Since the beginning of time, the downfall of humans has been caused by temptation. We all know the biblical story in the book of Genesis and what temptation led Adam and Eve to. The ol’ crafty serpent slithered up to Eve and told her “surely you will not die if you eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, good, and evil”.
The fruit of that tree was quite tempting to Eve and she could not resist the temptation of taking a bite, lo and behold it was good. That fruit tasted so good that Adam just had to take a bite too. And ever since then, the human race has been faced with temptation after temptation.
One of the biggest problems we face when we decide to lose weight is temptation. The brownies in the picture above, with a good size dollop of ganache looks irresistible to me, and I bet they do for you too. Throw the scent of those brownies baking into the air, and tremendous cravings will hit you like a sack of bricks. You will be salivating before you can even take that first little bite. You have been strict about your diet, but after that first little taste, another little taste follows, which is followed by another and the next thing you know, you have completely derailed all of your progress in one fell swoop.
Temptations are difficult to get over, and you need to know that they are not a matter of you being a weak individual.
When we have the munchies, our bodies boost the performance of our sense of smell in order to improve our chances of finding food. This is something innate in us and can not be helped, as well as we cannot help what just the sight of some foods does to us.
Our brains have evolved to learn to enjoy the sight of food, since it would likely precede consumption. In past times, the automatic reward associated with the sight of food likely meant another day of sufficient nutrients for survival, and at the same time, the physiological responses would prepare our bodies to receive that food.
Temptation is hardwired into us. We can easily presume that visual hunger is also part of the reason why various food media (food porn) have become increasingly successful in the digital age. Combine sight and smell together and we find ourselves in trouble. The following excerpt from the National Library of Medicine (1) states:
Odor stimuli play a major role in perception of food flavor. Food-related odors have also been shown to increase rated appetite, and induce salivation and release of gastric acid and insulin. However, our ability to identify an odor as food-related, and our liking for food-related odors, are both learned responses.
I am not in the least going to imply that how we react to the sight and smells of foods is easy to change. However, just as easy as we fall to the images and smells of highly palatable foods with little to no nutritional value. We can increase our exposure to images of desirable foods to trigger inhibitory cognitive processes such as self-restraint. That is, effortful processes associated with resisting the temptation that desirable foods constitute in order to maintain a reasonably healthy body weight. You just have to make the effort to change what you are exposed to which is one of the prime reasons we teach to permanently change your lifestyle in regards to your nutritional practices.
For times when you might stumble in your choices to satiate your appetite, think about the lessons in 1 Corinthians, chapter 8 regarding eating the food of idols. 7 But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscious being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple will not be encouraged, if his conscious is weak, to eat food offered to idols. 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.
When Paul wrote those words to the Corinthians, he was instructing to not eat in Pagan temples because doing so was idolatry. My friends, with our fascination and devotion to consuming highly palatable foods – even though we know many of them harm our bodies – it is akin to idolatry. If you don’t think so, next time you are in church, look around and see who is sneaking bites of sweet treats the service. We must put Christ above everything else, yet it is not uncommon to see people putting him below the foods they desire to eat. As I wrote in my last article, when we consume foods that are harmful to our health, we are truly destroying God’s temple.
(1) US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health