Two Important Muscles
There are two important “muscles:” your “resistance muscle” and your “giving-in muscle.” I’m really talking about your tendencies to think and act in a certain way. Every time you resist eating something you shouldn’t, you are strengthening your tendency to resist in the future. Every time you give in and eat something you shouldn’t, you are strengthening your tendency to give in. So whenever you feel the urge to eat something you’re not supposed to, think about which muscle you really want to strengthen.
Have You Blown It?
If you’ve eaten something you weren’t supposed to, you may think: I can’t believe I did that! I’ve really blown it. I might as well eat whatever I want for the rest of the day and start dieting again tomorrow. But there is no reason to wait. Have you really blown it completely? Of course not. Let’s say you ate some food that contained 500 calories. To gain one pound, you have to eat about 3,500 extra calories – seven times what you ate. An extra 500 calories is not going to noticeably affect your weight. Does it make more sense to stop now, or to keep eating?
To weaken the intensity and reduce the frequency of cravings, you have to stop giving in to them. Cravings start to diminish the moment you decide you are absolutely not going to stray from your diet. They increase when you are indecisive about whether or not to eat. Waiting out a craving increases your ability to tolerate cravings and also increases your confidence that you can do so. The more often you wait out your cravings, the less intense and less frequent they will be in the future.