Why My Plan To Eat Healthy Never Seems To Work
My feeling brain ambushed my thinking brain this afternoon at the supermarket and destroyed my plan to eat healthy.
It started with a simple text message from my wife, “Get a bad of salad.”
Simple right? Even I can’t screw this up. Right . . .
The ambush and total breakdown of my rational, engaged, empirical thinking brain began as soon as I read the text message.
Thinking brain: “Okay, I will stick to my plan to eat healthy and not break my budget. I’ll just stop by the supermarket near home and run in and buy a bag of salad.”
Here’s the sequence of how I crashed and burned …
- Feeling Brain: “Oh boy, I’m going shopping. And I love to shop for food that makes me feel good.”
- Thinking Brain: “There is no way I can screw-up my plan to eat a healthy salad. This is easy. I’ve got this. I know exactly where everything is. I’ll grab a hand basket, pick up what I need and leave.”
- Feeling brain: “The store is so bright and colorful, it smells so good, and I like the music. Look, they have all kinds of stuff on sale. Wow, I like cookies. Cookies make me feel good. Mom use to make cookies like this. YES, they’re on sale – two for one. I hate math. I’ll get them.”
- Thinking Brain: “The salad is in the back of the store. Go directly to produce and get one bag of salad.”
- Feeling Brain: “Look at all the shiny stuff, it all looks so good. Hey, they have samples. Let’s go over and try some. They’re good, and they’re on sale. Cool. This sure tastes better than a salad.”
- Thinking Brain: “Get the salad. You are on a budget and eating healthy.”
- Feeling Brain: “Look over there, I’ve always wanted to try these. Wow, more free stuff. Look a magazine on new cars. Hey, when did the supermarket start carrying office supplies? I need some. I need a cart to carry all this great stuff. Ice cream, buy two and get the third free – sounds like a good deal. I hate math. Look crab legs . . . they have the new Oreos . . . I need some. Wait, look, a whole shelf full of manager close outs – sale, sale, save money, stock up . . . Yes, this definitely fits my plan to eat well because ice cream is dairy and dairy is protein!
- Thinking Brain: “It looks like my goal to eat healthy and stick to a list just fell apart. Budgets are too hard. Anyway, it’s Friday and no one in their right mind starts a diet on a weekend. Besides, I can afford it. I’ll start my diet on Monday.”
With great satisfaction I loaded up my car and drove home. As I carried six or seven shopping bags into the kitchen, I got the, “I should know better than let him in that store by himself look.” I immediately explained that “I got some great deals.” She half smiles and says, “Nice job. Where’s the salad?”
My thinking brain immediately engaged it’s rationalize mode to keep me on my plan to eat healthy and within my budget.
And my feeling brain flashed – “ROAD TRIP!”
So much of our spending is on “autopilot.” Unless we take direct action to keep our lazy thinking brain engaged and focused, we end up with a gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream, two bags of Frito’s new flavor of chips, and enough crab legs to open a Red Lobster.
My feeling brain spending isn’t much of an issue for minor purchases, but it can be catastrophic when I’m making long range financial plans or considering a major purchase.
And you are wired just like me!
I’ve written a couple of book on spending behavior, and how people feel and think about money – I call this your Money Temperament. Knowing your Money Temperament will help you make sense of all this. You can find a link to discover you Money Temperament at www.tedmclyman.com.
Remember, spending is always emotional, and usually unconscious. You need to build this into your life and business. This is also why your plan to eat well and stick to your diet is so difficult – along with other things like working out, funding your retirement plan, and explaining whats accumulated in your closet.
Helping people who get it get more.
I do plan to eat better … next week.