Your ef­fec­tive strat­egy for avoid­ing food temp­ta­tions

The Arizona Republic - - Best Life - Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen

When The Temp­ta­tions sang “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” in 1964, they earned their first top-20 hit. That was sweet, se­duc­tive mu­sic for sure. But the temp­ta­tions you face from added fats and sweets in your ev­ery­day life af­fect the way you do the things you do, but not in such a pos­i­tive way.

Any­one who’s strug­gled to shed pounds or over­come diet-re­lated health is­sues knows that temp­ta­tions are ev­ery­where:

❚ In the gro­cery store check­out line you’re sur­rounded by pro­cessed, added-sugar health bombs. (In Eng­land they tested elim­i­nat­ing such foods from the check­out aisles and found a 76 per­cent re­duc­tion in “grab and eat” pur­chases of snacky foods.)

❚ TV and the in­ter­net bom­bard you with ads for snacks, sweets and treats. In 2012 fast-food restau­rants spent $4.6 bil­lion on all ad­ver­tis­ing, and Happy Meal dis­play ads in­creased 63 per­cent to 31 mil­lion ads monthly.

❚ So­cial me­dia is re­lent­less, too. In 2012, 6 bil­lion fast-food ads ap­peared on Face­book alone.

To em­brace healthy eat­ing habits, you need a plan to deal with the temp­ta­tions you face ev­ery day. But first, let’s clear away the big­gest myth that may be keep­ing you from mak­ing progress ...

Willpower alone won’t cut it. No mat­ter how de­ter­mined, chances are you can’t end­lessly tough it out. You need a strat­egy, not an iron will, to re­sist temp­ta­tions.

Now, let’s build your strat­egy for suc­cess, which will help you dodge the temp­ta­tions you en­counter:

No. 1 Take charge of your sur­round­ings. If there’s al­ways junk food at work, make sure you have health­ful snacks on hand. You can en­joy them while your co-work­ers stuff their faces and ding their health. Pack bag­gies with trail mix, nuts, veg­gie slices, even 1-ounce chunks of 70 per­cent dark choco­late.

No. 2 Do a pantry/shelf sweep. If you have treach­er­ous temp­ta­tions on your kitchen shelves, ban­ish them. And if your spouse or part­ner in­sists on keep­ing them in the house, se­quester them some­where you can avoid see­ing them (the temp­ta­tions, not your spouse.).

No. 3 Avoid “hunger panic.” If you’ve got a busy day with no time for meals, are on the road a lot or headed into new ter­ri­tory, pre­pare and pack up lunch, snacks, bev­er­ages and even din­ner, if needed.

No. 4 Talk to your friends and fam­ily about your goal. En­list an AT (Avoid Temp­ta­tions) Buddy — a friend, co­worker or fam­ily mem­ber who also wants to elim­i­nate food temp­ta­tions. You can work to­gether by ex­chang­ing daily re­ports on how you’re do­ing.

No. 5 Build in re­wards. Ev­ery­one de­serves a health­ful treat. Slow-roast straw­ber­ries and al­monds and stir into non­fat Greek yo­gurt. Driz­zle melted 70 per­cent ca­cao dark choco­late over or­ange slices.

No. 6 For­give if you for­get. This is one of the most im­por­tant prin­ci­pals of Dr. Mike’s eat­ing plan: Don’t beat your­self up for back­slid­ing. So, you gob­bled some fries. Try next time to avoid them — choose an ap­ple in­stead.

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