I always struggle with transition periods. Like anytime I either A: go on a trip somewhere or B: come home from a trip, for the first two or three days (weeks) I’ll justify my terrible eating using the whole “I just got home, I’m too tired to eat right and run” or “vacation just started, I’m going to relax and order a pizza.”
Buckled down today though and knocked out the run followed by this incredible meal made mostly by Brooke (chicken, asparagus and rice) but a little by me (I made the broccoli and cauliflower).
Packed the vegetables on—extra filling.
As long as it’s “let’s over-analyze Ben Davis week,” I say, why not over-do it like I typically do? This post is a picture-perfect example of mental progress-blockers in action. It does happen to be from the famous Ben (hi dude) but in fact, I’m sure you will agree, it could have been written by any one of us.
So let’s look at that pithy first paragraph now. I always struggle with transition periods. So he observes a pattern in his own behavior. This is excellent. But he ignores this golden opportunity to learn something about himself and doesn’t dig into it at all. Why do you struggle with transition periods? What is it about those moments that makes you want to eat bad shit/stop paying attention to your body? Is there some anxiety associated with it? Did you learn this pattern from someone in your life? There’s seriously multiple blog posts’ worth of material right in that one little sentence. Also, in passing, let’s note that classic little problem many of us struggle with - black and white thinking. “I always… ” Is that ever really true? Absolute-ist thinking is a great way to trap yourself mentally. So that’s actually, now, 3 great problems in one short sentence. One, the problem with transitions, two, the not digging into problem one, and three, black-and-white thinking.
But there’s more! Like anytime I either A: go on a trip somewhere or B: come home from a trip, for the first two or three days (weeks) I’ll justify my terrible eating using the whole “I just got home, I’m too tired to eat right and run” or “vacation just started, I’m going to relax and order a pizza.” So he observes the problem a bit further. He has this problem both when he enters a vacation-y sort of setting AND when he returns home. Most of us have the first problem. The second’s more unusual and hence a bit more interesting to me. He clearly understands that he’s eating badly and he also understands that he’s justifying/rationalizing this behavior with bullshitty excuses. He provides excellent examples of these excuses, too.
“I just got home, I’m too tired to eat right and run” Huh, it sounds almost reasonable. Except for the way it reveals an underlying problem: if you have done your homework properly, when you are home there is no other way to eat but the right way. Because your pantry will have NO crap in it, your fridge will have NO crap in it, and your freezer will have NO crap in it. You will go in your kitchen and all you will see is almond butter, carrot sticks, beef jerky, etc. Or perhaps you have to go to the grocery because there’s nothing left? Then guess what? It is not faster to buy garbage than it is to buy good food. Even if you are starving and need to eat right now, well, again, almond butter and carrot sticks are actually just as fast as ice cream or chips. So that is one mental issue there. “I’m too tired to cook” is really not a good reason to eat poorly. Part of the work you do in planning to succeed at weight loss is to fix up your environment and keep it fixed. “I’m too tired to eat right” is really just a way of saying, “I prefer to eat crap right now.” Which, okay, I suppose we all want to eat crap sometimes and maybe it’s okay to just go ahead and do that once in a while. But again: crap food is not really tastier than good food. It’s false thinking. It’s just not true. Homemade food is better than crap food. Fresh, unprocessed, healthy food is delicious. Letting go of attachments to things that no longer serve us is an important part of making progress. (Also one last thing: too tired to run does not mean it’s time to slump on the couch. It means it’s time to do yoga. Just sayin.’)
So now we’re practically into TL;DR territory, aren’t we? But there is still more! “vacation just started, I’m going to relax and order a pizza.” Again, it almost is reasonable on the surface. On my rare vacations, I don’t cook either. I love to relax! But I don’t order a pizza. Because grains and dairy are not on my eating plan, so there is simply NO situation in which I will eat them. There is always something on the menu that you can order which is on your eating plan. Order the damn salmon and broccoli, dude. Order a steak. Order sashimi and seaweed salad. Relaxing is not code for “abandon all standards.” This idea revealed here, that standards of self care may be set aside at moments when we are relaxing, is deeply destructive! There is NO moment when a sick person can relax and not take her medicine. I am not saying that Ben can never have pizza again. I am saying that Ben clearly defines “relaxing” as “a time when I don’t have to pay attention to the rules that I chose for myself.” That’s not what relaxing means, dude. If a person wants to choose to have a slice of pizza, that’s one thing. If a person has a false and destructive idea lodged in his head, that’s a classic progress-blocker. Unless Ben confronts and gets rid of this idea, he literally can not relax because every time he does he will do this same thing to himself.
And yet I am still not done. There’s also some technical issues on view in the photo. Ben says he packed on the vegetables. But in fact, the whole center of the plate is occupied by white rice. The veggies are sadly squeezed to the sides. Come on, man. You know perfectly well you should have, like, 4 times that many vegetables on your plate. Also the chicken seems to make up the smallest portion of the meal. Why? You are a big, young, muscle-y man. You should be chowing down on protein like a beast and you know it.
So there you have it. This simple post, upon analysis, reveals at least 6 serious progress-blockers on display. If you are having trouble making progress, take a look at your thinking. The answer is there, 100%. (And if you really love public embarrassment I am always happy to take you on for shits and giggles.)
And my sincere thanks to Ben. I apologize for doing this to you. But seriously, I couldn’t have created a better example post from scratch. So thank you for generously and honestly sharing yourself with us.
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