Have you ever said to someone, “I need to bathe the dog, but I don’t feel like it,” to have them reply, “Well, save it ‘til tomorrow. You’ve waited this long—what’s another day”? Or maybe, “I had planned to work on the garage today but I’m really not in the mood,” followed by, “Don’t worry about it! The garage will still be there next weekend.”
Life in our why-do-today-what-you-can-put-off-until-tomorrow culture can be fun in the moment but does little to further our values and long-term goals. Living with the notion that life is short and you should only do things you enjoy means, well, that you only do things you enjoy or have to do (like death and taxes). So where does this leave us in relation to a healthy diet? Well, eat, drink, and be merry! After all, you can always start eating well tomorrow, or Monday, or after the holidays. . . .
Or you can start with the next bout of spontaneous motivation that’s certain to present itself if you wait long enough. Do you know what I mean by “spontaneous motivation”, that capricious drive that comes along now and then and prompts you to organize your closets, start a new beading project, or begin a new diet? In fact, spontaneous motivation might be responsible for bringing you to this blog. Unfortunately, while it can get you started, the fugacity of involuntary motivation insures that it won’t take you very far. To succeed at nutritarianism, you’ll need to employ a plethora of other tactics—in other words, don’t expect that because you’re in the zone today you’ll be in the zone next week, or even tomorrow!
The Zen of Healthy Eating
The answer, My Friends—and, I might add, the antidote to many Western ills—is this: you don’t have to like it. That’s right. You don’t have to like it. It’s ok to wash the dog even if you don’t feel like it. And after you do, pat yourself on the back and relish the feel of clean dog fur and the scent of clean dog smell (well, after the wet dog eau de toilette subsides).
It’s ok to clean out the garage even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re done for the day, congratulate yourself and savor the new order and spaciousness you’ve created.
And it’s ok to prepare and eat a Huge Mega Salad with beans and avocado even if you don’t feel like it. For tomorrow you probably won’t die and will instead experience the pleasure of a lower number on the scale, a smaller dress size, or a decrease in bad cholesterol (probably all three).
Don’t let the capricious comings and goings of spontaneous motivation derail your healthy eating goals. The best antidote for following through on a nutrient-rich food plan even when you don’t feel like it is to remind yourself how good you’ll feel later if you stick to your guns. And then allow yourself to enjoy the rewards of your efforts with something like, “Yay, I’m so glad I ate the salad and not the grilled cheese with sweet potato fries!” Some people feel silly congratulating themselves in this way, but don’t worry, nobody’s in your head listening, and the more you do it, the more you’ll enjoy it!
Right now, you’ve just finished an article that can help you on your path to a nutrient-rich diet instead of watching talking dog videos on YouTube. Yay you!
Caroline’s 4-part compulsive eating program helps people adopt a nutrient-rich diet by teaching them the psychology of permanent weight loss.
This post was originally published on healthyfoodnow.com.