In college, I went out a few times. Ok, I went out a lot. [But you don’t have any evidence because Instagram wasn’t even a thing…]
One of my rules when going out with my girls: if you go out with me, you come home with me.
That’s right. Judge all you want, I was a party pooper. No rando one night stands on my watch! This had nothing to do with being modest (obvi) but I’m not going to lie awake worrying that I let you leave with a murderer… hell no, I can’t live with that! Also, I don’t want to walk home alone - then I’m going to get murdered! (I’ve always been dramatic - blame it on CSI.)
When my girlfriends and I would leave, they were actively annoyed at me. “He’s so cute… ugh! He’s not going to call me since we barely got to talk…” blah blah blah.
Never once did one of my friends call me the next day (texting wasn’t really a thing either…) saying, “God, I wish I was waking up in a rando’s bed right now…”
How does this relate to food, you ask?
Here’s a common theme with my clients right now: “I know I'm supposed to feel happy that I made a healthy choice, but at the moment I’m still wanting [pizza / to sleep in / eat emotionally / go to the drive-thru]. Why isn’t the right choice feeling good?”
I get it. I really do.
If you’re not getting the I-just-made-the-healthy-choice endorphins in the moment, it’s because your feedback cycle is too short. Hear me out...
- Me before going to a workout: “Ugggggh, I don’t want to. It’s hot. I’m hungry. Just no.”
- Me during a workout: “I knew this was going to be hard. This is hard. This was a horrible idea.”
- Me after a workout: “Ok - that’s done. It wasn’t so bad. I’m feeling a little empowered, which is nice…”
- Me after four weeks of consistent workouts: “Oh dayum, are those mini abs showing through?!”
- Me while ordering food: “They have soup dumplings!? If I order them, I’ll just eat one because I know I’m getting the stir fry… well, I’ll probably have more than one… wait this is a bad idea. Ugh fine! I’ll just get the entree so I don’t feel like shit tonight. This health thing suuuuuucks.”
- Me when the waiter walks off with no app order: “I should have got them! Now what am I going to eat for the next ten minutes? I literally might starve…”
- Me when I leave the restaurant: “Dinner was amazing. I was craving stir fry, I got it. I was hungry for it, and I am walking out of here with my still pants buttoned…”
You have to extend your feedback cycle and start thinking long term. It might not feel good in the moment. You might be uncomfortable after making the healthy decision. You might feel like a grouch when you pass something up in the name of balance. This is ok. You’re not at the end of the line.
If you wake up wishing that you ate that extra slice of pizza, or ordered the second bottle of wine, or asked the waiter to refill the chips… then call me a liar. If that’s the case, go get yourself some snackies (or call up that rando from last night. Don’t remember his name? It was probably Steve).
I’m betting it won’t happen. Extend the feedback cycle and see what happens. Allow long term pleasure to materialize, and celebrate when it does!