Stop Dieting

Part One of the Sofa Saga

Lucius Patenaude
Sep 1, 2014 · 4 min read

I’ve been in Nashville for a month now. I have a bed, a desk without a chair, a working kitchen and toilet paper. The bare necessities. My biggest concern is finding work. I’ve secured an internship but am still on the hunt for a part-time position.

It’s tough not having your parents or class schedule telling you what to do next. Lately, I’ve been waking up anytime between 7 and 10 AM. If I have errands, I can’t seem to get out the door before 3 PM. I suck at life.

Reader

Sounds like you have a lot of free time on your hands.

Me

Yep.

Reader

Then why are your clothes still in boxes?

Me

I’ve been busy.

Reader

That’s some busy free time.

Me

Well, I’ve been learning new habits.

Reader

Aren’t you responsible.

Me

I know.

Reader

And handsome, smart, exceptional, innovative and real.

Me

Oh, stop it.

I put away my sock puppets.


I haven’t been wasting all my time (just most of it). I eat breakfast every morning. I exercise. I read my Bible and pray. Before you judge, let me clarify. I intentionally eat breakfast every morning, exercise, read my Bible and pray.

I’m forming new habits.

In college, I tried to do all these things. “Tomorrow morning I’ll eat breakfast.” “I’ll exercise every day next week.” “This month I’ll read the whole Bible!” I didn’t have much success. It’s because they were all diets.

Diets don’t work.

Diets don’t work for one specific reason: they’re temporary. Finite. It’s implied that we will eventually go back to how we always do things.

“I’m fat because I eat too much sugar. I’ll diet and cut out all the sugar. When I lose 80 pounds, I’ll go back to eating peanut butter cup sandwiches.”

Diets are like the flying termites in southeast Asia. Most of the year these termites spend all their time crawling on the ground. Then miraculously during rainy season they grow wings and take to the sky. But after a time they shed their wings and go back to crawling.

Who in their right mind would give up flying?

If we want change, we have to form new habits.

I am overweight, for now. It got to a point this summer where I was physically uncomfortable because of the amount of fat I was packing around the middle. It was time for a change. I climbed the nearest mountain and shouted from the peak, “I will eat healthy for the next week! #purposedrivenlife #diet”

No. I decided to change how I ate permanently. My meals now consist of protein (meat or beans), lots of fruits and veg, a lot less carbs than I normally eat (I don’t even have bread in the house) and no processed sugars.

It’s been great so far. I still eat what I like but the proportions are different. But the best part is that I’m not waiting to revert back to the old eating system. It’s permanent. This is how I eat now. I’m not waiting until the end of the month when the diet ends and I can eat a mountain of pasta with a whole loaf of garlic bread and a whole cheese cake for desert. I can still eat those things. But not typically because that’s not what I normally eat out of habit.

Live the way you wish.

Habit creation is essential for any endeavor in life. Want to write? Develop a habit of writing everyday. Want to be fit? Make an exercise routine and stick to it. Want to remember peoples’ names? Come up with a mnemonic for each person you meet.

Diets are cop outs. They are lies that we tell ourselves to make us think we are fixing our bad behavior. But this is self defeating because we both know that this is temporary. After I’ve done my penance I’m going right back to kicking puppies and I’ll just confess again on Sunday.

So. I’m eating breakfast every morning because it’s healthy for me. I’m exercising to keep my heart strong. I’m reading my Bible and praying every day because I need spiritual well-being. And I want all of these to be habits.


Pop Soup

A recipe that I developed for my new eating habit.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb meat (take your pick)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can diced tomatoes

Chop the meat, brown it and season to taste. Dump all the cans in.

Serve over rice.

Pop Soup has a lot of room for modification. Make it your own. Personally, I add jalapeño peppers and Rotel for some zing. Just mix it all up, bring it to a boil and let it cook down a while. It’s a delicious and hearty meal. Enjoy!


The Process

A group of peers strike out into the world to learn…

Thanks to Adrian Patenaude and Lauren Quigley

Lucius Patenaude

Written by

Filmmaker & writer. Born in Texas, grown in Thailand, currently in Nashville.

The Process

A group of peers strike out into the world to learn, succeed, fail, rinse and repeat.

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