You may have heard of the five stages of grief
Denial – Anger – Depression – Bargaining – Acceptance
When we get hit with a traumatic situation or lose something dear to us, we usually go through these stages until we finally reach the point where we accept what happened and are able to move forward with our lives.
However, while these are known stages for big events, what most people don’t realize is that we go through these same stages when we’re trying to break a bad habit – and junk food is no different.
See if this sounds familiar:
(temptation raises its head)
“That’s not me anymore. I don’t need that. Thank you!”
(temptation puts a warm smile on its face)
“#$@#! I thought I was over this! I said no!”
(temptation starts rubbing your shoulders)
“Why does this have to be so difficult? I really don’t need it at all. Why can’t I just be done with it?”
(temptation pokes your stomach and you start feeling it rumble with urgency)
“Maybe I just need to get it out of my system. Ok, ok, ok. I just need to have ‘one last time’ and THAT WILL BE IT! I’ll start clean tomorrow!”
(temptation sits back and watches you drive all the way to the drive thru and order a #5)
“Maybe this is just who I am. It’s just not the time right now. I got too much going on to be dealing with this.”
Does that sound familiar?
If so, you just saw Denial-Anger-Depression-Bargaining-Acceptance work their magic. Instead of leading you to a point where you can move forward in life, they lead you to the same cycle of eating that dragged you down to begin with.
And you know what’s crazy? That entire conversation in your head probably took less than 30 seconds – leading you to believe that you simply don’t have the control to do what you need to do.
So how do you win?
You could try the old-fashioned way of simply trying to grind through it with your willpower. Does that work, though? If willpower was the answer, you would have never gotten out shape to begin with. If you rely purely on something that has failed you time after time, I promise that it didn’t grow extra muscles since last time. It will fail you again – especially if you live a stressful life full of stressful decisions.
Each decision you must make throughout the day can quite literally lower your willpower reserves. Our brain gets exhausted with what behavior change scientists call Decision Fatigue. While this is controversial – some scientists believe willpower if almost infinite if the person believes strongly enough that it is – there is no arguing with the fact that some of the most productive and successful people on earth set their lives up to make as few decisions as possible. They want to focus their decision-making power on the things that matter. This list includes personal development guru Anthony Robbins, productivity expert Timothy Ferris, former President Barack Obama, and world-renowned marketer Seth Godin. Interestingly, each of these experts came from either a dirt poor or lower middle-class background.
How do you do this? Skip the stages. If you’re going through the 5 stages of the junk food battle, it means you’re trying to make a decision. It starts to beat you the moment you get convinced it’s a decision you currently have to make instead of a decision you already made. You have to make the choice that you have no choice. You have the power. Imagine that your bank account balance is negative and you have no credit cards. In that case, when temptation reared its smiling head, you wouldn’t have nearly the battle on your hands. Why? Because you wouldn’t have a choice – literally. The only difference between that situation and the one you are in now is that it isn’t an external force that is telling you what you can and cannot do. It’s you. If you say you’re going to do something, you remove the choice to not do it. If you say you’re not going to do something, you remove your choice to do it. You already made the choice. (Can you see how you are starting to take more control away from external factors and put it right back in your hands?)
“That’s fine” you might say. “But that doesn’t calm down my hunger at 3 PM when I haven’t eaten in 6 hours and can’t think straight.”
The key point is to make the decision final. You have decided to change your lifestyle and are giving yourself no choice to do otherwise. BUT, once you make the decision final, you also have to design your day AROUND that final decision to make it possible.
There are two ways to drive.
You can make a new decision on where to go and how to get there every single time you get to a stoplight. That’s what happens if you just decide to go somewhere but don’t finalize the destination and lay out the path.
You can pick your destination, decide on your route (or turn on your GPS), and then all you do is go. No decision-making. All the decisions were made before you ever stepped foot in the vehicle.
Now, any of us who actually succeed in getting where we want to go use the second method of driving. That includes you. If you set up your lifestyle in the same way, it empowers you to make all the decisions for the week in less than an hour. Once you get good enough, you can even make all the nutritional decisions for the month in only an hour.
How do you do that? The answer is simpler than you may think, but it does require a radical shift in the way you think about food and nutrition (and your health, and your worth, and yourself). That answer is covered in detail in other blog posts on this site, our social media platforms, the meal-prep guide, the book, and the course.
In principle, how do you beat the 5 stages of the junk food battle?
1) By making the decision that there is no decision to be made. Cut the stages before they get started. Their trick is to get you to think the decision needs to be remade.
2) Set up the practical parts of your life to reinforce your decision so temptation doesn’t get half the chance to derail the progress you’ve decided to make.
Can it really be that simple?
But simple doesn’t mean easy. There are many tricks of the trade to set up your life to reinforce your decision. A major goal of this site and our materials is to break down this process to make it more doable than you may have ever thought possible. As a beginning, make sure to download the free meal prep guide. It will show you the simplest, fastest, and most convenient way to prepare food for the week that we have found. Afterall, it’s a lot easier to not go out if you have food ready to go within reach.
Before you go, realize why you are on this page to begin with. If you are here, it means you already have the mental power to make a difference in your health.
Don’t make the decision to try.
Make the decision to do.
And make it final.