It feels like I am in a competition with my brain. Regarding feeling great in and about my body, sometimes my brain-brat wins and sometimes I do, though the scales are starting to tip in my favor.
For those of you who missed last week’s blog “Cheat Meal Blues,” I wrote about my “binge” (my weekly reward for following my eating rules) that turned out to be unfulfilling and even unsettling. This week I challenged myself to a restricted diet at a celebration dinner to see how my mind would react. Would I feel I was missing out? Or would I feel more buoyant from honoring my ideals (and eating lightly)?
Turns out I felt MUCH BETTER not over-eating at the “special occasion.” I felt no lack. In fact, you’ll remember that for this occasion I allowed one serving of starch (normally I have none), and even that didn’t feel so good. Also, I wasn’t excited by the dessert options, so I happily declined. If it had been something I really wanted, I would have allowed myself a small portion. I tried that technique with a dessert this weekend and felt satisfied. For a moment I thought I’d want a second serving, but then I remembered how I wanted to feel after the meal and it quickly passed. (Score: Me, 1 point; Brain-Brat, 0)
The only problem with this policy of restraint, it turns out, is that my brain-brat tells me I am being a fuddy-duddy. So have I really lost my ability to “have fun” or “let loose” or is this a sign of maturity? I am surprised by how easy it was to curb myself at my celebration dinner and how little suffering I felt about having the restrictions I imposed. It made me wonder: what is up with my brain that it is always telling me I want things that I don’t end up really wanting?
As a result of this experiment, I have told my brain that I actually like staying in bounds, but this is bad news for my brain-brat. It thinks I am a killjoy even though I proved my theory in practice. So I am going to have to keep proving it and building up evidence that “in bounds” not only keeps off the pounds, but chases away those “Cheat Meal Blues.”
If you want to join me to beat your brain-brat:
1) Ask yourself: Did your brain lie to you today? Did it try to convince you to do something you knew in your heart would be a bad choice?
2) Resolve not to do that thing again.
3) Tell three people about your new resolution.
4) Promise to: a) tell them if you break your resolution and b) pay a “consequence” if you do. Perhaps you can owe them dinner, a favor, some free babysitting, etc.
5) Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to brag about beating your brain-brat or tell me about a creative consequence you came up with. I am all ears (and less thighs).
My next inquiry is: what shuts up the brain-brat forever?