Temptation Exhaustion: A Sure Path To Failure – Insights from the Wilderness #261

My relationship with temptation exhaustion over the years has been up close and personal. To state that differently, temptation exhaustion has won every battle I’ve had with it. It’s powerful beyond words. It’s sneaky. It’s subtle. It attacks when you’re the most vulnerable. It has no mercy. No empathy. No concern for my well-being. It’s an enemy I’ve come to respect and avoid. It is scarier than any alien from outer space. And it comes back every winter.

My Old Temptation Story

Here’s my old story. It’s an ancient story that took place almost every year. It went something like this……..

Fall was just around the corner. The kids were back in school. Snow would be falling before we know it. Time to think about heading back to the couch, opening the potato chips, flipping on the TV and watching a good action movie………until next June when summer starts all over again.

I would get up off the couch and head for the kitchen looking for a snack. That’s when I would stop and remind myself of my resolve not to eat after supper. “No, wait!” I would say to myself every evening. “I did snacking last winter, and it took four months to shed the winter ‘pounds’ I created on that couch. I said I’d never do it again. Ever!!” I would then go back to the couch empty handed.

A short time later I’d say to myself, “OK, just a small glass of wine tonight. Twenty minutes later I would go back for another glass of wine. As I put the bottle back in the refrigerator, my eyes would glance up at the ice-cream in the freezer. I would quickly slam the door shut and head back to the couch. The inevitable fall into temptation, however, was now in plain sight. I was about to succumb to temptation exhaustion.

Eventually, there would be a commercial on the TV talking about food. It always looked scrumptious (it’s supposed to because it’s an ad). So I’d head for one last glass of wine. Two hours later I’d go to bed and ask myself why I did it! Why did I eat that large bowl of ice-cream, the potato chips, and so many of those cookies…….before popping the bag of popcorn.

I never liked myself the next day. But by suppertime, an insidious thought would flicker through my mind…….”I blew it last night. I have to go on a diet. But I will start it tomorrow. Besides, there is still almost a quart of good caramel vanilla ice-cream in the freezer. I’ll just finish that, have another glass of wine and start the diet in the morning.”

Over the weeks and months of winter, the numbers on the scale in the bathroom would continue to climb.

Yup……that’s the old story. I lived it over and over again every winter!….until about five years ago. Then I learned how to defeat temptation exhaustion once and for all.

The Simple Technique I Discovered To Defeat Temptation Exhaustion

After years of riding the excess pounds roller coaster, I discovered the simple technique to defeat temptation exhaustion once and for all. It’s simple, but trust me, it’s the only technique that has ever worked for me. It’s now my time-tested, sure fired way to keep the winter “pounds” at bay….and sail into spring trim and ready for another summer.

The solution came to me when I read an article that said it’s been scientifically proven that the human ego cannot resist temptation very long. If you’re a human being, your ego’s resolve to avoid temptation is extremely limited. Our ego’s are not wired for delayed gratification when it comes to food. We are wired for survival. If the food is in front of us, we’re hardwired to eat it. Stated differently, you’re not going to win the struggle with weight gain if there is high-calorie food in your house. Especially carbohydrates like bread and sugar. If they are, you will simply do what any human being will do; you will experience temptation exhaustion. It’s not because you’re weak…..it’s because your human.

If you have two bags of cookies, a bag of potato chips, a jar of cashew nuts, a half gallon of good vanilla caramel ice-cream, some chocolate candy bars, a box of microwave extra butter theatre popcorn, two racks of pork ribs, three loaves of garlic bread, a box of wheat thins, another box of cheese-it’s, and some beer and wine in the fridge. You will” experience temptation exhaustion. Count on it!

(Drinking beer and wine before you open the cupboard or refrigerator is an excellent way to put your consciousness to sleep and ensure that any lingering resolve not to munch is totally removed from your brain.)

Ok, maybe I’m the only human being that is overcome with temptation exhaustion. Oh…..you do too! I thought so.  :-)))

Here are the ways I’ve learned to avoid temptation exhaustion.

Some Skills To Avoid Temptation Exhaustion

  1. The resolve to avoid temptation exhaustion begins in the grocery store.  If you don’t want to experience temptation exhaustion, don’t bring high-calorie food into your house. It’s that simple. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it. Right? You can think about cookies. You can dream about them. You can picture how good they would taste. You just can’t eat them…..because they are still in the store!
  2. Exercise daily, but remember you have to do a marathon workout to lose weight. And every day you do that marathon workout, you will lose less weight because your body will adapt to the new intake/output program. Exercise is good for your health, but if your goal is to lose weight, you have to stop eating calories. To do that, refer to #1 above.
  3. If you’re serious about losing weight, you have to count calories…..every calorie that goes into your mouth. You can’t use the “I didn’t inhale” excuse. If you swallow, count it! Experts tell us that if you want to achieve a goal, no matter what it is, find a way to measure it. You’re seven times more likely to achieve your goals if you do.For example, I am a writer. So one of my important goals is to write at least 1000 words each day even they are terrible words. In other words, show up, and write! And I don’t give myself permission to stop until I have 1000 words down on paper. I can’t cheat because I’ve programmed my computer to count them.This a basic rule of success and goal achievement, and it works for weight loss as well as writing. If you want to achieve a goal…..measure it.
  4. Make a list of your goals. Successful people also write down their goals. And because they do, they are 7 times more likely to achieve their goals than people who don’t write them down.For example, if you want to eliminate temptation exhaustion and actually keep your weight where you want it, both summer and winter, then make a list of all the ways you’re going to achieve that goal. Then post it on your bathroom mirror and read it each morning….especially on those days you’re going to be in a grocery story. If you don’t, the probability is high that you will find yourself back in temptation exhaustion mode very quickly.When you include writing your goals down, and then measuring them, you’re almost certain to achieve them.
  5. And finally, and most importantly, if you fall off the wagon, DO NOT PUT YOURSELF DOWN. If you do, you are programming your unconscious mind for failure and depression. Depression almost always leads to eating high-calorie food. It’s called feeding your feelings.We all fall off the wagon from time to time……that is ,of course, assuming you’re a human being. It’s normal. So if you catch yourself feeling self-critical just pay attention to how your talking to yourself and then replace those self-negative thoughts with positive, self-affirming thoughts. One of the best ways to do this is to write out a self-affirmation “mantra” that you can repeat over and over to yourself. Again get it on paper and put it on your bathroom mirror. Learn to pay attention to your negative self-thoughts. We all have them and they can cause us to be very self-destructive.

(One of my more helpful self-statements is STOP. DO NOT ENTER THE SHOWER. REMOVE YOUR HEARING AIDS!) I put it all in caps because it’s one of my more important goals.

Anyways, you get the point. If you want to achieve a goal write it down. And writing a positive self-affirming mantra is an important goal that all of us should have hanging on our bathroom mirror.

Now, where did I put the potato chips????? Oh yeah, they’re still in the store. Bummer. Guess I’ll go read.

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2 Responses to Temptation Exhaustion: A Sure Path To Failure – Insights from the Wilderness #261

  1. Suzanne Moynihan, SSND August 18, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    I like the idea of “temptation fatigue”. Who wants to get tired out that way? What helped me in your article, especially, was to take the bull by the horns, write out my goal to exercise: walk/lift weights/do yoga on a regular basis and to measure my progress. That way, I can’t duck behind the “good intention” excuse. Thanks for being vulnerable to the rest of us–is that also one of your goals?

    • Dick Rauscher August 20, 2016 at 7:10 am #

      Thanks for the feedback Suzanne. Yes, I’ve learned that people take in new information more easily if they hear it in a story or in the personal experiences of others.

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