For those aiming to make some nutritional changes, I have an observation/tip/thought you may find helpful.
I haven’t heard many stories about people signing up for college for a single day, testing out military training for a couple days, “seeing how it goes” with their career for a few hours, or genuinely saying “I think it’s time to put this newborn up for adoption.” For the most part, we just get it that these are AT LEAST medium-to-long-term commitments, requiring a physical move, new housing, new schedule, consistent transit, unrelenting responsibility.
Yet, frequently I hear people tell me how they ran out of “good” food after a few days of “trying out” this new dietary practice. If you can acknowledge that a lifetime of behaviors has brought you to a place which is going to require lifestyle revision, why plot out only a couple days of beneficial nutrition?
I believe it’s because the preconscious and unconscious portions of the brain are fully committed to not altering behavior. If someone told you she was going to take the Bar Exam next month, but has outings and vacations planned for the next three weeks, you might question her resolve/honesty. If you planned on completing a university program in another state/country, it could be questionable if you only booked a one-night hotel stay there.
Similarly, if you are looking to change how you eat, you may want to obligate yourself to as long a change as possible. I’m as big of an advocate for fresh food as any of my peers in the fitness industry. But I’m also a pragmatist and a realist. At some point, availability and convenience drive outcomes. Depending on someone’s starting point, food co-ops and farmers market trips every three days isn’t practical.
Stock up. Or sign up for some home delivery food prep service. The human penchant for hating food waste will win over. If you procure a pile of food stuffs or commit to a service over the long haul, you have a much higher probability of success.
A 3-month stockpile of supplements, meal replacement bars/powders, a full freezer, and a full cupboard may not represent IDEAL food. But this is where you must not allow perfection to become the enemy of the good, especially at the beginning of the journey.
True change is extremely dependent on familiarity of patterns, operant and classical conditioning, and defaults. Create an environment wherein you can’t help but follow-through with some regularity for weeks or months at a time. Otherwise, yes, you’ll be stuck in the trap of “my willpower ran out,” “I didn’t have another option,” or “I know what to do; I just don’t do it.”
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