First of all, let me say that I love Super Bowl parties. I went to one last weekend. I love the food, the friends, the football, the over the top half time shows, even the temperamental players who storm off during press interviews afterwards. I love all of it. It’s fun. It’s festive. It’s an annual tradition.
Here’s the deal, though. When someone (like me) who wrestles with food issues on a daily basis walks into a Super Bowl party, it’s a little bit like a drug addict walking into a crack house. I kid you not, when we arrived at the party the other night and I saw all that food, my mouth started watering like one of Pavlov’s dogs. It’s the same thing that happens to me in the checkout line at Target when I’m standing next to candy and little to-go cups of Nutella. Trust me. THIS. IS. A. THING.
It seems like there’s always another holiday, another party, another something lurking around the corner, waiting to derail our good health goals. So how exactly do we handle food temptation?
I’ve been trying out a few strategies, and here are three foolproof ways to overcome food temptations that have really been working for me!
#1: Plan ahead.
One of the things that my WW Coach encourages me to do each week is to mark my calendar with any meals or events that could present a challenge for me. If you’re not already doing this,I strongly encourage you to try it this week!
Look ahead at the new few days and identify any trouble spots in your schedule. Is there a business lunch, birthday party or special event coming up? Think through your strategy for each event. If you’re going to a restaurant, can you pull up the menu online and decide what you’re going to order before you get there? If it’s a potluck, why not offer to bring a healthy dish? When you know what you’re getting into in advance, you can allocate more of your daily calorie or points towards that meal or event if necessary.
Fortunately, in the case of ME vs. SUPER BOWL FOOD, I knew what was coming before I got there. I came prepared for battle with a fruit tray, a big bowl of salad, and some sugar-free gum that tastes (strangely) like birthday cake. (Desperate times, people.) I still relished a few bites of my old favorites (buffalo chicken dip, anyone?) but it didn’t throw me completely off track. I’m finding that with a little planning, you can still enjoy a small portion of your favorite treats without worrying about what will happen when you weigh in next week!
Speaking of weigh-ins, I’m happy to report that I lost another 2 lbs this week for a grand total of 10.8 lbs in three weeks! [Insert happy dance.] I firmly believe that if I hadn’t planned ahead for those food temptations, the scale would not have been happy with me this week.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts at planning ahead, life throws us a curve ball. Little Miss I-Can-Eat-Anything-And-Never-Gain-A-Pound turns up at the office with 2 dozen maple bacon doughnuts for staff meeting. Or your well-meaning new boyfriend brings you a huge box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Life happens, and let’s face it, food is everywhere.
The way I see it, you’ve got three options: 1. Eat the doughnut. 2. Avoid the doughnut. 3. Distract yourself from the doughnut. Best case scenario? Put some physical distance between you and the doughnut (or whatever it is that’s tempting you.) I’m serious. Back away from the doughnuts and choose the seat farthest from the food. It takes effort to get up and walk across the room to the food table, and those few seconds might be just the time you need to walk away.
However, let’s say you’re forced into close quarters with your own personal kryptonite. What the heck do you do? This is where distraction comes in. Chew sugar-free gum (incidentally, the lemon bar flavor is MUCH better than birthday cake), twiddle your thumbs, down a glass of water, doodle, check Facebook, or whatever. Just get your mind off of food until the moment passes.
We were hanging out with friends the other night when some of the ladies gathered round the kitchen table for a chat. The problem? All of the desserts were on the kitchen table. I started to join them. However, in seconds I KNEW that I could not sit next to that bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough dip without wanting to stick my face in it. Rather than torture myself, I took a taste of the dip, grabbed some fruit and headed to the living room where I stuffed my face with grapes until the moment passed. Which it did. I promise, it will for you too!
3. Choose a healthier alternative.
Is the siren call of those buffalo wings really the only thing that will satisfy you, or would a healthier alternative do the trick? With so many amazing food blogs out there, I’m amazed at how easy it is to make a lightened up version of my favorite foods.
Next time a craving strikes, do a quick Google search and see if there’s a “skinny” version of what you’re craving. Some of my favorite recipe sites include Skinnytaste, Emilybites, and Hungry Girl (Hungry Girl actually features a weekly recipe swap for popular dishes that’s pretty awesome.)
Healthy swaps don’t always have to include cooking, either. It could be as simple as rethinking the toppings on your favorite sandwich, or sprinkling flavorful seasonings instead of butter on your popcorn.
The Hubs and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a few days early, and instead of candy or a calorie-laden dessert, we shared one of these yummy chocolate-covered apples at home for just 5 SP per serving (1/3 of the apple.) It was amazing and totally satisfying! I actually ended up eating less than a full serving and stayed within my daily SmartPoints. (Bonus!)
Bottom line? It’s totally possible to tame that temptation with a few simple tricks up your sleeve. If you did cave into craving? Don’t beat yourself up. Just pick one of these three foolproof ways to overcome food temptation the next time those maple bacon donuts come calling!
Are you already using any of these strategies? If not, which one will you try this week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!