You decided to join friends/co-workers for lunch today. It’s a Monday and you’re super proud of yourself. You hit the gym hard all weekend, avoided the bad fats, unhealthy carbs, and ate mostly lean protein and veggies. Consistency is the main thing that’s been hindering your health and weight loss goals and it seems you have found it. After a lunch of chicken breast and steamed broccoli, your friends decided to order dessert. When the waiter ask if you are ordering any dessert for yourself- you display a proud defiant smile followed by a, “No thank you.”
But then you decided to browsed through the dessert section on the menu. And that’s when your eyes and tongue start to plot against your brain, and all of a sudden these start strange rationales and justifications start popping up.
“Well, I did work-out this morning so my body can handle a little sugar.”
“The Apple Pie and ice cream says no added sugar. How bad could it be?”
“If I get on the treadmill when I get off work – I can undo any damage.”
AND THEN MY FAVORITE –
“I’ve been doing so good at the gym and with my diet that I OWE IT TO MYSELF!”
I’m sure if you’re reading this – this scenario applies to you. I know it applies to me. I call it “Self-Manipulation” or “Self-Justification.”
Here’s a big secret about myself- I get super addicted to lots of things.
When I was 16, I had 27 baseball hats. I just had to have more hats. Didn’t know how to stop myself even though I only had one head to wear these hats! When I was 25 I fell in love with Pumas – went on to by about 10 pair within 6 months.
Certain kinds of addictions I’ve learned to nip in the bud before I get too carried away (my love for Cuban style shirts, Fedora hats, Flat Caps, weight equipment, and Under Armor gear). Other addictions I decided to let them manifest (working out, photography, and poetry).
My point is – with any unnecessary addiction- there was always a mind-state I was fighting off. I would be on-line, see a new Goorin Bros hat that I had no money to buy and start the same rationale with myself as the person eating lunch in the scenario.
“I don’t need any more hats.”
“But I do need a hat to go with my brown slacks.”
“I did book 2 extra weddings this year, so I do have the money coming .”
“I’ve been saving money – I OWE IT MYSLEF TO BUY THIS HAT.” LOL
Will power is like a muscle. The more you exercise it – the stronger it gets. The same part of your brain that stops you from spending extra at the mall is the same part that tells you not to order dessert. The same part of the brain that convinces you to click the mouse to order the new pair of shoes of Macy’s website is the same part of the brain that makes you grab the spoon and dive into the ice-cream.
Now I know in the grand scheme of things these are very “light” addictions. These aren’t alcohol, gambling or drug addictions. Those are more extreme. These addictions are much lighter but these are the kind that we’re faced with every day and multiple times a day.
And the only way to truly, truly fight off the self-justification is to tap into the other part of your brain where the will power is. Hec, even talk out loud! You will find that it becomes easier when you apply it to all parts of your life. When you apply great mental restraint towards your spending, it will help you apply it towards your diet, which will help you apply it toward sour spiritual goals, and so on and so on.