Roads Out of Temptationville

Beat Cravings 9 Ways

Childhood Obesity News has looked at various pitfalls of temptation and cravings, such as holidays, church activities, and school vending machines. In regard to schools, people sometimes forget, parents need to think about more than just what goes on during school hours. Parents need to check their own impulses and take a second look at the habit of treating kids to a stop at a fast-food joint after an athletic event, and other enabling behavior they are prone to engage in.

Some people talk about the idea of cutting the sale of snacks at movies, and it’s easy to see why, when confronted by evidence like the infographic created by Lillie Lancaster for the Diet To Go blog. It’s called, “The Scary Truth About Movie Theater Snacks.” It would be a difficult area to legislate. The actions of theater owners would have to be voluntary, and they would probably lose customers. Those venues make most of their profit from food and drink.

Besides, how many movie theaters are there anymore? In the overall childhood obesity picture, the good done by snack-free movie theaters would be a drop in the bucket. However… every drop in the bucket helps, and every action that could save even a small group of kids from trouble is probably worth trying. A couple of years ago, Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, attracted attention by a speech he made to theater owners.

As reported by Mike Fleming, Lynton went over the childhood obesity statistics and the health dangers of snack foods, and suggested that the theater owners should not necessarily stop selling anything they already stock, but should add more healthy choices to the menu. Lyton said:

We commissioned a poll on the subject, surveying moviegoers at theaters in 26 locations around the country, and here’s what we found:

* 2/3s of moviegoers overall and three-quarters of parents are likely to buy healthier options if offered — even at prices similar to what’s currently sold;
* 42% percent of parents said they would buy concessions more often if healthier choices are available;
* having healthy snacks available will encourage more frequent purchases by the 1/3 of moviegoers who currently choose not to make purchases at the concession stand;
* 60% of parents said that healthier snacks would enhance their overall moviegoing experience.

People are desperate for answers, and will search for them. Being human, sometimes they’re not willing work too hard. Being human, a person will find a potential answer, and somehow, that seems like enough. We’re like, “Oh, that’s nice. Maybe I’ll try that some day.”

In exploring cravings and temptation, and various ways to resist them, we have seen that different things work for different people. In that way, therapeutic methods are like pharmaceuticals. Sometimes the patient has to try more than one. But there is a big, important difference, too. Pharmaceuticals come with long lists of contra-indications and disclaimers, like, “Don’t try this if you have high blood pressure,” or, “This might make you itch all over.”

Therapeutic modalities have not disclaimers, but contingent claims. The benefits are sometimes more implied than articulated, which is as it should be. The softer the science, the fewer the guarantees. It’s easy to name a dozen kinds of therapy that won’t work universally, for a multiplicity of reasons — but that have been shown to work spectacularly in some cases. Many kinds of therapy are really asking, “Are you tired of kidding yourself, and ready to shed the cloak of denial?” And they’re saying, “This might work for you.”

The good news is, this all means there are many possibilities for the person who wants to self-improve and finally get it right. There are many roads to hope. As Childhood Obesity News mentioned, cravings can originate from any of three sources — physical, emotional, and mental. And they can be dealt with in three ways — avoidance, protection, and defense. All of which multiplies out to at least nine potential therapeutic pathways toward the defeat of cravings, nine possible roads out of Temptationville. That’s not a bad deal.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Scary Truth About Movie Theater Snacks (Infographic),”, 05/03/11
Source: “CEO Lynton Asks Theaters To Cut Out The Fat for sake of obese kids,”, 03/15/10
Image by Pat Hartman.

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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