Don’t you hate it when your tongue likes a food, but the rest of your body does not?
Such is my case with bread and sugar!
While my tongue likes the taste of both of these. my sinuses act up, I get bloated, have a headache, and start sneezing if I eat too much of them.
Unfortunately, it is easy forget negative effects when temptation is staring you in the face.
This happened to me once when my husband Mike bought some trail mix home.
Actually, he bought 2 bags.
I strive not to bring snack foods home that hijack my brain. My motto is to avoid food fights:
“The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place.”
However, I didn’t have control over it this time. What is a girl to do?
Well, I did eat a serving of the trail mix. The problem was that the serving turned into two, then three.
Uh-oh! I know how this story ends. The Bible says,
As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly (Proverbs 26:11).
Therefore, to help myself avoid repeating this pattern and win this snack food battle, I knew I had to win 2 battles:
- Manage my environment outside
- Manage my mental/emotional battle inside
Here is how I did that.
The Environmental Battle
This simply means changing my environment to block my vision of the snack food and making it harder to get.
Here is what I did:
1. Got a plastic grocery bag and wrote on it: ‘Breadstuffs – Stuffy Nose, Bloated, Headache, Sneezing.’ I did that to remind myself of the end result of eating the trail mix.
In this way, I wouldn’t deceive myself in thinking this is only about the taste.
2. Put the trail mix into the bag and tied it up. Most of the things that spark our desires are the things we see.
Putting snack foods that you don’t want to eat into an opaque or colored bag is helpful to block your vision of the bright lettering and appealing contents.
3. Put the grocery bag with the trail mix into the deep freezer in the garage. This step is to make the trail mix harder to get for me, however Mike can get it as he likes.
Now why did I go through all of this trouble?
The key is to put up roadblocks in my habit pattern of trail mix eating. Here is the Before pattern:
- I see the trail mix
- I imagine how good it is going to taste
- I measure out the amount
- I eat it
Now, here would be the After pattern, if I choose to take it:
- Leave the warm house
- Go out into the cold garage
- Reach into the deepest part of the even colder freezer
- Untie the bag and ignore all of the symptoms I wrote on the bag
- Open up the trail mix bag inside
- Bring the bag back into the house
- Measure out an amount…
See, I can’t even finish when I imagine it. It’s too much trouble!
That is why you want to make the habits you want to break too much trouble to practice.
It’s a practical way to put Romans 13:14 into practice:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
The reason many of us practice negative habits is because we make them convenient to practice.
Human beings naturally follow the path of least resistance. Therefore, if you make it easy to practice overeating (make provision for it), then that is what you are likely to do.
Simple as that.
Now, that takes care of my Environmental battle. I engineered my environment to make the habit less convenient.
This is a great start.
However, what about the mental and emotional battle of the trail mix?
The Mental/Emotional Battle
The mental/emotional battle is actually the harder one. In order for me to eat the trail mix, I must desire it.
To overcome means re-directing that desire.
Desire is not logical; desire comes from our memories or imagination (in the absence of a memory) – our emotional selves.
Memories come into play if it is something we’ve done before and we liked it.
If we didn’t like it, we wouldn’t desire it.
If we don’t have a memory of what a particular experience will be like, then our imagination will take over.
Therefore, when the thought of ‘Go get some trail mix’ comes up in my mind, then my memory will display my previous experiences with the trail mix.
The memories will not only include the images, but the feelings associated with the experience – usually positive.
Watch it in your own thoughts the next time a snack food temptation comes up.
Your emotions come first (memory or imagination) and then the logic follows (the reason why it is okay for you to do it).
It is never the other way around.
To short-circuit this sequence, I need to cut this off at the memory level.
When the memory of how good the trail mix will taste comes up, I have to display the memory of how bad my body feels with the stuffy nose, bloating, headache, and sneezing.
I have to rehearse that negative memory in my mind over and over. I need to see that picture or movie strong and clear.
And this is the important part: I need to rehearse this negative memory until it changes my emotions, overtaking my desire for the trail mix.
Confronting your Real Needs
However, that is not the end of it.
Was I really hungry?
If I was hungry, then I need to get a healthy snack to satisfy my hunger. I need to have healthy alternatives in my environment.
However if I was not hungry, then I need to take care of my real need.
Just sitting there never works.
Chances are, physical tension made me want to eat when I wasn’t hungry. Therefore, I needed to get busy with prayer walking, exercise, cleaning up around the house – whatever will get me out of my mind and into my body.
With this plan, I won the snack food battle!
In the Comments, I’d love to hear about any snack food battles you are facing right now. What is your Before pattern? What will be your After pattern?
Be Blessed with Health, Healing, and Wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with overeating sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss.
Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”
Part of the struggle for me is not wanting to do the right thing more than I want to eat the snack or whatever food I’m craving. I may resist for a little while but Then I give in and it’s game over. So frustrating!
Hi Barb – sounds like whatever foods you are choosing are hijacking your brain, which is what food manufacturers want. You may find this article insightful: https://takebackyourtemple.com/the-hidden-reason-you-overeat/
If you have any further questions, pleasure use the Contact Us form to reach out.
You always know the right things to say Kim. I love and appreciate you and this web site so much. I may not participate much verbally, but I’m always looking to your blogs and the community for support. Bless you.
Thank you so much for your feedback, Sherry – I am praising God that this was helpful to you 🙂
My daughter is visiting for a month. She is VERY pregnant and has lots of cravings. I am struggling to not taste the snacks that she has brought into my house. Every night I put it all away so that hopefully it will stay out of sight for most of the day. It is a conscious struggle but I am doing it!
