There is always this weird, counterintuitive conversation that occurs when you or someone you know achieves some level of health or dieting success, that involves “celebrating” that success with the same foods or drinks that you gave up in the first place to achieve the success…
Yet, it isn’t some level of deficiency or survival mechanism kicking in that is driving those desires and cravings. It is simply your brain doing what you have trained it to do (for most people) since you were younger: boost dopamine with feel good foods.
The depletion of willpower and the weight of decision fatigue eventually build up enough pressure for your brain to throw in the white towel and take a much needed KitKat break.
While some may call it “evolution”, others lean on the fact that our brains are only responding in the same manner that we have trained them to do over our lifespan.
Keep reading to discover how to break these loopholes and not keep spiraling into a sugar coma after hard, stressful days throughout the week or weekend.
What we “Deserve?”
The ironic celebration we discussed earlier goes beyond cravings or addictions.
It is mainly a societal and cultural issue. Especially here in the South.
Everything… revolves around food and alcohol.
But, yet, it is always our CHOICE to partake or not.
The problem seems to exist somewhere in our unique ability to fool ourselves into thinking that we deserve far more than we actually do or have actually “earned” something aside from the victory over our bad habits.
We also tend to fool ourselves by telling a story about how something that we know isn’t good for us, actually is “healthy” in our unique situation.
Things such as reposting and tagging the study that claims a glass of wine is equivalent to an hour in the gym…
Or “treating” ourselves to dessert because we earned it in the gym that day.
Or buying that expensive purse or boat because we “work so hard”.
But, here is the take home message that you must agree with if you are ever to change how you respond in these situations, that unfortunately, will continue to present themselves throughout most of your adult life:
Just because something feels good, doesn’t mean it is healthy or good for you long-term.
We seem to have acquired this mentality as though we can somehow grow while soaking in comfort. Yet, I haven’t seen one person grow leaps and bounds while remaining at ease and balanced.
Breaking Our Bad Habits and Loophole Mentality
I am sure the examples of perverse thinking above don’t seem foreign to most readers.
Given that we have created a very “hack” and “quick fix” society, it is no surprise that we have come to develop these self-sabotaging mental ruts.
In “Better Than Before”, Gretchen Rubin describes these mentalities further and labels them as “loopholes”;
1- The Moral Licensing Loophole
We often give ourselves permission to do something “bad” after we’ve been “good.”
"Chips and Margaritas? - Yes! I can eat it, I've earned this dessert."
You know who you are.
2- The Tomorrow Loophole
We tend to discount bad behavior now because the future offers a fresh start.
“I’ll buckle down first thing Monday”
The infamous “Diet starts tomorrow.”
“New Year, New Me!”
3- The Lack of Control Loophole
When we feel powerless, we are more likely to engage in self-defeating behavior.
This is known as “learned helplessness”.
“After the week I have had, you can understand how I would need a drink.”
“I just need to scroll Facebook for a minute for a dose of mind-numbing behavior.”
“No use telling my spouse how I actually feel. It will just lead to a bigger argument.”
4- The “this doesn’t count” Loophole
We come up with creative reasons why this time “doesn’t count.”
“You know, it was my birthday”
“I haven’t gone out in over a month.”
“It is the holidays! And you don’t see family that often!”
5- The Fake Self-Actualization Loophole
These are the ones who can’t understand why their monthly sales opportunities tank and their customers don’t appreciate their “creative genius” social isolation.
You’re not sacrificing.
No one else is fooled.
You are just being lazy and comfortable.
“I’m an introvert so I don’t recharge at social events.”
“It’ll be too hard to abstain from the food and alcohol that is there, so I just won’t go at all!”
What if instead of thinking only about “Miller Time”, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and the weekend, we actually created and embraced weekdays worth living for?
What if instead of exercising so we can indulge in alcohol and sugar, we trained our bodies and minds for increased resilience and performance?
What if we quit feeling sorry for ourselves, and instead realized how good we actually have it?
And the fact that we have supreme control over our responses to stimuli,
our feelings, and our destiny in life.
What if instead of creating and embracing self-sabotaging loopholes, we start leaning into our discomfort and peeling back the root cause of our thinking and problems?
Could you imagine that sort of society?
Remember, your health is your choice.
Some have been dealt healthier hands than others, but how your life is today has way more to do with how well you played your hand as opposed to the cards you were dealt.
But, you’re in luck.
Despite the common notion that no answers exist on the internet to solve your problems, here's the secret: you actually have two choices of action that you can choose from as soon as you finish reading this blog.
One will change your life in ways you can’t imagine. On the other, you will feel as though nothing has changed… because it won’t.
Life Choice #1:
Do everything the same way you have been doing it without changing a thing.
The result: Nothing will change.
Life Choice #2:
Think, be, or do something differently, daily… for the rest of your life.
The result: Something (if done long enough, “Most Things”) will change in your life.
Which choice are you making? If you are currently battling depression or anxiety that hasn't been corrected or managed well with conventional medication, you do have another option left to try.
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