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Women Living Well Blog: How To Overcome A Constant Desire For Food

Women Living Well Blog

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How To Overcome A Constant Desire For Food

Today we have a guest - it's Darlene - the co-author of Reshaping It All! Darlene Schacht is an ordinary mom, living an extraordinary life, because of who she is through Jesus Christ. As help-meet to her husband Michael, Darlene guides and nurtures their four children, leading them toward a deeper walk of faith. She’s also an inspirational writer and co-author of Candace Cameron Bure’s new book, “Reshaping it All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness,” a motivational tool that will put readers on the right track and keep them there. In addition to practical advice, the book offers a biblical perspective on appetite and self control that provides encouragement to women, guiding them toward freedom.

A reader recently asked me how she could overcome her constant desire for sweets. It’s a good question, since it’s a struggle that many of us have tried to defeat. The way that I see it is that we can’t control the things we desire, until our hearts have been changed. Fortunately they naturally change over time so that many of the things we once enjoyed aren’t so appealing anymore, but there are some things that we develop a passion for that never seem to go away, no matter how old we get.

Take chocolate for instance. Some of us developed a weakness for chocolate in our teens and it’s plagued us ever since. For others, like me, it’s potato chips. I just can’t seem to get enough salt. I figured that by the age of 45 this chip phase would be gone, but nope—it still rears its ugly head every time the TV goes on–or when it’s off for that matter.

So how do we separate ourselves from these passions? That question would be similar to one asking “How do I run a marathon?” The answer is simple—a sensible training program will get you there. Sure you can run without training, but all you’ll manage to get is a sprint. In order to complete in a marathon, athletes must train for months or years.

In dieting, the sprint is otherwise known as the “Yo-Yo Diet.” You start off at a great pace, but soon find out that you aren’t equipped for the long run. You can barely make a mile, never mind 26.2. A few months or a year down the road, you start again with the same uncontrolled enthusiasm you had before, and once again you lose steam. If you want to achieve long term success, you must train yourself as an athlete trains for a race—no pain no gain.

Dr. Joyce Beck, author of The Complete Beck Diet for Life, often writes about strengthening our resistance muscle, which she defines as, “a psychological muscle that is strengthened by resisting the urge to eat unplanned food.” She also says, “Life becomes so much easier when your resistance muscle is strong.” If you’re looking to find motivation and change the way you think about food, Dr. Beck’s books, The Complete Beck Diet for Life and The Beck Diet Solution are a great read.

Ways to strengthen our resistance may include:
• Passing on the junk food in the grocery store
• Making a healthy choice when eating out
• Passing on the goodies at group meetings
• Taking one trip to a buffet instead of two or more
• Eating until we’re comfortable rather than stuffed
• Limiting treats to once or twice a week, rather than daily

Our resistance is quite weak on the first three days of a new diet plan. If we can just get past the first three days, things usually seem to get a bit easier. Again if we get past the first three weeks, we start to see the muscle is strengthened and working for us.

Does this sound like a foreign concept? Compare Hebrews 12:11-12:
"At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!"
–Hebrews 12:11-12, The Message

So, the answer to the question, “how could one overcome a constant desire for sweets?” is resistance training. No, it isn’t easy at first, but it does get easier the more we train ourselves to say “no.”

Saying “no” should never include a pacifier. If you’ve had enough sweets, then don’t fall into the trap that so many dieters do of purchasing low-cal alternatives to squeeze a little more in. A few years back, just after I took off 40 pounds, and had maintained for a while, I decided that indulging in low-cal gelatin would be a great afternoon treat. What could it hurt?

I started to get my gelatin ready the night before (cherry is my favorite), then enjoy a large bowlful the next day, in the heat of the afternoon sun. It was working for me, until I tired of the same old afternoon treat, and started rummaging through the cupboards for something better. Pretty soon ice cream and I were bathing together in the hot summer sun, day after day.

Had I just stuck with the plan, which didn’t include an afternoon treat every day, I wouldn’t have had another bad habit to kick. A better idea would have been to plan for an occasional treat.

Imagine how our children would be if every time they cried for a cookie we handed them something sweet. Teaching our children to know when they’ve had enough is an important part of their training. It’s also a part of ours.

Learn to train yourself to eat enough, to make the best choices, and to stick to the plan. That’s how you’ll win this race!

Thank you Darlene for your wisdom in this area!!! I have learned a lot from the book. If you want to learn more from Darlene visit her over at Time Warp Wives. On her blog today is a link up titled Titus 2sdays - we invite you to come link up!
Walk with the King!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Post!!!! :)

January 11, 2011 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Thanks for sharing this!! I struggle with sweets SO much and have been praying that God would change my heart... I see that I run to the cookies when I'm feeling stressed out or anxious- so obviously there's an emotional link there!

