We live in a world where immediate gratification is the default setting. We want everything now and are not prepared to wait. In fact this drive for instant gratification is evolutionary and a survival mechanism. When there was an opportunity for food our ancestors had to grab it. We now live in a world where there are no food shortages for most of us; this is often described as an obesogenic environment.
From a weight management perspective this is problematic. If you are trying to eat healthily and a tempting sweet or fatty food is available you will tend to give in to this natural drive.
One strategy that seems to be effective is to set yourself a timer. When you see the tempting treat tell yourself you are allowed this but you have to wait ten minutes. Turn on the timer on your phone and wait. Find something else to do whilst you wait.
This strategy has been found to be effective because it satisfies that initial drive by telling the brain it is “OK” because you are going to get it in a minute. You can also use this strategy for things you are procrastinating over.
Lets say you have an assignment to complete. Tell yourself you will work on it for ten minutes and then stop (again set the timer). A lot of people find that by doing this they start the project and find it is not as bad as they had anticipated and so they continue and get the job finished.
You can do similar with the delay strategy, wait ten minutes and then think to yourself I’ll go another ten. With time this becomes your default strategy when temptation is put in your way. This is a great strategy for clients who struggle with that urge for immediate gratification.