Are you one of those people who knows what to do to lose weight, but too often you just don’t do it. You could spend a lifetime researching why and testing every diet and exercise plan to see which works best. Or, you could follow one simple rule: gut check every decision to eat more and exercise less.
Today’s episode of Radio Lab on NPR described an experiment called “Fruit or Cake” in which people were asked to memorize a series of numbers and walk down a hallway to a different room. Along the way someone stopped and offered them fruit or cake. They found that people trying to memorize more numbers chose cake. People trying to remember just a few numbers opted for fruit. They concluded that too much mental activity interferes with diet discipline.
Is over-thinking your diet decisions a bad idea? Perhaps you could do yourself a favor by being less rational. When it comes to food temptations – DON’T THINK! Just make the healthy choice. You know what to do, just do it.
How the Gut Check Diet works
The alarm rings at 5:45am and you feel like sleeping another hour instead of taking a 3 mile power walk. Your bed is so comfortable. It’ll take every ounce of available effort (and then some) to get up and go. Part of you knows you’ll feel better once you start moving and it always helps to cross exercise off your list early in the day. Gut Check!
- Do you really need rest more than exercise?
- Is there a good reason to skip this workout?
- Once the day starts will you feel better knowing that you slept in or worked out?
No need to write a full report on the pros and cons or the do’s and don’ts. Just mull it over for a moment, then make your decision and move on.
When you want a bagel with cream cheese instead of yogurt with fruit for breakfast stop and ask if this is what you really want. Still confused? Try a few more Gut Check questions:
- Is the desire to satisfy your craving greater than your desire to lose weight?
- Is it possible that you might want cheese on your sandwich or dressing on your salad later?
- Is yogurt with fruit really that bad?
Maybe you’ll opt for the bagel. But maybe you’ll decide to save your discretionary calories for something else. After an honest gut check you’ll feel better about whichever decision you make.
After a long day of work you suddenly find yourself about to mindlessly munch on snacks while watching TV. You feel a slight pang of guilt because calmly sipping water, seltzer or tea might be a better choice. Perfect time for a Gut Check!
- Would you rather take a step closer to your goal, or deeper into the hole?
- Which is better for stress, comfort foods or relaxation exercises?
Everyone knows they need to eat less and exercise more, yet doing so is much harder than it sounds. The Gut Check! rule is a way to stop allowing excuses to run your life. Try it for one day. Double check your inner needs before you have fries with that, have seconds, slow the treadmill, lower the resistance or skip a workout. You could end up missing fewer workouts or cheating less on your diet. The savings could add up to big results while improving daily habits and strengthening discipline.