Composite’s approach to health is largely built around habits. That’s because habits, once built, are easy to maintain. They are, by definition, what you do by default.
For most people, energy, willpower, and commitment to a goal wax and wane over time. You have days when you’re psyched up and ready to go, and others when you’re barely dragging through. That’s why we tend to favor building systems – something you can plan out and implement when you’re at your best, to keep you on the rails when you’re at your worst.
One system that we’ve found extremely effective is the Refrigerator Rule: in short, you’re eventually going to eat anything you keep in your refrigerator or cabinets. So you should probably only keep on hand food that passes muster with your best, most psyched-up, goal-committed self.
When we review food journals with clients, we’ll frequently find that they ate crappy afternoon snacks a few times during the past week. At which point, we always ask the same question: did you eat that cookie / candy bar / entire stack of Pringles because you really wanted it, or because it was there? And, about 95% of the time, people tell us they ate that specific unhealthy snack because it was the easy thing to do.
Life is short, and pleasure is important. If you really want a doughnut, go out and buy one (or three) fresh, and enjoy the hell out of it.
But if you don’t want one badly enough to head to the doughnut shop for it, I’d argue you don’t really want one all that much. You’re just stuffing down the semi-stale Entenmann’s because that’s what’s in your office kitchen.
So, today, on the first day of spring, take a moment and do your health a favor: spring clean the crap – the cookies, candy, chips, crackers, etc. – out of your home and office. Perhaps even go out and pick up some pistachios and walnuts, apples and oranges, beef jerky or string cheese to replace it.
If you want to eat something less healthful at some point, again, you’re an adult; go buy it and enjoy it. But in the meantime, make fitness easy for yourself. Get rid of the tempting garbage that’s just sitting there, and don’t let your future self make bad choices by default.