I had the craziest experience at the grocery store the other day and it’s teaching me all about how to resist junk food cravings. Do you remember Flip Wilson’s old skit The Devil Made Me Do It? It’s about a wife who brings home her 3rd new dress this week. When her husband says “What? Another Dress??!” She explains to him, “I didn’t want to buy this dress. The DEVIL made me buy this dress…. He threatened me and made me try it on. And then he pulled a gun. And made me sign your name to a check.” Well, this week, the Devil made me buy cookies.
(If you’re too young to know who Flip Wilson is, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. Just take a moment to watch this hilarious 2-minute clip right here. Then come right back. I’ll wait.)
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The Devil Made Me Do It
As I was saying, this week the DEVIL made me buy cookies. Cookies that are glued together with creamy frosting. I wasn’t going to buy cookies. I haven’t bought cookies in YEARS. In fact, I was in the grocery store to buy cabbage on sale, not cookies. But there was a lady standing right at the front door handing out little pieces of cookie samples. I stopped to chat with her and that’s when I heard the devil coming up behind me tiptoeing and I said to myself “I’m not going to look back there because I know it’s the devil.” And then he sneaked up and leaned on my shoulder and said, “Say, Mama, look at those cookies on the table there. They’re on sale and they’re you’re favorite, too. It’s been a long time since you ate a cookie. I know you looooooove cookies. Why don’t you treat yourself to a package of cookies?” I said, “Cut that out, Devil. I ain’t buying no cookies and you better leave me alone, honey.” And I walked away from the table, thinking I had won the victory over the devil and the cookies.
I did my shopping. I put all the healthy things into my cart. And then I got in line to check out, without going back to the sample table and picking up a package of cookies, even though by this point I was totally craving them. I was pretty proud of the restraint I was showing and my ability to resist junk food cravings.
And that’s when it happened. I’m not even exactly sure how it happened, I just know it happened.
I started chatting with the man behind me in line and somehow, in the course of the conversation, I asked if he had tried the cookie samples at the front door. “It’s two chocolate chunk cookies glued together with frosting,” I told him. That’s all he needed to hear. He dashed off and grabbed himself a package.
And that’s when things got a little crazy.
When he rejoined me in the line he cheerfully said, “You’re a BAD INFLUENCE!” and I couldn’t help but laugh. Well, laughing did me in. He noticed I hadn’t bought any cookies and said, “Hey! You need to go home with some of these, too! Do you want these ones?” Well, yes and no. Of course I wanted them… but should I buy them? NO, I shouldn’t. He handed his package of cookies to the cashier and said, “Here, these are for her” and dashed off to get himself another package. (He came back with 2 packages. They were really delicious-looking cookies! And the people behind him ran over to the sample table and bought a package, too. Somebody at the grocery store needs to put me on the payroll.)
The cashier asked me, “Do you want these cookies?” and I did want them, but I didn’t want them at the same time. I should have said “NO,” but instead I was laughing and I said “I don’t think I have a choice. I think I have to buy them now.”
So I bought them. But I told the man, “I’m going to have some explaining to do when I get home and my husband sees these.”
He said, “Nah, you won’t have anything to explain.”
And I thought to myself, “But what you don’t know Sir, is that I’m launching a new healthy eating blog in the morning, so yes, I will have to explain this purchase. Not just to my husband and children but to the thousands of people who read my blog.”
My Proof This Really, Truly Happened
And then it occurred to me, “Nobody will ever believe this really happened.” Even my husband won’t believe that I was checking out sans cookies when a stranger practically threw them into my cart. So we took an obligatory cookie-selfie so that I have proof all this really happened.
(This is my new friend Mr. K. He is not the devil. 😉 And yes, he gave me permission to post this picture on my blog.)
Sure enough, when I got home I had some explaining to do. After spending 15 years listening to me harp at him about only eating healthy food, my husband didn’t really buy my “The Devil Made Me Do It” explanation. He just looked at me funny and I knew he was thinking “Every time you do something wrong, you blame it on the devil.” I made a feeble attempt at explaining it away, but I think I’m just going to send him a link to this blog post.
How To Resist Junk Food Cravings
So now I’m sitting here trying to write with cookies sitting on my desk, taunting me. They’re calling out to me “eat me, eat me!” And to be perfectly honest, I really do want to eat them. I’m craving them like you wouldn’t believe. But I know I shouldn’t eat these. These cookies are not going to do any favors for my body. So instead, I’m writing this list of ways to resist junk food cravings. And then I’ll read the list to myself, over and over again.
#1 – Don’t Buy Junk Food In The First Place. Clearly, I failed this time, but next time I’ll do better. The place to fight junk food cravings is at the grocery store, not at home. If I start craving junk food and it’s not in the house, I’m not going to eat it.
#2 – Distance Yourself From the Food You’re Craving. This goes hand in hand with point #1, but if the junk food did make it into the house, find a way to get it far away from you. Throw it out, give it away. If you can’t do that, get up and leave the room so that it’s not looking you in the face saying, “Eat me! Eat me!”
#3 – Drink Water! Drinking water can make you feel full and help redirect your appetite and curb the cravings.
#4 – Eat more protein! When I’m craving sugar and other junk foods, I’ve learned that it’s usually a sign that my body is needing some extra protein. I’ll a handful of almonds and suddenly I’m not craving junk food anymore.
#5 – Know and be able to recognize your triggers. When do you crave junk food? For me, I always want to munch on something when I’m up late working at my computer. It doesn’t matter how much I ate for dinner because I’m not actually hungry, it’s just something to keep my hands and mouth busy while I think.
#6 -Give yourself a cut off time so that you don’t eat at all after a certain time. I’ve been practicing an approach to Intermittent Fasting where I eat every day, but I don’t eat after a certain time. This has helped me so much! I know that late at night is when I tend to want to eat things I shouldn’t. It’s much easier to catch myself and deny a junk food craving when it hits after my cut-off time.
#7 – Avoid getting extremely hungry. Remember that story in the Bible where Esau sold his brother his birthright for a pot of lentils? We do dumb things and make terrible decisions when we’re hungry.
#8 – Go to bed early. This is especially helpful if you start wanting to much late at night, like I do.
#9 – Keep a Food Journal. Just knowing that I have to write down every single thing I eat (even if it’s just a bite) keeps me honest. I’m more inclined to make healthy food choices if I know I’ll be writing down what I ate for posterity.
#10 – Go exercise when you think you will give in. Not only does this remove yourself from the temptation, but it distracts your body and gives it something healthy (exercise) instead of food that will hurt it.
#11 – Keep healthy food handy. Stock your kitchen in such a way that it is easier to make a healthy choice than an unhealthy one.
#12 – Remind yourself what this will do to your body. Intentionally think about the long-term consequences of eating the thing you think you want and decide if it’s worth it.
Don’t Miss Your Free Reminder Cards
I’ve prepared a set of 12 Reminder Cards that you can print out and carry with you or display around your house to help keep you on track. You’ll find it in the Free Resource Library. The library is protected with a password which you will find at the bottom of every email I send to you. Click here to receive your password. (Or click here to be taken to the library if you are already a member.)