Your Pig Day — Surprising Key to Long-term Nutrition Discipline

Eating well for life is partly about having a sound and practical plan, and (even more) about following that plan. We shouldn’t discount the importance of the “plan” part. So many “diets” or “programs” are harder to stick to than they need to be (or have a cost level few can sustain for the 10-20,000 days of living and eating we OlderBeasts have in front of us).

But this post is about the second challenge – following the plan. Let’s start with two premises:

1. We are all going to “cheat” vs. any plan sometimes (for me, that’s pizza and ice cream)

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Eating well for life is partly about having a sound and practical plan, and (even more) about following that plan. A Pig Day every so often can help you stick to a plan.

We shouldn’t discount the importance of the “plan” part.  So many “diets” or “programs” are harder to stick to than they need to be (or have a cost level few can sustain for the 10-20,000 days of living and eating we OlderBeasts have in front of us).  I start to touch on a simple suggested approach to nutrition in this post, and will go deeper on that in the future.

But this post is about the second challenge – following the plan.  Let’s start with two premises:

1. We are all going to “cheat” vs. any plan sometimes (for me, that’s pizza and ice cream)

2. For many personality types, once you cheat a little, you end up cheating a lot. Said differently, a lot of us tend to be binary in self-discipline: either you’re following this eating plan 100%, or you’re not (and if not, it’s open season).

That’s why I consciously plan a “pig day,” and urge you to try it.

How it works:  Six days a week, stick to your plan…not just “mainly,” but 100% (this is easier, knowing you haven’t completely sworn off pizza, ice cream, Doritos, whatever your things would be).  On pig day (for me, usually Saturday), eat whatever you want – and don’t spin up negative mental energy or self-criticism over it.

The pig day has several important virtues.

⇒ Knowledge of the planned pig day helps you stay “pure” for the other days…

⇒ …and if you do stay pure six days a week, you’ll be eating well 85% of the time

⇒ You might start to find good habits (and results!) you’re reinforcing six days a week start to create a little bit of binge-limiting discipline on your pig day.  I.e., it might turn out to be more of a pig half-day, or a pig meal.  If so, now you’re up to 90%+ of your time eating well.  Brothers, I say we should “declare victory” if we can live that way, sustainably.

⇒ Also—this is controversial, not proven—some believe there’s a limit to how many calories your body can absorb in a day, or in a meal. If this is true…then you’re better off eating 1,400 extra calories on a single pig day during your week, versus 200 extra calories each day of the week.

⇒ Finally, a good pig day re-motivates you to get healthy in your eating for the six days that follow. You’ve satisfied the “bad” foods urge…and maybe even created a little “useful self-disgust” which makes you extra motivated to work out and eat well as atonement!

Guys, I think people tend to overthink some aspects of nutrition planning (or they’re financially motivated to make you overthink it).  We can develop a pretty simple plan to eat right and take care of ourselves – to look good, feel great, improve athletic performance, and add more days to our life’s hour glass.

I urge you to try the pig day approach as part of the way you uniquely tackle this for your own benefit and lifestyle. Let us know what you think!

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” (-Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Six Fitness Actions You’ll Thank Yourself For *NEXT* Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have much to be thankful for this year, man. Even while you gratefully make note of all that, this is also a good time to think ahead.

What would you additionally like to be thankful for next Thanksgiving?

What if on Thanksgiving 2018 you could take a personal inventory and conclude:

1. I’m staying more motivated for fitness – and avoiding major backslides

2. I’m eating better (not perfectly, but better)…and I feel better for it

3. I forgive myself for not always following my fitness plans…but I hold myself more accountable to usually do so

4. I’ve varied my fitness routine, so I’m in better all-around shape than I was a year ago

5. I’m using exercise to better combat stress and make my life feel more spacious

6. If needed, I overcame aches-and-pains to do these things – instead of letting 2018 be a year of narrowing possibilities

Dude! That would be an incredible “thanks” list. So enjoy the coming weeks of 2017 wrap-up and holidays, yes. But I invite you to also make this time a springboard into a meaningful 2018. (Don’t wait for the cliched New Year’s Resolution.)

Here’s the why-and-how of six actions you can take, starting now, to add to your “thankful for” list for next year.

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Endurance , Fitness Planning & Gear

Beware of the Myth of the “Fat Burn” Heart-Rate Zone

Does your tracker or sports watch have a heart-rate function? Or have you used cardio equipment with built-in HR measurement? If so, you may be aware of the so-called “Fat Burn” heart-rate zone.

I advise you to “mostly beware” of falling for the allure of this name, man. It sounds too good to be true. “Burn more fat with lower exertion than you would with higher exertion!” And it is too good to be true. However, low-intensity workouts in HR ranges labeled “Fat Burn” do have occasional purposes. Hence my “mostly beware” admonition.

Let’s walk through the facts and logic here, and you can make your own call.

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Fitness Planning & Gear , Philosophy & Motivation

Fitness as We Age: Five Lessons From the “Ground Game” in Football

I love football analogies, man. I probably use them too much. I ought to invoke the images of a symphony or a wild-flowered meadow more often.

But some football analogies just make sense to me at a visceral level. Especially this one: pursuing long-term body-and-soul health (at 40, 50, 60 and beyond) is like committing to the run as a football strategy.

When a team declares “we WILL run the football,” they commit to guiding principles like: Having a more-patient approach to victory – not trying to “win quickly”…Depending less on flashy or gimmicky approaches – what you see is mainly what you get…and Reducing costly mistakes – fumbles are less common and less damaging than interceptions.

Let’s consider what lessons this holds for the pursuit of decades-long fitness. I see five of them.

4 Comments
  1. […] principals a little bit more, both on do’s & don’ts and quantity control.  Also, have a pig day or at least a pig meal once a week.  This small “planned deviation” is a […]

  2. […] is to correlate these.  If I “blow” a workout plan I often feel the urge to also act in “pig day” mode. Do yourself a big favor and stay strong on […]

  3. […] you’ll care about OlderBeast posts on getting enough rest/recovery time, or leaving a “pig day” within your diet […]

  4. […] Within a normal guy’s life, these things aren’t bad. You’re having fun, spending time with friends and family, not “obsessing” on nutrition and making it a source of stress in and of itself. For these reasons, I often have a “pig day.” […]

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