So I have heard it described in a couple of different places that resisting temptation takes a certain amount of mental strength, and that by doing it, you get better at it. This makes sense to me, because when I have decided to take a break, eat whatever I want, sit on the couch, etc, that becomes easier and easier to do. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
And it's true for good habits too. The more on track I am, the more I have planned my meals and exercise, the easier it is to do. The hard part is getting started. So I have start imaginging my resistance muscles as my triceps- pushing away unhealthy food. And my giving in muscles are my biceps- shoveling food in my mouth. And I am working on strengthening my resistance muscles with push ups and triceps pulldowns- not only for the real muscle, but the figurative muscle as well.
And there is also research that the resistance muscle can get fatigued. If your resistance muscle is strong enough for 10 push aways, and you are presented with 10 temptations, then the 11th is just too much. And apparently it goes for any type of resisting temptation such as saying no to buying stuff, or saying no in other situations.
This happened to me yesterday at the mall. I had told myself no dinner at the mall, I had a good meal planned at home. And I walked by the Chinese food, and Sonic, and Auntie Anne's pretzels. But then on the way out I had to walk by the Great American Cookie Co. Okay, fine, I can't take it, I'm eating the chocolate chip cookies!
So the moral of the story- practice strengthening your resistance muscle, but do it in more controlled situations so you don't overload your weak resistance muscle before you have strengthened it. The mall is the gauntlet of food temptation for me- too many easy ways to get junk food. So either don't go to the mall right now, or avoid walking by the most tempting places so you don't even see them- I could have walked through Dillard's to get to the watch repair store instead of walking in the entrance by the cookies. And really, the deals they're all shouting about on TV are not that great, and there's no reason to have to fight your way at the mall.