The battle of the mind

Journal entry: April, 2000

“I drove through Huntington Center today. As I approached the Green, the thought came to me that, “I could just stop at the bakery and get an assortment of goodies to eat.” But I was doing so well on my diet — I was determined not to.

Traffic slowed and I glanced over at the bakery window dressed in white wedding cakes. They made some of the best cakes I’d ever tasted. I wondered if they were crowded. I decided to peek and see. I needed rolls for dinner anyway.

No long line. Well, I could go in and get just the rolls and leave. I put on my blinker and pulled into the busy parking lot. I knew I had to hurry because I still had to stop at my local grocery store for a few other items before starting supper. I should just get the rolls there and by pass the bakery ... but I was already here. I ran in quickly. Inside the store, the succulent odors assailed me. I glanced over at some of my old favorites. NO. I wouldn’t. What was I doing here? This was too hard. There were the frosted brownies waiting as always. I knew they had granulated sugar on the bottom ... a pleasant surprise the first time I had one. And today they had bear claws ... usually sold out. And, oh. I loved those ... It was my turn.

“Yes, I’d like. I’d like. Ummmm. A dozen dinner rolls. Ohhh. And, uh, two of those frosted brownies and ... ”

I blew it again.

The battle had only lasted seven minutes. I had lost once more. But where did I lose the battle? When I ate everything on my ride home? No. It was when I first thought, “I could just stop at the bakery ... ” That’s the most crucial moment.

When a thought first pops into our minds, it’s so little then. We can handle that and get rid of it without much pain at all. But even that tiny thought feels good for a moment. We don’t want to let it go too quickly. We want to remember, touch and taste it in our minds. We often don’t recognize it for the destructive force that it is. For whatever reason, we allow our minds to continue down the path of destruction when we could have saved ourselves so much pain. And if we don’t immediately say a resounding no, and change the direction of our thoughts before they have a chance to take hold of us, then we have picked up the gauntlet and the battle has begun.

This does not mean that all is lost. Victories have certainly been won at many points in battle, even when all seems lost. So whatever habit you are trying to change, whatever stronghold seems to have its grips in you whether its food or smoking or something else, remember how crucial those first few moments of desire can be. If you avoid the battle, you will win the war.

Kim Bensen, author of Finally Thin, was a lifetime yo-yo dieter who lost 200+ pounds and has kept it off for more than 10 years. She owns the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and Kim’s Light Café and Smoothie Bar at 405 Bridgeport Ave., in Shelton. For weight loss tips and recipes, visit