I like making bad decisions. Bad decisions are awesome.
They’re just SO much more fun that good decisions. Can’t we all agree on that?
Take for instance my lunch choice today. I could have had some shrimp and broccoli over brown rice. I could have had egg and spinach muffins. I could have done any number of things, but what did I do? I had Popeye’s. I had a three-piece dinner, with a biscuit, mashed potatoes, and red beans and rice.
Now why did I make this bad decision knowing damn well it was a bad decision?
To the layman, I just wanted something that tasted good, and it was delicious. So freakin’ delicious. Epic poems were written about this meal by Homer, but he ditched it not realizing the Popeye’s would come to be.
Or maybe I was rewarding myself for running this morning (longest distance so far).
But it was still a bad decision.
If I ran the entire distance (and most surely did not), I burned 320 calories.
And how much did I ingest for my little reward?
The chicken was about 650 calories. The biscuit was 260. Mashed potatoes were 110. And the red beans and rice were 230. (1,250 for those of you keeping score at home).
My little reward for my run netted 930 calories.
So let’s think back to Kelly McGonigal’s book The Willpower Instinct. There is a lot of evidence that we just make pretty terrible decisions when we aren’t being mindful of what we’re doing. We overestimate calories burned and underestimate calories ingested. We think we’ll make better decisions tomorrow.
But wait! I know all of this, and yet I made a bad decision. I was very mindful that I was making a bad decision.
So why would I do this? For a couple of reasons, actually. Not the most sound reasons but reasons nonetheless. There are alternatives that would be better than 1,250 calories in one sitting, but I’m ok with this bad decision.
The main reason I’m comfortable with this is that I know I’m in it for the long haul. I’m not going to beat myself up over one bad decision (or the many more that I’ll make along the way). This was a bad step, but I’m doing my best to make as many good ones as possible. I’m being much more active, and I’m doing my best to make good food choices easier for me to make on a day-to-day basis. I know it’s for the best, but it does take a lot of the fun away from my meals.
A secondary reason is that I know you can’t abstain every day. It’s not sustainable. At some point, I will make a bad decision. If I hold it off as long as possible, I could do worse damage. 1,250 calories may sound like a lot, but I can clear 2,000 very easily. And when I know I’m going to make a wondrously bad decision, I don’t half-ass it. I go all out, and I eat the absolute worst food you can imagine. Honestly, this was a calculated decision. I knew I was eating Popeye’s before I even went running. It wasn’t some last-minute decision. I knew exactly what I was going to order, including the sides. My food options were very healthy in the apartment, and I would want something more than eating all my food in one sitting. I knew I would eat this and call it quits instead of just eating nonstop all day.
So, yeah, I made a bad decision. I’m good with that, though. I know I’m making the right long-term choices, even if there was a short-term fling with a greasy abomination. And much like Leeroy Jenkins, at least I’ve got chicken.