spice latte season), ooey-gooey aromatic confections (think Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon), and southwest-avocado-double-bacon-pepper-jack-cheeseburgers-with-chipotle-aioli. I made that last one up, but you get my point.

These temptations have a few things in common. Knowing that and being prepared with effective strategies to derail them is your game plan to spoil their fun.

First, the purveyors of these culinary extravagances play on emotion. You work hard, right? You deserve a treat! You’re a busy person with lots of demands on you; let us take care of you by offering up this decadent indulgence. Food manufacturers and restaurants are pros at this. You hardly stand a chance unless you’re privy to their tricks. They play on your emotions and want you to act impulsively.

Reality check: a grande pumpkin spice latte has 13g of fat and 49g of sugar.

In case you need me to remind you, it’s not a “treat” to eat and drink things that are bad for you. At least, not on any more than the rarest of special occasions.

Fyi, Friday is not a special occasion.

The second thing they do is torment you with smells that invite you in. I always pick on Cinnabon, but too bad cause all’s fair in love and weight loss. If they’re going to pump out that smell at us in food courts across America then we deserve to have the tools to fight back. My best strategy? The force field.

Now, I’m a very visual person. When I’m confronted with these irresistible smells that beckon me (egads, movie theater popcorn!) I literally picture an invisible force field forming a protective barrier between those seductive aromas and me. Just like the principle that unhealthy food does not cross my threshold, the evil food’s siren song cannot penetrate the force field. (Ahem, please refer to previous blog, “Some Foods are Truly Evil”.)

It may sound silly, but I use this strategy all the time and it really works. Rather than being manipulated by the tantalizing sights and smells, I create mindfulness, which reinforces my goals and my faith in myself to resist such temptations. I call this “exercising my self-care muscles.” Paradigm shift, baby.

Finally, all of these “treats” add up to a whole lot of unplanned, ad-hoc eating. This is the death knell of weight loss and healthy living. When you have an eating plan in place – you’ve packed your lunch, you’ve got your snacks ready to go – before you race out the door in the morning, you’re much less likely to succumb to the impulsive treats that tempt us at every turn.

I don’t like to be manipulated by the advertising and marketing forces trying to separate me from my good health. It drives me just a little bit bonkers that we are told constantly that we deserve to indulge in fattening culinary abominations because we work hard. So what? Everybody works hard; we’re all busy and stressed out. Eating a crappy diet is not going to make you feel better, in fact quite the opposite is true. But you’ve got to be willing to tune out those voices and listen carefully to your own voice. Be willing to see the prize of a long, healthy life as more of a “treat” than a quadruple-venti-white-chocolate-peppermint-mocha-with-whip. Btw, did you know you can get that “light” now?

Oh, brother. No, that’s not light.

So put on your force field, exercise your self-care muscles, drop the “Cone Of Silence” over you to block out their nonsense (yes, I really did just reference a 1960s TV show and yes, I really am that old). Because you do deserve a break, but not at the expense of your good health.

Is losing weight hard? Pfffft, don’t make me laugh. But it gets easier. And you’re so worth it!

Go get it!

Read Part 1

Read Part 3

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