On Selecting Food: defer or default?
How many projects have you worked on where no one helmed them? How many times have you been in a meeting where tasks needed to be assigned and no one wanted to take them on? How many times have you pushed away or procrastinated on a writing assignment, only to miss the deadline yet again? How about the slide deck for a presentation?
For tasks and projects we really do not want to do, we procrastinate. We set things aside. We push them away. We defer them, hoping they’ll just go away. Even working out gets deferred to the end of the day, when we’re hoping we’ll have leftover energy and gumption to execute our physical routine. (After 8 back-to-back meetings today, we don’t. We just want to go home and no longer be in meetings.) Some of us don’t want to work out even when we’re good at it.
Projects require project managers driving them. Tasks require execution. Human beings require physical exercise or else face atrophy. Knowing what to do is not the problem. More education will not solve obesity any more than knowing which exercise equipment and what weight level is best for you will catalyze you to get to the gym and get after it. Everybody knows how to run — how many actually run? Similarly, knowing which foods to eat does not cause us to immediately eat clean when there’s beer & pizza & cookies surrounding us.
Coaches and trainers exists for several reasons, the most important of which is client accountability. Many of us feel like we cannot do it on our own; we feel we’re too weak-minded. So, we hire a coach or trainer to help keep us accountable to our new goals. One of the first things the trainer requires the client do is keep a food journal. They do this for several reasons, but the main one is to prove to the client how mindlessly we eat. If we don’t know what to do, we eat. If we’re feeling anxious, we eat. If we’re celebrating, we eat. If we’re feeling blue, we definitely eat. If it is Tuesday, we eat. The food journal forces discipline upon us to write down everything we eat and when we eat it. This puts the onus on us to know what we’re eating and then have it stare right back at us, in our own handwriting. Some may find the food journal to be a tool of cruel and unusual punishment. Only it isn’t. It is a tool of aware and mindful eating. And it is a wonderful start. To prove its effectiveness, how many of you could tell the person next to you exactly what you’ve eaten today, including quantities?
The other problem we run into with food is everyone is an expert. Everyone eats. Since everyone eats, everyone has an opinion on what to eat and is happy to share that opinion with anyone within an earshot. We are enthusiastic advice-givers, even when we have no business doing so. One of the reasons why food is difficult is because it is so abundant and so available and so salient. Fast food and pizza power our economic engine. Fast food and pizza power our meetings. Fast food and pizza power small teams building wonderful things. Fast food and pizza are abundant, readily available, and inexpensive, not to mention fast. It is no wonder they are our default food selections. We are experts at selecting and eating fast food and pizza. What could be easier?