Garbage to Infinity

May 25, 2011

Warning: This is going to be one of those boring posts without any links to research or awesome graphs. Take comfort in its brevity. *I wrote this passage before this post became a rambly mess. Apologies.*

I don’t have much issue sticking to my diet – most of the time. So far, the only time I’ve had trouble is when I let myself off the hook ahead of time. Just this last weekend, I was visiting my parents and I was planning to loosen up a little bit. That little turned into a lot (a few beers, a few oz of m&m’s, and some frozen yogurt). I should have avoided the problem by making clearer plans. I’m not about to beat myself up about it, because it’s not worth the stress.

Instead, I’ll use it as a learnable moment, which works out great, because it happens to fit the standard spiel I dispense whenever the subject of adherence arises.

A nice little disclaimer here is that not all diets are worth/possible sticking to. If you’re eating super low-fat or super low-calorie, you won’t be able to stick to the diet and you shouldn’t try.

Here’s my thinking on diet adherence. If you slip up on a random Tuesday night and eat a pile of garbage, that’s really no different than eating garbage every day. This is not the same as a planned cheat day.

If you plan that you will eat garbage next Tuesday, the existence of that plan has made that day special. That’s not what I’m talking about.

A sphere is the collection of points that are an equal distance (the sphere’s radius) from one specific point. Each point has a unique location (like each day has a different date), but in the larger picture, each point is exactly the same in that each point makes the same contribution to the sphere.

Now on diet. Your life is simply the collection of days you are alive. Each day makes up the same portion of your life. Therefore, each day is the same (save for the date). If you eat garbage on one day and all days are the same, then you eat garbage on all days – you spend your life eating garbage.

If you eat garbage on a normal day, then eating garbage is the norm.

So this is all a little obscure, but I feel the layman’s version doesn’t quite do the issue justice. I’ll deliver it anyway. Control your diet, don’t let it control you.

The way I apply this in practice is much simpler than the above would have you believe. Before I eat garbage, I ask myself “Did I plan to eat this?” No? Put down the fork.

Now, I’m not perfect, and neither is anyone else (I hope). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.


Entry filed under: Basics, Food Choices. Tags: .

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