Taming Temptation: Setting yourself up for food success

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Confession:

Last week, in between coaching clients through the sugar cleanse, I ate not just one, not two, not even three… but four chocolate chip cookies. And then I discovered the leftover batter frozen in the freezer, and dug into it by the spoonful.

What’s up with that?

Some context, please.

Chef James and I are up to our armpits in recipe development, working to our fast-approaching manuscript deadline for Cook Naked (the very yummy follow up to Eat Naked). Not being so sweet on the sugar, we left the handful of dessert recipes to last. And so our home was – very atypically – filled with cookies, cakes, and little bits and pieces of sweet. Even though our desserts are gluten-free with much less sugar and only all-natural sweeteners, sugar is sugar and it impacts the body in much the same way regardless of its source.

I share this not solely to expose my proclivity for cookies.

I share this to highlight a fundamental principle to success with food: if you know something hurts your body and you don’t want to eat it, don’t have it around the house.

It sounds simple, and it is. And yet why do we set ourselves up for failure in our health goals by continuing to stock our kitchen with the foods we know don’t lead to the results we want?

Here’s the very simple fact: if it’s not there and not easy, you’re far less likely to go after it.

Last week when I was channeling the cookie monster, would I have gone in search of cookies had they not been there, right in front of my face? Not at all. I would’ve made myself a smoothie, or had some avocado, or an apple. I’d have found something that is whole, that nurtures me, and that my body loves – because that’s what I keep in the house. In that moment, it probably wouldn’t have even occurred to me that cookies exist.

But seeing those cookies right there in front of me – easy, so darned accessible, and yes, yummy – it became a matter of willpower. Me against cookie. Me against myself. And that’s a recipe for disaster. Even if I had been “strong enough” (oh the judgment) to walk past the cookies and make myself a healthier snack, I would have gone back to my office thinking about the cookies I didn’t have.

Moral of the story? If you’ve got a health goal or a weight goal and you find yourself sabotaging your efforts with foods you know don’t support you, get rid of them. Do a big kitchen cleanout. Stock your fridge and cupboards only with those foods that support you in your goal, and you’ll have no problem taming the temptation.

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3 Comments

  1. Dev/Om Chef

    June 14, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    this is so true! The funny thing is I got a little crazy with cookies (3 in one sitting!) last week myself. Fortunately, as you are advising here, I had my Om Outrageous Health cookie dough to indulge in. I make it with quinoa flour, oat flour, flax, extra dark chocolate, assorted nuts and lightly sweetened with honey….if you must indulge, be healthy about it.

    Cheers!

  2. Wendy

    June 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I make a luscious, (super easy to make in the food processor), honey and pineapple sweetened almond flour cake (no grains) to keep around for my nightly bread/cake/desert fix. Since I’m completely off all other sugars and all starches including cocoa, this is a blessing and a very happy part of my life. I look forward to it all day and thoroughly enjoy it. After I bake it I cut it up into squares and put them in the freezer. Out of sight out of mind – sort of. It takes an additional step, and thaw time to actually eat it, so I have time to make a real choice, not an impulse grab. If I don’t, and just leave it out on the counter, the boys and I will finish it off – the whole 9x11in pan – in a day!

  3. Margaret Floyd

    June 30, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Great solutions!

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