I exemplify the power of marketing. Come Easter time, I have a REALLY hard time resisting jelly beans and malted eggs. Do I crave these two candies in the Winter, Summer or Fall! Not even a little bit. I don’t even think about Whoppers (which are the same thing as malted eggs) and I don’t look twice at a bag of jellybeans. I know why- it’s the fact that at Easter time, this candy is sweetly displayed right where I walk in the store, and it’s at the end of just about every aisle…and it’s almost always on sale! I’m a sucker for things on sale, and it’s hard to miss or avoid it when it’s strategically placed around the store. During other times of the year, you can only find it in the candy aisle (where it’s rarely on sale), which I rarely go down b/c it’s not on my list.
That brings me to how I deal with my affinity for this candy in April. First, I realize that marketing is making me crave the candy, not my body telling me I need it. Secondly, I make a grocery list and more importantly, I stick to it. Like you- I have limited time, so making a list keeps me on track, saves me time and money, and helps me avoid buying into marketing schemes and junk sale items, that I really don’t need. One other way I avoid buying my favorite Easter candy every shopping trip- is I never go to the store hungry. Everything looks good when you’re hungry and it’s amazing what bad choices you can make on an empty stomach!
I sometimes get trapped into buying some type of “junk food” when my kids are shopping with me. Their endless begging for a “sweet” cereal or packaged school snack, sometimes makes me cave. To make everyone happy, I now have my list in hand, tell the kids ahead of time, they can pick out one box of cereal or a school snack and this helps avoid the cart becoming full of unwanted, unhealthy foods. On the flip side, they also get to pick out one vegetable to cook and one type of fruit they each would like to have at home. When they have choices, they are much more likely to eat that food.
I share the stories above for two reasons. I want you to think about your vice (whether it’s sweets, alcohol, salty snacks, etc) and think about whether its under control or does the vice control you? Can you stop eating it/drinking it within reasonable limits(one serving), or does this vice have an impact on your health or weight? I’m not one of those people who can eat one or two jellybeans and be satisfied… once I start, it’s hard for me to stick to one serving. For me, it’s easier to avoid the candy all together rather than tempt myself with one or two pieces. Do I ever have candy? Sure! I’m talking about what I do most of the time. Remember the 80/20 rule. Eat really well 80% of the time, and the 20% of higher calorie foods you enjoy will not show up in unwanted places! :) What’s important is that you are aware of your vice and how you deal with it. If you feel guilty when you eat/drink it, or you have weight gain due to it, the vice has control over you. If you can enjoy it once in awhile…happily, without physical side effects, then you have a handle on it.
I encourage you this week, to think about what your vices are, and whether or not you have control over how much or how often you consume them. Think about what causes you to crave them- is it marketing, is it your emotions, is it boredom, is it peer pressure….and try writing down your answer. Once you know whats behind your cravings, you can get a better handle on how to manage them. After writing down what your vices are and where they are stemming from, work on finding an alternative food/drink or alternative activity. If you drink wine every night, try finding another beverage that may satisfy just having a drink in your hand. If you eat dessert every night, try keeping your favorite fruit( cut up) in the fridge for easy access, or have a glass of cold chocolate milk or, get out of the house after dinner and go for a walk to break the “dessert after dinner habit.” If your vice is snacking all day, limit the snacks brought into your house or make a schedule of times you will allow yourself to eat. There is always a solution or alternate behavior. Write down what you can replace your vice with and try it. Do it now and get a handle on it during the Spring into Summer Challenge!
For me, I’m going to the store today, list in hand, but will finally buy the kids Easter basket candy now that we’re three days out from the Easter bunny visit. My strategy is to buy one of those individual servings of Starburst jelly beans (comes in an egg)! What a great invention for someone like me who would eat the whole bag (ok, maybe half). Will I steal a few speckled eggs out of the kids’ baskets, yep, and then I will give thanks Easter only comes around once a year!
Happy, happy Easter to you and your families!