A Great Quote

This comes from the Reebok/Crossfit page on Facebook.  In response to a photo of Neal Maddox eating a donutTom Inkel writes:
One of the rewards of a good diet, fitness level, and self-awareness is knowing what licenses like this that you can take without impacting your goals. I feel bad for people trying to live blindly by some set of rigid rules for life that they've conjured up off CrossFit/Paleo websites. As humans, we have a limited pool of free will/willpower. (Read Dan John's book sometime: Never Let Go.) If you use that willpower up on unnecessary rigidity, two things happen: (1) other parts of your life fall apart to compensate (and eventually, your rule system itself); (2) you alienate from CrossFit/Paleo everyone watching who can't make those same commitments (due to things like a crazy schedule, kids, sickness, etc.), because you've just told them that they aren't good enough for CrossFit/Paleo because they can't do it "right." That's tragic. Especially since, someday, it might be you with the new kid, and you're trapped by your own logic into not being a "good" CrossFitter. In summary: Rules are just tools. Don't let them blind you to goals. That's not CrossFit or health; that's religious fanaticism. Instead: Start with specific accomplishments in mind; measure your progress regularly; and only then, tailor rules as necessary.
I know there probably aren't too many CrossFitters reading this, but there are lots of dietary/lifestyle absolutists out there for whom we can switch out the CrossFit/Paleo label and this would speak to you.  I think these are words of wisdom -- paraphrase:  Don't use your energies up on complying with self-imposed rigid rules.  

There is too much emphasis, IMO, placed on what we should not do, why we shouldn't do it, and the necessary amount of contrition that must be expressed if we are impure in our ways ... or worse yet occasionally engage in the "don'ts" unapologetically.   Life is too short.


Mike said…
I think both the religious fanaticism and the admonition not to be so rigid are based on the same false premise - that the donut is necessarily desirable.

When you learn to unwind your cravings for all the "bad" stuff and change the way you think about them, they lose their appeal. At that point, you don't need to exert willpower to resist them.

It's like being a smoker vs. a non-smoker. How hard is it for a non-smoker to pass on a cigarette? It's effortless, of course. The trick is to become a non-smoker or a non-donut eater.

Last Christmas someone had left a big tin of sugar cookies in the break room for all to enjoy. I walked past the thing three times before I recognized that it was food. It could have been a basket of candles as far as I was concerned. In the past I would have eaten way too many and obsessed over getting more. Now there isn't even any temptation to resist.

If you are going to exert any effort, put it into analyzing your thoughts and feelings and identifying the environmental cues trigger your cravings. Once you change those, your behavioral changes become effortless.
Sanjeev said…
did someone say donut?

ugh ... or KFC ...

> Evelyn aka CarbSaneMay 28, 2012 6:59 AM

> @Sanjeev -- I await your diet book: The HURL diet -- Harness Utter Revulsion for Life. :D

LOL - the perfect complementary set crossfit and rhabdo and the HURL diet.
Todd Hargrove said…
I can see both sides on this issue. I definitely believe that we have limited willpower and must allocate it intelligently. On the other hand, there are any food items, for me at least, where it take less willpower to eat none than one. Like Mike, I don't even see donuts or cakes as food. No willpower required to resist. Now if I ate one from time to time, I would have to ask myself whether it was the right time to eat one every time I passed by ...
BigWhiskey said…
On the other hand, a second-opinion AND a wheelbarrow may be handy:

I've taken some inspiration from the IIFYM folks. (If it fits you're macros). As long as you pay your bills (which means meeting your protein, vitamins, minerals requirements etc) then you can spend the rest on whatever you like.
CarbSane said…
I agree with your first statement, and personally, a donut is not on my list of desirable foods. Right now we have a bunch of Halloween candy sitting on the dining room table and b/c of the layout of our home I walk by it several times a day. Nothing. But a high quality cheesecake or chocolate?

I think the spirit of this quote is not quite as good out of context of all of the comments on that picture. Lots of "he's setting a bad example" (for the kids) type stuff. Well, how bad an example? They say the same about Phelps, and ohhhh the horror stories out of the Olympic and that gymnast practically apologizing to Michele Obama for "treating" herself to an egg mcmuffin? People seem to be missing the point that, I'm sorry, it can't be that unhealthy if these elite athletes can perform at the level they do -- requiring mental acuity as well!

CarbSane said…
BTW Mike, good to see you! I was thinking about your (excellent!) "gaming the system" post the other day and didn't find the bookmark to your URL. Now I got it! http://evilgnome6.blogspot.com/2012/06/gaming-system.html
CarbSane said…
Hey! I had KFC for dinner last night. A rarity, but I enjoyed it!
CarbSane said…
On the other hand, there are any food items, for me at least, where it take less willpower to eat none than one.

This is true! It's true for many LC/paleo/whatever foods as well in my experience -- e.g.nuts. It's that "moreish" quality as Nigel would say.

