I have been struggling with temptation greatly the last few days. It started last week, on Friday, when my wife, after a very long week and with some of our kids’ friends over, asked if she could not make dinner and instead order out. I agreed – she has been working very hard managing the home, a dinner off was the least I could do – so she decided she would order pizza for her and the kids.
One of the things that I am being most watchful over is my sodium intake. It is incredibly difficult these days to eat a low sodium diet unless you are diligent about every single thing you put in your body. It seems that everything has sodium in it. Bread, peanut butter, eggs… even chocolate has sodium in it. And it is very easy to hit the 2,400 mg per day RDA of sodium early in the day if you are not careful.
I am careful. I know the effects of sodium on me. Besides making me incredibly thirsty it also causes me to retain water for a long time. I feel fatter, more weighed down and generally very uncomfortable when I have too much sodium. And since pizza is like a salty bread plate covered in salty cheese, salty sauce and salty toppings, I have chosen to stay away from pizza, namely prepared or pizzeria pizza, for the last couple of months because I know the effects of excessive sodium on my system.
However, pizza happens to be my favorite food in the whole wide world. And staying away from it, though challenging, has been somewhat easy to handle simply because we have not had it in our home in the last couple of months. Until Friday. And leftovers on Saturday. And then today, when a department luncheon at work turned out to have free left over pizza from one of my favorite pizzerias. I felt like I was getting punched in the face by hunger. And not because I was hungry, but because the aroma of the pizza was so tantalizing that it totally enveloped me and drew me to it.
It is during times like these that I find myself testing my own strength outside the realm of exercise. For me, not giving in to temptation is extremely hard, especially when it comes to food. So digging deep and finding the strength to withstand that temptation is something that I enjoy the challenge of. It has been hard, but it has also been satisfying to know that I am not really a victim to my diet anymore. Where just a few months ago I would have loaded up on free pizza, today I simply said “thanks, but no thanks”. I felt strong. I felt accomplished. I felt healthy.
Those are very motivating for me, the feeling of accomplishment, strength and health. They make it a lot easier for me to handle temptation and distraction. And though I am not perfect, I am much more disciplined in my diet now than I was a few months ago. Because for me, my health is way more important than the temporary satisfaction I get from stuffing my face with food. In a few hours, when I’d get hungry again all that I would be left with is an overload of bad calories, way more salt than I should have had in my system to begin with and a feeling of disappointment in myself. To me, it simply isn’t worth it.
How about you? What do you struggle with when it comes to your diet? What are the bigger challenges that you face in your journey to get or remain healthy? How do you contend with that? I tend to think that we are all stronger than we give ourselves credit for. At least I know there isn’t a single dish out there that has ever pinned me down and forced me to eat it.