When tempted for food…

When tempted for food, is it easier to eat and be done with the temptation or not eat and be done with the temptation?

If you are a foodie or just find it too tempting to do away with high calorie foods then you have probably experienced the pain of being tempted, not wanting to give in to it, and then finally giving into it.

Emotions such as guilt, disappointment, sadness and even anger are common when people give into their temptations. Similarly, sadness, feeling lonely, and rejected are commonly experienced when one does not give in to temptation. So it is almost a double aged sword, you get hurt whether you give in or not. Right? ..Not so right!!

Human mind has a strong tendency for wanting to be sure and knowing exactly what to do. That “in between” feeling is what drives most people bunkers. It is called Cognitive Dissonance, or in plain English, the pain of being in a limbo.

Here is the break down of Cognitive Dissonance when facing a food temptation: At first you are not thinking of the food, then suddenly you sense its smell, see its sight, or just imagine its texture in your mouth. You think to yourself how lovely it would be to have it. Then right away, you think of all the reasons why you should not have it, “its too heavy, it’ll throw you off your weight loss plan, it’ll take so much time to burn it off, etc.” It is in that moment of indecisiveness or being pulled to two different yet equally strong points of view that you experience anxiety, sadness, guilt, loneliness, feeling rejected, etc. These negative emotions are associated with that cognitive dissonance or that state of being in a limbo. So taking the food or not taking the food are not the real causes of negative emotions, being in a state of cognitive dissonance is the cause of those negative emotions.

So what to do:

Deciding not to take the tempted food and willfully walk away (literally or mentally) from the food will help you out of that limbo state, back into a state of knowing what is ahead. Once you are in that state of knowing what is ahead, then the pain of temptation is gone and you are once again able to be back to where you were in the beginning: all fine and care-free.

For more information regarding this article or related topics visit www.medicalpsychologyservice.com or write to Dr. Dashtban at [email protected]

This service is provided by Dr. Katie Dashtban, Psy.D.

Katie defines her role as a psychologist as one who holds a guiding light, while her patients choose the turns in this maze we call life. In her practice, Katie refrains from offering advice, but instead helps her patients overcome obstacles that cause emotional suffering, and shows them tools to use when deciding on the desired changes in their lives.