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Overcoming Donuts with European Chocolate

December 17, 2020

There was one day in the office that someone brought in some donuts. In the morning, I ate half of the Boston Cream donut (my favorite)…Twice. And then I cut the French Cruller (my second favorite) into 4…and eventually ate all 4 pieces. Sure, other people at the office had donuts too. But my office was right next to them so I had a bit faster access to these donuts. But I was done, I ate my 2 donuts! No more for me. Except…

By the end of the day, there was a Jelly donut staring at me (my third favorite). It seems no one else wanted it and everyone was gone for the day. I was pretty sugar high at this point but it was soo tempting. I debated over whether I should eat it. I reasoned that it would go to waste if it sat overnight. So I ate it. And it wasn’t worth it. I thought to myself, “Why am I eating all of these donuts!?”

Donuts come in randomly at the office. When they come, there’s a fear of missing out that they might not come again. I knew I wanted the wonderful taste of the donut. But I also knew that I didn’t want the associated calories. I knew that for as long as I thought about the donut, it would be in my mind, gnawing at me, until I got it. And once I get it, my mind would finally be “satisfied” even if the actual experience was less than ideal.

I did an experiment. Instead of resisting the donut (which failed miserably), I decided to replace the donut with the fanciest chocolate I could find. I went to the local supermarket and found some European chocolates I could store in the office. I told myself that if I ever saw a donut, I would just eat the European chocolate instead. The downside is that these chocolates were more expensive than free. But the upside is that they were 50 calories compared to the 200 calories of the donut (err…x 3).

The chocolates sat in my fridge for a week or two and I didn’t think much of it. And then, the moment of truth came. There was another set of donuts for the people at the office. I resisted and instead of eating the donut, I ate the European chocolate. I’ll admit that the first time around, it wasn’t enough and I still ate half a donut. But it was stale and unenjoyable.

Subsequent donut days were easier and easier to conquer. Suddenly, the quality of the European chocolate was so high that it dwarfed any promise of enjoyment from the donut. I no longer had any desire to eat donuts. I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth & eat less calories. Winner!

There’s this idea that you’re a good person if you resist temptation and, consequently, you’re a bad person if you’re unable to resist temptation. This causes a lot of people to feel bad about their failures. This goes beyond just Donuts and Chocolate. It goes to other parts of life as well.

I’ve found the most success when I get to the root of an undesirable action and replace it with something better. It requires you to have a good sense of yourself and what you truly want out of life. Once you have that, you can have what you want while cutting out the excess…calories.

Dr. Eric

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