Marc’s Messages

Can you wait 15 minutes?

Along with fourteen million others, I watched the final of the Great British Bake Off last week, drooling over the amazing baked delights prepared by the contestants.

I’m not the biggest cookery programme fan but whenever I watch these programmes I tend to feel hungry. Even if I’m not really hungry! I crave the foods that are being displayed, wishing I could tuck in to the unhealthy sweet, fatty, salty foods on offer – all of those things we should be limiting!

Temptation is all around us!

The TV – both programmes and advertising is just one form of food temptation that we face each day. Snacks kept at home, cakes in the office, supermarket deals, smells from food shops and many more external temptations are put in our path each day making it difficult to stay on the healthy eating track.

A strategy is needed to overcome these temptations and ensure that we stay empowered in making choices that keep us healthy.

Avoid if you can…

Psychologists say that the first course of action to deal with these external triggers is to avoid the temptation altogether. Last week, I could have just not watched the Bake Off, so no temptation, easy to stay on track. But I like the programme and wanted to know who the winner would be!

When the temptation built so much that I actually went to scan my cupboards for some unhealthy “treat” to devour, there was nothing there! I inadvertently had avoided the temptation, so had a drink instead and woke up the next day without an additional 200-400Kcal being consumed!

What are your biggest external triggers to eating?

Whilst avoiding the triggers is a successful course of action, it is not always possible. Many of our clients say that either snacking in the evening or being around “treats” at work are the biggest external triggers they need to deal with. You can’t not go to work and perhaps you have others at home that demand the “treats” stay. Temptation calls…

Additional strategies psychologists suggest to deal with the external triggers are to distract yourself to take your mind off it – maybe go for a walk, read a book, go on your phone, do some cleaning, etc. Or to try resistance training where you gradually build up the amount of time you can resist the temptation.

Can you wait 15 minutes?

Here is a challenge for you this week: When you feel that temptation to indulge in unhealthy snacking coming on, rather than doing so, have a drink of water and do something to take your mind off the temptation for 15 minutes.

If your willpower needs work, start at 5 or 10 minutes. If your willpower muscles are feeling strong, after the first 15 minute stint, if you still feel the temptation, repeat the process again and maybe opt for a healthy snack instead.

Are you up for the challenge?

If you are, before you do so, spend a few minutes to write down your most important reasons why you want to live a healthier life. If these reasons are strong enough, the power to resist the unhealthy “treats” will be greater.

By the way, I probably will be watching the Bake Off next year, and no, I definitely will not be keeping any unhealthy “treats” in my cupboards whilst doing so!