The Daily Beet

12 Jun Getting Past Temptation: 10 Helpful Tips

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You are sitting in your home, minding your own business when BAM all of a sudden you want nasty, artery clogging, unhealthy cheese. Or, you are at a party and there is a table full of sugar spiking, heart attack inducing cupcakes. You know that these things are not healthy for you, but you still can’t stop thinking of them. What do you do?

1. Read the book “The Pleasure Trap” by Doug Lisle. We’ll give you some more immediate tips in a moment, but if you haven’t read “The Pleasure Trap” it is a must read, and will help you to understand why we crave and want things that are not healthy for us.

2. Wait an hour. Tell yourself that you can have the bad food in an hour from now, just not right now. Delaying the choice often leads to much better choices.

3. Go for a short walk, or do a quick workout. Do something to get your body moving and chances are you will not want to undo all of the great cardio you just got in.

4. Drink some water. Have a big glass of refreshing water or a nice cup of hot tea.

5. Call a friend. You don’t have to tell your friend that you are craving bad food, just call someone to chat, and get your mind off the bad food that you are craving.

6. Ask someone to throw the bad food out. Kitchen clean up is essential to healthy living! Get all of the bad food OUT of the house. If you have family members who love bad food, tell them they can eat it outside of the house. We recently heard this from E2-er, Trish:

“My 17 year old son had a habit of bringing cheetos in the house, and I used to love them. I told them that they were not allowed in the house anymore, under any circumstance. Last week I thought I heard him come home, and went outside to find him sitting on the front porch with a bag of cheetos. When I asked what he was doing he said “Not bringing them in the house!” The rule has worked for me, and my family is starting to eat healthier (even cheeto teenager) because it is not allowed in the house anymore.”

7. Don’t buy it. This might sound obvious, but if you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it. We have some E2-ers who take photos of what is in their grocery cart each trip and send the photo to us (info@engine2.com) as proof they had a plant-strong shopping trip! Making a grocery list is very important if you have a hard time not buying junk food, people who make lists tend to be much more successful at changing to a plant-strong life.

8. Tell yourself that you’ve already tasted something plenty of times, and you don’t need to taste it again. The taste of food is temporary, and often that is what we are looking for, that initial taste or hit of pleasure. When you are tempted, remind yourself that you have had that food plenty of times in the past and you do not need to try it again.

9. Eat a GIANT bowl of salad first. We have a friend who is a personal trainer, John Pierre. He has a rule – have a giant bowl of salad first and then you can eat whatever it was you were craving. Trust us, if you eat a pound of salad, you are not going to have much more room for anything else!

10. Get online! We are always on facebook, twitter, pinterest, our blog and we check and respond to our e-mail a lot as well (info@engine2.com). If you need help, reach out! Find support and get some plant-strong encouragement.

What are some of your tips for getting past temptations?

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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Celia
    Posted at 15:52h, 12 June

    If you´re hungry binging starts and sometimes doesn´t stop. Your body is asking for calories, glucose. Fill up on a 5 banana smoothie and then ask yourself if you need that pizza afterwards!

  • Adam Stevens
    Posted at 16:03h, 12 June

    #10 is absolutely spot on. Eat a massive massive bowl of salad and then make a decision if you still want the junk – it works every time, try it !

    The first point is really important though, without fully understanding the pleasure trap and neural adaptation you don’t really understand why you get the cravings.

  • Keith Petrus
    Posted at 16:08h, 12 June

    No 8 made me think of something I’ve discovered in my one-year of near complete veganity. If you think about it, 1 bite of brisket tastes exactly the same as 20 bites of brisket, so with a little discipline you can continue to enjoy small amounts of meat, fish, whatever, while still maintaining a vastly more healthy diet overall. This has been my approach and I dropped down to normal body weight in less than 6 months. I like the fact that Rip admits to eating a cheeseburger in the E2 book. I know there are many who take an all-or-nothing view to their diet but I feel that, like other forms of abstinence, complete self denial makes it that much harder to stick with it.

  • Carol Whitaker
    Posted at 16:20h, 12 June

    I’m married to a guy who has no interest in being healthy….. period. A healthy diet and lifestyle are just not his thing. As much as I disagree with his choices and don’t choose to practice what he does, I feel I have to respect his choices and therefore there’s junk food and other non-plant-based choices in the house. That’s my dilemma. Ideally, I’d love to get my sweetie to wake up and smell the coffee and get healthy so we can live a long and active life together…. but to be honest, I’m not even sure he’ll make the change when he gets diabetes or other western diseases…. he’ll just chalk it up to life, pop the pills he’s prescribed, take the insulin shots, get the stent when instructed etc. and keep eating what he enjoys anyway…. I hope I’m wrong. In the meantime, all I can do is apply your tips above and never give up. Have you encountered other couples in this situation? How are they navigating the mine field? Did any of their spouses finally come around and get healthy?

