Resist Temptation

Learning to recognize and resist temptation is critical to achieving your health and weight-loss goals.


Please, Lord, grant me the ability to recognize, and the strength to resist, the temptations that would undermine my efforts to improve my health and appearance, and that would undermine my efforts to fulfill your vision for me.


No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

Temptation can quickly undermine even the best plans and intentions that you have established for your health. This is especially true in the realm of dieting and weight loss. One of the main reasons for this is that a successful diet, like a truly healthy lifestyle, requires a high level of consistency that is sustained for a long period of time. Temptation needs only a few unguarded moments to undo that consistency, and it can strike without your even being fully conscious of having given in to it.

A good movie is on television, and we give in to the temptation to stay up late to see the end, sacrificing much-needed sleep. In the glow of a fun dinner with friends, we give in to the temptation of dessert, undoing a whole day of disciplined eating. After a long day at work or caring for our children, we give in to the temptation of relaxing on the couch instead of exercising as we had planned. To offset a difficult or unrewarding job, we give in to the temptation of doughnuts, cookies, or candy that co-workers kindly bring to the office.

You can, and must, learn to resist these temptations. Remember, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. The discipline of resisting temptation is like the muscles of your body: it must be practiced and exercised to become strong. And once strong, you will be capable of things you cannot imagine right now. When you’ve developed this skill sufficiently, resisting temptations like those described above should not even feel like a chore. Ideally, you will happily avoid those temptations because you will see them clearly for what they are – obstacles on the road to achieving your goals of better health, improved appearance, and fulfilling God’s vision for you.

So how can you develop this skill? The key is to learn to consciously identify the temptation facing you before you have succumbed to it. You must stay mindful and vigilant to temptation throughout your day. If you can recognize temptation in time, then you give yourself an opportunity to pause before proceeding in a self-destructive manner. And in that pause, you can do two important things. First, remind yourself of your real goals – related to better health and appearance. Second, in that pause, remind yourself that God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, and that God will provide a way out so that you can stand up under the temptation. With your goals and faith in the front of your mind, you will be able to make the right decision and avoid the temptation before you. As you practice this successfully, it will become easier and easier to conquer temptation, especially as you see the progress you are making toward your goals.

It is important to understand that you do not need to avoid every single temptation for the rest of your life. Once you have become proficient at recognizing and resisting temptation, and once you have made considerable progress toward your long-term health goals, it is of course fine to indulge occasionally – without going overboard. Until you are fully confident of that strength, however, indulgences can jeopardize your progress. Be sure not to begin making exceptions too early on your journey to better health.

Recite the prayer at the top of this page several times throughout your day as you practice identifying and resisting temptation.

Next: Get some rest!