A Quick Lesson of Self-Discipline

Have you ever taken a young child to a grocery store and heard them relentlessly ask you to buy them lots of sweet stuff? “Hey, can I have that Snickers bar?” “Hey, I want a doughnut!” It could go on and on. It’s especially bad in the checkout aisle, where the stores strategically place all of the little candies and gums that are just the right size for little ones to grab and eat.

Well, today I was in the checkout aisle and saw an assortment of Mrs. Fields Cookies (yum!) all in a row. They had snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies, but the one that caught my eye is the original chocolate chip cookie that Mrs. Fields is famous for.

The debate in my head was like the cartoon scenario with an angel perched on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Devil said: “Mmmm, that looks good, that would hit the spot right now. Angel: “Yeah, but all that sugar will make you crash.” Devil: “Maybe, maybe not. But it sure looks good. Look at those gooey chocolate chips on the packaging. Could just melt in your mouth.” Angel: “You don’t need it.”

I could have gone either way and it didn’t really matter what I did in that moment. It only cost 59 cents and it wouldn’t have sent me on an overeating sugar binge or anything like that. But something in me felt like it was important for me to practice saying no to myself.

There is so much instant gratification in our society. I think it’s healthy to practice saying no to ourselves so we learn that we don’t need to leave the store with a treat each time and that we are not entitled to something sweet just because we see something that looks good.

The obesity rate is climbing in the U.S. The last Wall Street Journal story I read said that one third of our country’s adults are obese and one half are overweight. Can we do something about it? Yeah! Don’t put in your mouth everything that looks good in the moment. Hold back and practice self-control and discipline. Being able to say no to your impulses to eat is the key to ending overeating and weight loss because it won’t just be a one-time thing, but a pattern you develop that will effect you every day of your life.

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