Have you tried eating Halloween candy on purpose?
Seriously, I’m not joking. This is not a trick.
You might ask, “Aren’t we supposed to just resist candy and use our willpower to minimize consumption and then feel bad about the stuff we did eat?” To which we would say, “absolutely not.”
Think about this. What usually goes down? It’s Halloween and now there are mini candies at the office, at home, and pretty much at every turn. It seems impossible for most people to not eat any candy this time of year. You end up eating more treats than you wish you did, you feel like crap, and you say mean things to yourself. Then, before you know it, it’s Thanksgiving, then the holiday parties start and the cycle repeats itself until Spring when you tell yourself you’re finally going to get it together. Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t.
This is all utter nonsense! Have you ever stopped and thought about why you do this to yourself? (hmmm?)
I want to offer you a practice that has helped me and thousands of other people. Simply bring intention to your sugar consumption. Decide ahead of time, what you want, how much of it works for you, and why you want to have it. Be realistic. I like to plan the night before or first thing in the morning, before all my cravings kick in. Make a plan and follow it.
If it’s not on the plan then don’t eat it. Not eating something is actually the easiest thing you can do. You just don’t do anything. You will suddenly become very aware of all the things you didn’t plan for and you will make these moments mean all sorts of things. Your brain will create suffering, but it’s not real. You are not suffering, nor dying, nor missing out on life. It’s just a treat and if you were realistic then you know another treat is just around the corner. No big deal!
This practice harnesses the power of your prefrontal cortex. It helps you reduce urges and cravings over time and actually allows you to really enjoy the choices you make. No more self-induced guilt or feeling powerless over food.
Here’s the best news. If you create a plan and don’t follow it…no problem. One of the biggest reasons people can’t follow their plan is because they are not being realistic enough. They over plan or think they should be doing something really different from what they’re actually doing. It is not a race. You will get to where you think you “should” be but the most important thing is to start where you are at. If your behavior has been pretty mindless in the past then you may not have a grasp on the realities of what you do day-to-day, and that is OK. You just have to start somewhere.