Tackling tempation

I don’t know about the rest of you, but willpower and I don’t really get along all that well. More than anything, I really struggle with temptation. If there’s candy in my desk drawer, I’m going to eat it. If I open a bag of snacks, I’m not going to stop after the recommended serving size. At parties, I can’t just try a sampling of the appetizers; I park myself next to whatever is most delicious and munch away. With the holidays coming up, I know that temptation is going to be confronting me at every turn. I’ve committed to both #6W2C and #Fit4Fifteen to help myself stay on track through the end of the holiday season, but those challenges aren’t going to take me all the way on their own. I also need to employ some handy tricks to keep myself on track.

Tip #1: Pre-portion all snacks as soon as you get home from the grocery store. 

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I did my grocery shopping at the new Market Basket in my town last night, and I was super excited to find this Cedar’s Spinach Dip, made with Greek yogurt. Cedar’s is based in the Merrimack Valley, here in MA, and I’m a huge fan of their products. They’ve also been generous donors to the youth conference I volunteer with in the past, so I like to support them whenever I can. At only 50 calories per serving, this is a great thing to have on hand for an afternoon snack with pretzels or cut up vegetables. However, I know that if I were to just start dunking carrot sticks directly in that tub of dip, I’d exceed the recommended serving before I knew it. To ward off any temptation, I picked up small snack size dip containers and pre-portioned out the tub as soon as I got home. The tub contained twelve 50-calorie servings, so I portioned it into six small cups to have at work as an afternoon snack this week.

Tip #2: Stock your kitchen with healthy, nourishing snacks. 

You know the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do”? In my kitchen, it’s “Colleen see, Colleen eat.” If you keep your biggest temptations on hand, you’re more likely to eat them. Bypass those aisles at the grocery store and resist the urge to add tempting foods to your cart. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll only have those cookies once a week as a special treat, but we know that’s a lie. That ice cream will definitely not be for PMS emergencies only, and I don’t care how much you swear that you’re only buying those chocolate chips as an addition to protein pancakes, we both know those will end up getting eaten by the handful after a bad day at work. Try instead to make sure that you always have plenty of healthy foods on hand that still feel like you’re giving yourself a treat. Avocados are one of my favorite healthy treat foods – adding them to eggs or mashing them on toast feels so indulgent, but I’m getting the healthy fats that my body needs. I also always have apples, hard boiled eggs, and preportioned baggies of turkey or beef jerkey on hand. These are all snacks that are easy to grab and go if I’m in a rush, and they fill me up and satisfy me without destroying my healthy eating plan for the day.

Tip #3: The freezer is your friend. 

I could pretend that my kitchen is a place where you will find only healthy, nutritious food items. This would be a lie. Yes, I do try to avoid keeping tempting foods around, but I’m human, and sometimes a girl needs a Snickers. I keep a bag of fun sized Snickers bars in my freezer at all times. That way, if I decide I really do want a little chocolate treat, I can go for just one bar. The bar needs to thaw a bit before it’s edible (unless I want to break a tooth!) and that time helps me to limit myself to just the single serving, and to be mindful that I’m treating myself to this snack.

Tip #4: Don’t go to holiday parties on an empty stomach.

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I always have a snack before I go to a holiday party. It’s easier to resist all the tempting appetizers if you’ve already got something healthy in your stomach. I might make a half serving size of Shakeology, or I might grab a handful of almonds and an apple. It’s also a good idea to have a full glass of water before you leave for any holiday events, and to keep drinking water throughout the night. Hydrating will help you feel fuller, and it will also keep you from overindulging in the holiday punch! I know that my already weak willpower becomes completely nonexistent after a few glasses of festive sangria.

Tip #5: Plan ahead.

When I go out to eat, I like to read the menu online ahead of time and plan out what I’m going to eat. This gives me time to think about healthy substitutions so I won’t delay my dining companions when we’re all ready to order. It also lets me preview both appetizers and desserts so I can decide where I’d rather splurge. This type of planning can be harder if you’re attending a party hosted in someone’s home, but there are ways around this! Call the host and ask if there’s anything you can contribute to the event. Maybe you can bring a healthy appetizer option, or prepare a side dish that utilizes lots of delicious vegetables without drowning them in butter or cream.

Tip #6: Don’t forget to enjoy yourself! 

At the end of the day, the holidays should be about having a good time with the people you care most about. Don’t get so caught up in trying to make healthy decisions that you forget to have a good time. It’s okay if you slip up. No one is perfect! This is all about finding balance. Set yourself up to succeed by reducing temptation wherever possible, and you’ll find that your slip ups are few far between. And if you do overindulge on pumpkin pie come Thanksgiving, well, at least it’s only one day out of the year. Get up and go for a run the next day, and remember that every day is a new chance to start over and make healthier choices.

What are some of the ways you resist temptation?
Share your favorite tips in the comments!

Fitnasty for Life
This post is my contribution to this week’s #fit4fifteen link up, hosted by Carolyn over at Fitnasty for Life. Make sure to check out some of the other awesome bloggers in the link up – they’ve all got great stories to share!
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14 thoughts on “Tackling tempation

    • Honestly I have guilt at times when I use disposable snack baggies, but there are so many green options out there to choose from! The ziplock and gladware containers at the supermarket are great and I also always check stores like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for higher quality glass or metal containers at a great price.

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  1. Holiday season is hard when it comes to fitness but I totally agree-if you indulge, it’s okay! Excerise the next day. I don’t think we should not enjoy the holiday meals because we’re afraid of some calories. That’s not what it’s about. Let’s pig out with our families with no guilt and make it up at the gym the next day when the fun is over! I don’t feel like that is making an unhealthy choice, just being humans. 🙂

    Also-I’m totally on the avocado train with you & Stephanie. We incorporate avocados with dinner at least twice a week.

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    • My problem is that it becomes a weekly event — there are SO MANY excuses to indulge over the holidays. All about balance. And oh mannnnnn those avocados. The bags at trader joes are so cheap but then I eat them wayyyy too often!

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  2. OMG the holidays are soooo hard, at least 2x per week/weekend I have something planned through new years… trying hard to not over indulge this season when I attend those festivities. I agree that pre-planning is the way to do it. If i pre-plan my meals/food/snacks or even when I’m going out to eat i’m 90% more likely to be “good” that day! Checking you out from the link up! #fit4fifteen

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  3. I think that I have WAY too much willpower when it comes to things like this. I’m really, really good at just having one serving of chocolate or some other snack or “junk” food. Where I get in trouble is actually healthy food. You put a veggie tray in front of me and I don’t stop until I’m picking up tiny bits of broccoli with my finger nails. One would think it would be a good thing but no, there is definitely such thing as too much of a good thing. I usually spend the rest of the night in digestional agony because helloooo fiber. One time I ate an entire bag of baby carrots while watching a movie. That was horrible. I think I glowed orange for days. Now that it’s winter, the last thing I want to eat is something cold, so I can stand in front of a bowl of candy bars and a big huge salad and still whine that there’s nothing to eat.

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  4. I love your idea of portioning out your snacks as soon as you get back from the grocery store. I need to start doing that. I’ve been doing better since I stopped depriving myself and just started focusing on portion control. Hopefully, I can keep that up through the holidays. We can do it! 🙂

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  5. Oh my goodness, I feel like you took the words right out of my mouth. I am the EXACT same way for so many of these things. I also really really struggle with moderation in a social setting, and I definitely cannot keep my “danger” foods in my apartment (no matter how much I try to justify it in the grocery store). These are really great tips– I’ll definitely be using some of them to make it through the holiday season!! Thanks for linking up!! xoxo

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