But rigid, sometimes arbitrary, restrictions set people up for binging on crap, and that's way more unhealthy.
CarbSane said…
One thing I think is "overrated" in terms of "paying the bills" are fats. Even a lean person has sufficient fat stores of all manner to fuel their body for weeks. I think it was you who came to the defense of LF even if not doing so intentionally. When one focuses on protein and eats MOSTLY whole real foods, it comes out kinda Zone-ish to isocaloric. It's hard to get too high fat unless one adds a lot of "added fats", and try as people might, isolating fat may be traditional, but it's no way paleo or whole food. Not saying that I care, but then we start wandering into "is is paleo" land. I think if you ask yourself "would XX approve" before eating, it's time to rethink. I fell into that myself for a while, mostly because many of these folks speak with such authority and certainty about antinutrients and whatnot. Scratch the surface, look at what traditional human populations -- enduring far greater hardship than waiting for your fish and coconut oil to arrive in the mail -- have thrived on for millenia, and it all seems so silly.
Asclepius said…
Nice quote. The emotional and metabolic cost of willpower has actually been a feature of the paleosphere for several years.

The benefit of a 'paleo' approach is that it is (and should), be SIMPLE. Simplicity boosts adherence. Being lean and active makes eating the occasional sugary foods negligible in terms of body composition.

The word 'guilt' should not fall in the same breath as 'diet'.
Unknown said…
I don't worry about vitamins and minerals too much, keeping track of that stuff gets to be a job. It's a miracle I made it this far in life, I don't think I'm going to be done in by the lack of a mineral, imo it will be something more dramatic like getting run over by a train. If I die from lack of minerals I will be bitterly disappointed.
CarbSane said…
The word 'guilt' should not fall in the same breath as 'diet'.

Good one! I feel a quote of my own coming on. Something like "nothing is more damaging to one's health than damage control measures taken to correct for supposedly damaging deviations from ones diet." -- Not quite catchy yet :D
Sanjeev said…
As someone who took a lot of supplements at one time I now find myself just shaking my head in wonderment at myself of old and at commenters on some sites who cite micro-nano-femto-molecular-pathway-mechanistic[0] studies to justify un-needed supplement intake or un-needed dietary complexity or simply to remain stuck in existing dietary beliefs.

I wonder if the same people would believe the justification for supplements that spewed on bodybuilding sites[2] most based on single rat studies or molecular pathway studies or studies that raised testosterone levels in post menopausal women.

It's the same level/rigour/standard of proof ... one wonders how people can compartmentalize so well.

[0] no (whole body)/ (whole system)/ (clincally significant) controlled trials

[2] "site" meaning advertising spread over a ton of html pages posing as "information" or "impartial advice"
Asclepius said…
'Beware damaging interventions' a.k.a death by cure!

CarbSane said…
I'm not sure where I read this recently, but someone was asking about Mg. They heard that it took 30-to-50-something molecules (sic) to metabolize a molecule of sugar. OK now not sure if it was sucrose or glucose, glucose is easier to use as the example so I will do that. Glucose has a mass of 180 g/mol. Magnesium has an atomic mass of 24 g/mol. A 30-to-1 ratio would mean 720 grams of Mg to metabolize 180 gram of glucose -- or 4g Mg for every gram of glucose. Ahhh the absurdity.
Anonymous said…
' Simplicity boosts adherence.'

Yeah, there's an app for that. Um, I mean 'there's a study for that'!


I've been waiting for an opportunity to mention the above diet. Of course, the 'milk plus one designated food daily' is going to be my choice... and I'd still lose weight. Easy to remember, easy to obtain the foodstuffs, no special items (or brands) to buy and two days, I get to eat all I want of a favorite food. How awesome is that!

Reminds me of a number of other diets that are novel and 'easy to follow' because the rules are easy to understand.
Josh said…
So here are current intakes of magnesium in the US - "The median intake of magnesium was 326 mg/d (mean 352 mg/d) among Caucasian men, 237 mg/d (mean 278 mg/d) among African American men, 297 mg/d (330 mg/d) among Mexican American men, 237 mg/d (mean 256 mg/d) among Caucasian women, 177 mg/d (mean 202 mg/d) among African American women, and 221 mg/d (mean 242 mg/d) among Mexican American women." - http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/9/2879.long

Then simply divide by 4 to get daily glucose allowance = 50 to 85 grams per day. Oh dear.
Josh said…
Whoops forgot to convert the units so it would only be 0.05 - 0.085g of glucose per day. Would then have to supplement 1000 x 200mg magnesium pills per day just to process 50g of glucose.
Sandy Daigler said…
I agree that extreme rigidity is counterproductive and damaging. On the other hand, if I could have just walked by the donut, I wouldn't have ended up 100 pounds overweight. I've found that the transition from chronically obese to permanently normal weight is not a straight line. Some days I have power over the donut; some days the donut has power over me. So for now, a certain amount of rigidity is helpful, in the sense of following a well-defined diet and exercise program.