While I'm praying for God to change my heart- that I'd go to Him first, and not to the cookie jar, I'm also trying this practical "diet" to help... it's called the "No-S Diet" and it's not like any I've ever heard of before... The basics of it are "No Snacking, Sweets, or Seconds except on days that begin with S (Saturdays, Sundays and Special Occasions like birthdays and holidays). So simple and has really helped me to think twice before going for the sweets during the week... it's not a legalistic plan- I still enjoy sweetened creamer in my coffee in the morning :)


January 11, 2011 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

OH Jenna - I LOVE this idea!!! Thank you for sharing it - the alliteration makes it easy to remember!!

January 11, 2011 at 7:21 AM  
Blogger Lecia said...

Thank you so much for this encouraging post!

January 11, 2011 at 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Becky said...

Thanks for this post! Right now I need it. I lost a tremendous amount of weight after my baby was born and have just recently started telling myself "one cookie won't hurt". The problem is one cookie always becomes 2 or 3 and having them everyday is not good for me or my waist line! I appreciate the reminder that treats are treats, and that I can take control back again.

Bless you!

January 11, 2011 at 8:09 AM  
Blogger Shellbells said...

awesome food for thought...scuse the pun...thanks for sharing...xx

January 11, 2011 at 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am on my second day and it's hard!! I have a lot to lose so I tend to look at the long term goal and I get frustrated.

Thanks for sharing your insights!

January 11, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Saved by Grace said...

Thank you for posting that, it sounded like you were talking about me. That ministered and encouraged my heart. I needed to hear that. Thank you for serving our King!

In His Love,

January 11, 2011 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger It's Grace said...

I love Darlene's blog and can't wait to read this book!

This has been such a struggle for me!! I've decided that once a week there will be a treat. Whether it's a dessert or a favorite meal that doesn't exactly line up with my healthy eating plan. I've just finished week 1 and the results are in- I dropped 3 pounds. It works!

Thanks for sharing this, Courtney!


January 11, 2011 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

Thank you so much for featuring me!!!! I owe you a zillion thankyous plus one.

I love Jenna's thoughts too! That's a great idea.

January 11, 2011 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

I also notice that I don't crave sweets as much when I get enough healthy fats... avocado, olive oil, coconut, etc.

January 11, 2011 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Janelle Nehrenz said...

Such wonderful and encouraging words! Thanks Darlene!! Love, Janelle

January 11, 2011 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Wonderful post. I hear on the chips. Savory items are always hard for me to resist. I found a non-food activity that I enjoy more than snacking and that's knitting. so I do that...and I forget about snacking..literally, because I'm caught up in yarn and knitting needles ;) :) Thanks for sharing this very real struggle that a lot of face :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

January 11, 2011 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Darlene Schacht said...

Heather's idea of doing a non-snack activity is a good one. Dr. Phil says that if you're swimming you can't eat. So true. If our hands or minds are engaged in other things it might keep them off of the snacks.

Thanks y'all!!

January 12, 2011 at 1:30 AM  
Blogger Kasey said...

I've so appreciated all the posts on healthy living I'm sharing this one on my blog today.

January 14, 2011 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Thank you for posting this. It spoke to me in an area of my heart that I keep ignoring. I know God would have us be our best in our health, so we can feel good and can please him even more efficiently! This was the motivator I needed. :)
I struggle with sugar; with God's help, I am going to begin the difficult process of denial, more often! It is important that I am no longer a slave to my flesh in that way.
God is working through you!

January 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Lady-in-the-Making said...

I just want you to know - I have not been this excited to start a bible study as I am this one from James. I can't wait til Monday! :)

January 15, 2011 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

So many encouaging ideas and words in this post thanks for posting it. The idea about the sweets is SO very true. I find that knowing on Saturdays that I will relax and enjoy a treat reduces the temptation to eat and eat at them throughout the week. Now we are working on breaking our oldest of that same habit.

January 19, 2011 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Kathy Fannon, Health Coach said...

Sometimes our craving for sweets is because we don't have enough balance in our lives. Maybe a stressful relationship or not being satisfied with a job can also cause one to crave sugar, or salt.

One thing I've noticed in my health coach training is that incorporating more sweet vegetables, like carrots or sweet potatoes, will help fill the desire for sugar. Monica hit on a good point too with getting enough healthy fats!

And don't forget PRAY ladies! God helped me lose over 40 pounds by prayer and diet change! You can do it! :)

January 22, 2011 at 11:29 AM  

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