Right after failure it’s easy to make goals and plans. The body isn’t missing anything at that point so it’s easy to feel confident that, in the future, we will have the willpower and resolve to win. Yet, hunger seems to come back when we aren’t feeling as confident. Like a traitor, the body starts whispering to us about not being ready to go without. It may tell us about our inability to resist the temptation. The argument is persuasive, but not true. That is the time to fight the feelings. They are strongest then. If we can fend them off successfully, each subsequent wave will be easier. When we feel humble and weak, it’s good to have that part of the battle over. But, it doesn’t end there. The waves keep coming. They may be much smaller, and easier to defeat, but they keep coming. Because they are easier to manage, we might start feeling brave. We may start to venture from our strong places and spend less time minding our defenses. When we have forgotten about the enemy, it sets up an ambush to catch us unaware. It’s better to keep some healthy fear of this enemy. It does take energy to remain vigilant, but not as much as it does to climb back up on the wagon after you’ve fallen off.
What is the context for my thinking? At work there is a daily replenishing of snacks in the break room. I can choose from M&Ms, granola bars, Skittles, peppermint patties, Sun Chips, Cheetos, etc. There is no cost for this perk, and nobody watches to see who takes what.
When I started my job, I was eating healthy things and avoiding fast food and candy completely. I wish I could say I kept it up. Eventually I was eating things from the snack room, and my appetite for the sweet things grew. The more I relaxed my standards, the harder it was to control how much I was eating. I would give in to something small, and then it was so much easier to give in to one, or two, or three more things later in the day. For my new year’s resolution I said enough is enough, and once again I am avoiding the snacks completely. It’s been close to two months, and it’s much easier now than when I started. This time I know I can’t make exceptions. If I’m going to stay away from the snacks, I have to stay away from them completely.