Praise God, Ellen and Congratulations on your impending grandchild! You are respecting your desire to protect your health while respecting your daughter’s food choices. Well done 🙂
I sure needed to see this! I have been losing the snack food battle since October. It happens at work ALL.THE.TIME (I work at a school). I am going to just avoid going into the workroom until lunch time (may mail can wait until then!). And, if there are snacks on the table where I eat, I will move them to the counter out of my way. I will walk right out of the breakroom and take a walk around the halls back to my office and PRAY.
Thanks for sharing that feedback, Shelly! The issue is one that has biological and emotional roots because some processed foods hijack our brain’s reward systems and make us want to eat MORE. And once our brains “learn” that the food makes us feel better, then it is natural to want to turn to that food when you feel emotionally low as a “pick me up.” As the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 – “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” So it’s up to us to protect us from those foods that aren’t helpful so that our lives aren’t harder than they have to be 🙂
Thank you once again!
Here’s my thoughts, my husband used to drink, long before I came along the Lord delivered him of that habit & smoking. As for me, I also was miraculously delivered from smoking cigarettes from a young age. My point, when we married, I still wanted to enjoy a drink of alchohol every now & then, (usually over my parents house, or maybe out with a girlfriend). As I prayed about it for a few years, I never even had the time to indulge in that, and I realized alchohol had a bad effect on me the next few days, not just phyiscally, I wouldn’t experience a hangover, but, I’d sure enough have a bad attitude. Out of respect for my husband, I have chosen to no longer even think about drinking in that manner, and when my older children (over 21) brought or bring alchohol into the house, I’ve gotten rid of it because I would not even want my husband’s eyes seeing it. What I’m saying is, men don’t see things this way. They are very selfish creatures. Down right oblivious, ok, I’ll just say my man is, so, here is another thing to pray over, because it’s just not fair, when you are doing all you can, obviously struggling as we are, and they bring any old thing home, not caring enough to keep it out of the house. As my 7 yr old would say – “THAT’S RUDE!!!!!!” & surely it is. Why would we want our loved ones to stumble, why cause a stumbling block for our spouse? Our Mother or brother or any individual in our household?? Especially the kids!! This one is an eye opener! Hopefully for both parties. Spouses are one flesh, don’t believe me, go through a divorce a see how you feel. It’s like flesh ripping apart. Through this experience, I can smile, and thank God for being my comfort, His Words are sweeter than honey. BTW this is my day 2 of the 14 day Sugar Detox Challenge, and I snapped at my husband for using the heavy calorie mayo instead of the Vegan mayo this morning at 0430 when he lovingly made my lunch as I walked off into the moonlight for yet another 13 hr day. All’s fair in Love & War. II Cor 10:3-5
I appreciate your comment, Darlaine. It was a loving thing for you to do not to bring alcohol in your home to prevent a stumbling block for your husband. Unfortunately, people who don’t struggle with food typically don’t recognize that it can be a stumbling block as sure as alcohol is! In fact, when I got married, I explained it to my husband in that very way. But the truth is, it is a learning process for people who live with us too so lots of grace is needed and for the Lord to give you patience when they bring things in that can make you stumble. I used to get frustrated but now I simply smile and take the steps to protect myself, using God’s wisdom. It is a blimp, but our aim is to keep it moving in spite of blimps 🙂
What a brilliant solution! Think of all the undesirable & sinful behaviors we would stop if only we made those behaviors & desires “inconvenient.” Being honest with ourselves & “labeling” our wrong choices with the consequences instead of the perceived satisfaction is a very mindful way to victory. Thank you so much for sharing!
You are welcome, Freedom! I am thankful to the Lord for showing me this. Nobody teaches like Him!
man what is in that trail mix? I thought trail mix was dried fruit and nuts – maybe you could make your own then you would know what is in it. My husband also like snacking, so I put his snacks out of my sight too, usually next to his part of the sofa. Snax are my biggest enemy and have eroded my biggest wins. When we watch a film together, that is the worst time, when he is snacking and I hear the tempting sound of crisps/chips. Now I try, (try) and remind myself that chips have lots of salt and that’s not good for my blood pressure – logical. But as you day, desire is not logical. So I make a pot of tea to help. Ongoing battle.
Ha, ha Ceejay! It’s got a lot of bread cracker things, like sesame sticks, and two other cracker types, plus peanuts, cashews, and almonds. No dried fruit. Trail mix is just a problem for me in general though. I’m better off with other snack choices. Thanks for the suggestions!
“Get out of my mind in into my body” There’s the point! Well said. My husband always brings trail mix into the house and I have a real struggle with sugary snack foods. I just haven’t had any success in the long term staying away from these kinds of foods. What great strategies!! Thanks Kim
You are welcome, Betty! Willpower is not enough because it is logical. But we often act from emotion (desire), so that’s the level at which we must deal with the problem. God bless you as you practice new strategies to succeed!
Hi Kimberley, I’m from down under in Tasmania, Australia, we are going through a stressful time because of our government, and I have lost my job your words and teaching, especially on limiting our limitless God have really impacted me! I have been listening to your podcast stirring words with Judy , and want to thank you so much ❤
I have moved over 16k and although I still struggle with idolatry of food and over indulgence , I am growing closer to my saviour Jesus Christ, and hope rises every day!
Thanks Angela – I am praising God for the process you have made and are making in your relationship with Him because that is the most important step that any of us can make. I also pray the Lord lead you to your next place of blessing with a job and/or business and that you continue to take steps to build and protect your health in this season. He is with you!