Who is the Indulger? He’s that little voice inside of your head telling you that you “deserve” something. He likes to hang out with the Rationalizer who will tell you that it’s ok–that little bite won’t matter.
My Indulger is alive and well. He likes to talk to me when I step into the grocery store. One day last week I ran into the grocery store to pick up one thing after running with friends. We ran right at dinner time, so I was hungry and ready to eat. I also knew that my dinner was at home waiting for me.
As soon as I stepped into the store, my Indulger started talking to me. “You’re hungry. You deserve it!” Then the Rationalizer spoke up too, “You just ran four miles. That candy bar won’t matter. No one will know.” I went to the produce department, grabbed the vegetables I came in for, and then headed for the checkout. Since I only had one item, I went through the express checkout which also has less candy. I turned my back to the candy shelf. I kept thinking about how I would feel afterwards if I did get that candy bar. I checked out quickly and made it through unscathed.
During another trip to the grocery store I had a cart full of things to pick up. I was doing ok until the end of my trip. The last aisle in my grocery store is the dairy section. I picked up a few things and was ready to head to the checkout.
There it was. That little shelf of tasty morsels that have been strategically placed as you’re leaving the dairy aisle. And there’s the sign, saying that they’re 10 for $10, so at $1 each you know it’s a bargain. And within reach, there they were–Sno Balls. Pink Sno Balls. Nostalgia and memories kicked in, and my Indulger started to go wild.
As a kid, Sno Balls were my favorite junk food. They were always prominently displayed at the checkout counter. I would beg my mother for them every time we would go to the grocery store. She didn’t always give in, but I had them often enough. One great thing about them is that there are two! You can have one now and one later–that is if you can manage to put the second one away for safe keeping.
My Indulger was telling me that it would be ok. I had just gone for a run. The calories wouldn’t matter. My Rationalizer was telling me that I could have one today and one tomorrow. I stood there, I stared, I contemplated. I knew that once I opened the package that I could not eat just one.
Finally, I walked away. I felt a strong desire to go back and grab that package, but I didn’t.
It’s taken a while, but I’ve learned how to deal with the Indulger and his buddy the Rationalizer. The first and most important step is to not give in right away–to delay that decision and to put them off for a few minutes. If I can stop to think about how I’ll feel afterwards and how eating this “treat” is going to make me feel the next day (usually lots of inflammation), then I can make a better decision based on ALL the facts. The truth is, it’s not worth how I’m going to feel the next day. It’s not worth watching the scale go up overnight, and then taking the rest of the week to go back to where it was. It’s not worth the cravings it’s going to put into motion. It’s not worth taking two or three days to get completely back on track.
We were made to crave, and the food manufacturers know this. Scientifically, they have figured out how to create food that we will crave and become addicted to. Breaking the addiction and the craving cycle is very difficult. However, we have more knowledge now about this than ever before, and it can be done. This is what Bright Line Eating (BLE) is all about.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. Psalm 42:1b