Are You Guilty of Indulgence Rationalization?

I am.

HandyMenuCalculator

This amusing little graphic is part of an Op-Ed article by Julie S. Downs in the New York Times today.  The article is called Eating by the Numbers and focuses on the debate of whether including calorie counts on restaurant menus is effective in altering peoples’ decisions on what to eat.  This is an important issue, but I’m not going to focus on it today.

Instead, look at the rationalizations in the graphic and ask yourself if you’ve ever been guilty.  Come on, be honest.  I know I’m guilty of rationalizations from time to time.  I never eat fast food, but occasionally treat myself to a pub burger or slice of pizza.  And when I do, I usually tell myself that I’ll work out extra hard or extra long in the morning – and I do.  If the reward is the burger or the pizza, the hard workout is the process of earning that reward.  And there’s nothing wrong with that – once in a while.  If that becomes habit, more likely than not, you’ll never be able to keep up with yourself.  You’ll never be able to consistently workout hard enough to justify eating junk, at least not without detriment to your waste-line (or your health).

To me, the #1 reason diets fail is because they are based on some level of deprivation.  It’s human nature to want what we can’t have.  If you don’t “treat” yourself once in a while, you’re going to crash and burn.  I rarely crave junk foods such as pizza or desserts, but when I do, I treat myself and enjoy the heck out of it.  After indulging in a specific treat, the craving for more is gone.  I know that I enjoy that slice of pizza more than the guy who eats pizza every Friday night.  My body doesn’t feel great after eating it, but the enjoyment I gain from eating it is worth it to me.

How about you?  What do you tell yourself when you have the urge to indulge?

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