My mum recently sent me an online recipe for quinoa power bars! They looked a lot like flapjacks but with a good mix of various seeds, oats and fruits bundled in. But it was the article that accompanied it that caught my eye…
The person describes how they are super busy in the morning, getting the kids off to school and stuff, and they don’t always have time to eat a good breakfast. So instead, she:
“Keep these very easy to make bars in the fridge and grab one on the go. The combination of quinoa, oats, seeds and dried fruit keep me energised for a few hours until after the morning’s chores are out of the way.”
So she uses these as a meal replacement, specifically for breakfast. But literally the next sentence is:
“Even though I do try to eat healthily, if I am eating a healthy treat I like it to taste good as well.”
So here she says that they are a “treat”. Maybe we just have different definitions, but to me, a treat is something we have rarely or maybe as a reward for achieving something special.
So what is this power bar to the writer? Is it their breakfast or a treat? I wonder if their child came up to them and said:
“Mum, I’m too busy to eat breakfast at the moment, so I’m just gonna grab one of my treats out of the cupboard and have that instead…”
…would they think that a good idea? Or a good habit for their child to develop? Something they would encourage their child to do?
I’m not having a go at the writer. God knows I have convinced myself of some very spurious things in my time! But I do know that convincing myself of these things have never been good for me in the long run and have certainly not been a good example I want others to follow.
Take home message…
- We are capable of convincing ourselves we are correct if we really want to.
- We probably don’t even notice that we are contradicting ourselves or making up reasons to fit the answer we want.
- We can happily and unknowingly hold totally contradictory ideas and memories in our head if we are not careful.
- If we really want to change our eating and exercise habits for the better, we need to identify these contradictions and false rationals and change them.
One of the easiest and simplest ways to identify what we are actually doing, not only what we think we are doing, is to:
- Write it down.
- Reflect on it.
- Decide what we are going to do differently next time.
My Eat Better website helps people change the way they eat. And one major part to it is the Food Diary. This is where we write down what we actually eat, look back on it and decide how we are going to change for the better next time. Why not give it a go yourself? You can use the exact same process to improve your exercise habits. But the important thing is, we learn to minimise the amount of lies we tell ourselves to justify what we are doing.