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TWM 47 – When you’re tempted by a big treat or dessert, step back & play the game, “Let’s Make a Deal”.


When you’re tempted by a big treat or dessert, step back & play the game, “Let’s Make a Deal”.

Today's Will Power Moment - 47

with Dr. James Meschino

We’re all tempted by various treats, desserts, and snacks. But, the frequent ingestion of these can derail our wellness plan and hinder our ability to lose excess weight – slowly allowing excess pounds to build up over the years until we’re carrying around an extra 10-25 lbs, which is a very common scenario. These foods also raise our blood sugar into the pre-diabetic or diabetic range and elevate our cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Having a strategy to prevent a big indulgence with these foods is critical to achieving and maintaining the body and health you are shooting for.

So here is one more strategy that I have seen work – it’s called, “Let’s Make a Deal”.  In this case, the deal you’re making is with yourself. When you are feeling hungry or vulnerable to eating a big piece of cake, a donut, a croissant, a chocolate bar, a Crueller, etc. one of the things you can do is this: Instead of eating the big serving of high fat, sugary pastry or dessert, have a smaller, less harmful treat instead. Something like a small biscotti, one plain Timbit or donut hole, a couple of sesame snaps, one piece of licorice, a small package of peanuts, a handful of nuts, or a coffee or tea with a bit of sweetener… anything that will simply change the direction of your blood sugar.

Studies show, and so does my personal experience with myself and patients, that as soon as your blood sugar changes direction and starts to rise, the craving for the big indulgence (the big piece of cheesecake for instance) is largely extinguished. If you can wait 20 minutes after you have the small little substitute treat, you will likely find your craving for the big indulgence will have passed, or your willpower to resist it will be greatly enhanced.

Here’s the deal: Have the small indulgence first, as a substitute, then wait 20 minutes. If you still feel compelled to have the big indulgence, then go ahead and have it. But, I’ll tell you, that over 90% of the time, the craving for the big indulgence will disappear and you’ll simply forget about it.

Remember that when it comes decision-making, it’s not your blood sugar that matters, but rather the direction of change of your blood sugar. If it just moves up slightly, your willpower to resist big treats is greatly enhanced. This also applies to the mistake of too much deprivation. If you deprive yourself too much, it pushes your blood sugar into a declining state, which in turn increases cravings for a bigger indulgence. That’s why starving yourself to success rarely works. People tend to make bad decisions in all areas of their life (financial, personal, food, exercise) when their blood sugar is dropping.

Finding the balance of having a small indulgence, once or twice per day, prevents you from sabotaging yourself from imposing too much deprivation, which is bound to backfire at some point, and gives you a proven strategy to resist the big temptations that will undoubtedly come along. Next time you’re tempted by the big indulgence, play the game, “Let’s make a deal” – and have a small indulgence first to change the direction of your blood sugar and satisfy the craving for some sweetness. Then wait 20 minutes and you’ll find the craving will pass at least 90% of the time. Eventually, it will be even higher.

So, here’s the deal: I you still have the big craving 20 minutes later, then go ahead and eat it. But, I will tell you that at least 90% of the time the craving will pass.  Okay Let’s Make a Deal – it really works! I encourage you to use this approach as part of your wellness willpower strategy.

Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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