Going into temptation again

I was once doing an interview with someone on TV and I mentioned that I have chocolate every night. Their response of shock was shown by their facial expression, ‘You eat chocolate every night?’ they asked in a surprised manner. Because they saw me as the fitness professional they obviously felt that I must be an example of a person with perfect discipline, who would never have bad foods. While I consider myself to be a healthy person who eats well and exercises, I do eat chocolate, and I do have it every night of the week. 

The thing with me and chocolate is, I have total control over it. Every night around 8pm I make a cup of tea and have five pieces of Whittakers Dark Ghana. I love it, I slowly suck every piece so I can get all of the flavor out of it. It’s one of my daily treats. The key thing to me and chocolate is, I never have more than that. Five pieces never turns into a block, I have a habit that I enjoy and I have a healthy control over it. For this reason I personally have no problem with having chocolate in my life. In saying this, I’m far from perfect. While I can healthily deal with chocolate, Coke Zero is a totally different story! 

Over the years I’ve had my personal battles with Coke Zero. I’m not the kind of person who can have a can of it and leave it at that. When I’m drinking Coke Zero I can easily end up drinking over three liters in one day. I know, that’s a lot of Coke Zero! For a guy who eats well, doesn’t drink alcohol, do drugs, or smoke it’s easy to justify having Coke Zero as my weakness. At times I have found myself thinking that of all the bad things I could do this isn’t that bad. While there is some truth to this there is one cost of drinking this much that I know does effect me. When I drink this much I feel I have no control, there’s a cost to my thoughts about myself because I feel like I lack discipline. Plus with that much caffeine in my system I don’t sleep that well. 

Over the years one of the best strategies that I have used with Coke Zero is to not have it at all. By leaving the door totally closed on the possibility of having it in my mind I haven’t had to face the battle of avoiding it at all cost. This strategy has been pretty successful but there are those occasions where I open that door again and discover that I’m drinking a truck load of it again. 

Around three months ago I had one of those ‘open the door’ moments and I was drinking to much of it. I realized I was doing this so I went back to stopping drinking it. At this time I thought to myself ‘How can I stop those ‘opening moments’ from happening?’. After thinking long and hard about this I determined that when the thought of drinking Coke Zero would pop into my head I would think about how I feel after I drink it. I would remind myself of the effects on my self perception, how my sleeping would suffer and how that would affect my next day, I’d also remind myself how for some reason when I drunk it it actually hurt my throat a bit. 

Suddenly when I would stop off at the petrol station, a time where often the thought of grabbing a Coke popped into my head (which meant I was having an opening moment), I would think about how I would feel afterward. I thought of the negative affects. I wouldn’t just think of them, I would try to feel how I would feel and hear the hard words I would tell myself. This strategy instantly closed the thought of getting a can. In my weakest moment I was reminding myself what the real cost of doing this action would be. Since I’ve put this strategy in place I’ve found it easy to reject this temptation, it just doesn’t seem worth it. 

Temptation is a funny thing. We all have temptations in our lives. Some of them we have a healthy control over, like me with chocolate, and some we don’t, Coke Zero in my situation. If you know you have a temptation which takes you to a place where you don’t like yourself or the outcomes of that temptation, maybe you could practice the strategy of thinking of the effects. You are learning your weakest moments and remind yourself of the real cost of moving towards your temptation. Maybe, like me, you’ll find that this temptation starts to lose its appeal. 


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Bevan Eyles