Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Diet and Psychological Reform, Part 2

Now that we've covered the WHY of my diet, it's time to address what I think will benefit you the most: the HOW.

One thing I've noticed that's wrong with a lot of dieting methodologies (even those such as the Primal Blueprint) is that they don't address the hardest aspect of dieting. Sure, they'll tell you what to eat, what not to, and (most importantly, of course) why, but they don't tell you how. Most diet/lifestyle book authors assume it's as simple "don't put x in your mouth." Unfortunately, anyone who has attempted to diet (even many on the Primal/Paleo lifestyle) know it's just not that simple. There is a great deal of psychology involved, what I sometimes refer to as the "Menemy."

So I'm going to introduce you to something I call "assertive psychology." I believe the human psychology is a very powerful force. Most of it is formed my environment and habit. A great deal of people believe that their mindsets and personalities are the result of heredity and nature, and believe these things can't be changed.

I believe that's bullcrap.

Imagine a ball of clay with a hand sculpted out of it, sticking out the side. Now, imagine that hand is moving. The hand is actually shaping the ball of clay. This is assertive psychology. Assertive psychology simply states that you have the ability to shape how you behave and react. I wish I could say it's my own idea. It's not entirely, I'm certainly not the first one to have used it. However, what will differentiate me from others is I'll be introducing you to a series of exercises that will strengthen that hand.

Here's the first one. It's pretty specific to eating, but can actually be applied to any bad habit you want to break:

AP Exercise: Mantra - "You Are In Control"

I've been eating Primal/Paleo for 8-9 months now. Initially, I went 4 entire months without once eating anything non-P/P. More recently, I've had shorter and shorter bursts of pure P/P eating, till the past 3 months, where I've been at around 1 week of solid eating before I destroy my progress with a horrible, horrible carb binge. While binging, I felt horrible, inside and out. My gut would be in shambles for at least the next 24 hours, and my internal dialogue was full of violent swear words directed at myself. In short, I felt like an utter failure at life. In the past few weeks, though, I developed the habit of focusing on a mantra everytime I began slipping into a binge. It was quite simple: "I am in control." I'd repeat this in my head constantly. Sometimes it had little immediate effect. Sometimes it had a lot. But in the long run, I noticed something peculiar: On subsequent binges, I felt less despair, less failure, and often, I could stop myself before I did too much damage. This is huge, and it's easy. So let's recap quickly:


  • Anytime you catch yourself performing your bad habit, mentally recite "I am in control" repeatedly. If no one else is around, verbalize it aloud.
This is positive self-reinforcement and raises conscious awareness as to what you're doing. This will be critical for the next few steps.

1 comment:

  1. It's a strange thing. I look back on that one week I had in August that was my ideal week... and how great I felt all summer following my ideals. And yet... somehow we fall back into these old horrible habits. So frustrating! Sometimes I feel like I'm just a slave to my biology. Not enough uprisings lately...