For all intents and purposes, this is basically a universal law. Just like the law of gravity. Just like the law of thermodynamics. You can’t fight it. It’s indisputable. If you bring a food into your house, it will eventually get eaten. The question is: will it get eaten by you?
Most people over-rely on “willpower” when they are trying to make health changes. And, you know how we feel about willpower. The reality is that willpower is short-lived. It can be fantastic for initiating change, but it’s not so great for sustaining change.
So, when you’re on day 3 of your new eating plan, those chocolate covered pretzels that your roommate bought don’t even merit a second glance. Please. Chocolate covered pretzels - those are so not part of this incredible new lifestyle that I’m creating. I’m so full of energy and vibrancy and amazingness without them. Then, day 17 rolls around. You’re still not budging, but your interest is piqued. Hmm. Those chocolate covered pretzels are still here. I wonder if they’re any good. Then, day 29 rolls around. You had a bad day at work. You didn’t sleep well last night. And you skipped lunch. Oh, chocolate covered pretzels - come to me!
Obviously, this is an exaggerated example...but it’s not that exaggerated. Many of my clients share shockingly similar versions of this story day in and day out. The only thing that changes is the trigger food.
Hyperpalatable food is a seductress. She will tempt you. She will tease you. And she will eventually have her way with you if you do not wise up.
You need to simultaneously manage your mind, your body AND your environment. You can manage your mind by exploring why you eat what you eat in the first place. You can manage your body by identifying any nutritional or biochemical imbalances that might be leading to cravings. And you can manage your environment by not bringing certain foods into your home. You must be relentless when it comes to controlling your environment*. If you’re not controlling your environment, your environment is controlling you.
And, if you live with other people, especially those that don’t share the same views and priorities about health, then you need to be that much more vigilant about your own boundaries. Or move. I’m serious. Health is contagious. So is dis-ease. Pick your bedfellows wisely.
*Sidenote: On the occasions that you do decide to indulge in pleasure foods, I encourage you to make it intentional. Go out and select the highest quality food that you can find. Choose an appropriate portion size that will satisfy you in one sitting (both emotionally and physically). Be present. Take...your...time...eating. Express gratitude for whatever yummy goodness you had. Then, be done with it and move on with your glorious life.