Sitting here on a chilly Saturday morning at the cottage; the snow is softly falling as I look across the frozen lake imaging a July afternoon on the water, hoping warmth isn’t far off. I’m relaxing on a quintessential plaid cottage couch and listening to a podcast on behavioral economics. Not a relaxing topic you might think, but for me, anything to help me get inside the heads of my clients, anything to help me, help them achieve their health goals. The topic is “Temptation Bundling” and with bikini season looming, I know weight loss and getting beach body ready is at the top of many of my current and future clients’ minds.
According to this particular podcast, Temptation Bundling is combining something you know you should be doing, like going to the gym, with something that you really enjoy, like watching your favourite TV show. The theory behind this is if you allow yourself to only watch the TV show when you are working out, that working out will seem less of a chore and you might even look forward to going. Now, I have been using a version of this theory with my clients for years, but it got me thinking, how can I combine the ever problematic issue of sugar cravings with this theory?
I started with myself. I’m not beyond liking a little sugar here and there. As a nutritionist, people often think I don’t ever indulge, but they are wrong, and when I do, I’m like everyone else, I want more. Sugar has an insanely addictive effect on the body. It triggers a certain chemical reaction that almost creates a euphoric sensation; thus making the consumer want more and more…I digress. So anyways, I’m sitting here thinking how I could curb my love of sugar using this theory and how I can apply this to helping clients limit or create healthy boundaries around sugar- a major bone of contention when it comes to losing that unwanted body fat.
I could limit my sugar intake to only when working out- but what happens when I’m at a party and want to indulge in a sweet? Do I whip out my sweats and jog on the spot while trying to maintain a conversation?
Location could play a role in this strategy as well. What if you decided that you would only consume something sweet when seated at the kitchen table, away from television or those you love (who might temp you even more) etc? This might seem a little bizarre to you, but think about it: this removes the issue that many people get caught up – distraction. If you are watching TV, it’s easy to over consume whatever it is that you are eating because you are distracted by what you are watching. It’s also easy to get carried away when others around you are also indulging. So, by removing yourself from these distractions, you are more conscious of your choices. Chances are you won’t want to sit alone and indulge and therefore will chose not to.
What about a commitment to eating your LEAST favourite food while consuming a sweet? Pairing your treat of choice with your most detested food (anchovies?) might detour your decision. This, in essence, is creating a negative association with your craving and therefore hopefully will lead to a different outcome in your decision of whether to eat the sweet or not.
So, what are your ideas for sugar bundling? I want to hear from you. If you were to commit to sugar bundling, what would your strategy be? Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comment section below.
Yours in health,