The past few weekends has found me building sets for the Christmas show at a local church. About ten of us have been gathering on Saturday mornings to cut wood, hammer it together and make it look like a small village. The church’s pastor has been kind enough to arrive each day with three dozen cream-filled, chocolate-covered donuts. Being a keen observer of the human condition, I have been somewhat fascinated by the rate at which these delectable treats disappear. Most of the set-builders are sixty-plus with aging metabolisms to match. I am one of them.

When the pastor brought these goodies the first Saturday, I jokingly mentioned we would all be sleeping under our sawhorses if we ate them. “I see what you mean,” he agreed. But then he brought them in again the second week and the third week as well.

When those donuts show up, I am mightily tempted. Like many Boomers, I’ve developed an affinity for donuts and coffee over the years. But now, just one of those cream-filled “gut bombs,” as a colleague has called them, will give me a sugar high for ten minutes. Then I can feel my metabolism crash. Even on a Saturday morning, I can’t afford to do this. There’s just too much I want to accomplish every day. So, what’s my solution for battling these fat-filled, sugary temptations? Eat something else. This past week, I consumed a good-sized yoghurt parfait before heading to the church and brought a banana with me.

Resisting temptation is double whammy for the brain. Not only do you spend energy thinking about the temptation. You spend energy thinking about how you shouldn’t think about it! This phenomenon contributes to the glucose drain that impact our decision making in other areas. That’s why a mantra like, “I won’t eat donuts, I won’t eat donuts,” doesn’t work. The solution to this challenge is to be proactive. Pursue a better alternative, like yoghurt, or remove yourself from the environment. Since I can’t remove myself from the environment, eating the yoghurt ahead of time does the trick. Consider the temptations around you. How can you overcome one of them using these strategies sometime in the next week?

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