    • Sandy Pluss
      Posted at 23:32h, 12 June

      Hi Carol,
      I am in EXACTLY the same position as you with my husband. He is your typical meat & potatoes guy – with him you can even forget the 3 veg! That said, I’ve been plant-strong for 6 years now & no turning back for me. I don’t find his food appealing anymore. I used to struggle a bit with his chocolate bars & I just one day vowed to myself that it was pointless having one piece of his chocolate cause it just made me feel bad. And since then I haven’t touched a single bit of unhealthy food that he has in the hosue! So keep ploughing on – its possible to live with people whose lifestyle is not the same as our (and to love those ones too!!!!! lol). I also desperately hope that my husband will see the damage he is doing to his own body & live in hope of him having a dietary overhaul!

  • Donna T
    Posted at 16:33h, 12 June

    I just think of the animals that suffered and died and my desire for any animal product is gone! The problem is, my imagination doesn’t stop there, I remember the pus and antibiotics in meat and dairy, salmonella in eggs, and the thought of putting those things in my mouth is not even an option. YUK!!!!

  • Jan J.
    Posted at 17:19h, 12 June

    After 2 months of eating a diet consisting of 85% veggies & fruit, 10% beans & nuts, and the occasional piece of meat, I spent 5 days at an out of town conference. During that time, I ate whatever they fed me, which was not the foods I mentioned above (save the meat). After a day I felt pretty awful, and just kept feeling worse with each day. What I came away with was that *for me* eating the old SAD is like going back to an abusive relationship: at first there’s some horror at the thought “that will never be me, I’d rather not eat than eat THAT!!!”, then there’s the “gosh I’m hungry, this won’t be so bad, I won’t eat that much (nom nom nom)”, then “oh no, what have I done, I can’t sleep, I’m bloated, I feel horrible, get me outta here!!!”. Since I’ve been back to my old dietary routine, not only do I feel 100% better, I also recognize my old cravings (especially when I’m at the store & there’s sweet and savory samples at every turn) as SUPER powerful; and also that, like a charming abuser, I can just say “no” to the familiar temptations!!! It gets easier each day! 🙂

  • Lorna
    Posted at 17:22h, 12 June

    I have been a vegetarian all my life so what is tempting to some one else is not at all tempting to me, what gets to me is sweets! When tempted, I go to the cupboard and pop a Vitamin B 12 in my mouth and by the time the sublingual pill is gone so is the craving. Other family members bring in stuff that I do not want to eat when I am thinking straight!

  • Dina
    Posted at 17:25h, 12 June

    Carol- My situation is nearly the same as yours. My spouse has no desire to change his meat-eating ways. I would like for him to eat healthier, but that’s his choice. He has started to eat more fruit & veggies, simply because that’s the first thing he sees in our fridge. I still buy some meat products for him though (he cooks them). All I can do is show him what the results are and let him make up his own mind. I’ve lost 12 lbs in 2 months and have more energy than before so, as they say “the proof is in the pudding”. And fortunately, I am not tempted by anything that he eats since I have seen the results and have a personal goal/agenda.Good luck & good health!

    • Carol Whitaker
      Posted at 18:43h, 12 June

      Dina, thanks for your supportive words. Much appreciated.

  • Kate
    Posted at 18:58h, 12 June

    I just remember taking care of my aging in-laws last year as they died of cancer and dementia. It was brutal, and I don’t want to go there. I just remember about 15 years ago actually seeing my grandmother’s heart on a monitor, as I spoke to her heart surgeon. I never, ever want my children or grandchildren to see me like that. I also don’t want to live with heart disease like grandma has for 50 years with walker, surgeries, pounds of pills, and now blood glucose monitor. No sweetie is THAT good.

  • Jessie
    Posted at 20:36h, 12 June

    #8 Works best for me! I figure I have ate crap for the first part of my life, so why do I need it now. Plus there are so many sweet tasting things you can eat and lots of vegan friendly sweets that don’t have added crap and are all natural. One of my favorite sayings is “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!”

  • Glorya
    Posted at 20:41h, 12 June

    Great tips!!! I love tip # 9!!! Eating salad. What I do is I picture a wave and think of my craving like a wave…it starts out small and then it gets huge and all I can think about is whatever I am craving but then like a wave it will decrease and dissapear. I just have to realize that it will pass!!
    Carol & Dinar – don’t give up hope. My husband had a heart attack and we changed our ways. After a short time he slipped back into eating a SAD diet…and then so did I. Then I had a heart attack and I was way too young!! The thought of losing me made my husband say – “that’s it!!! We are taking care. of ourselves!! I cant stand the thought of losing you.” Funny how he cared more about my health than his own. Now we are both Plant Strong and keep each other going!!

  • wendy (healthy girls kitchen)
    Posted at 21:31h, 12 June

    Thanks N, I feel like you wrote this one just for me! xoxo

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