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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Nine of My Favorite, High-Value Fitness Products

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You can spend a lot here. Think: multi-thousand-dollar bike…expensive home-gym equipment…membership at high-end gyms or studios…personal trainer…performance nutrition products. And depending on your situation, man, these things may well be worth it…much more so than other areas of discretionary spending in your life.

But a small number of things – not that expensive – will go a long way to setting you up with what you really need. Things you’ll use every week, and which do their job very well for a modest cost. A growing list of these things (products, as well as “services” like gyms, studios and online fitness programs) are featured on OlderBeast’s Recommended Products page.

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You’ll be a better Architect of your own long-term health and vitality if you understand the root causes of confusing, conflicting nutrition info. And if you know sources of “truth” for at least some basic topics, as well “both sides of the story” for controversial ones. For 40+ guys doubling down on nutrition as part of long-term body-and-soul health, this is critical.

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How to Overcome “That Sluggish Feeling” When It Threatens Your Workout Plan

There are a bunch of reasons why you might NOT work out today. Some are good, and many are not-so-good. Of all possible reasons, the one I really hate works like this.

1. You plan to work out that day. Then as the planned time nears, you start to feel a physical and/or mental sluggishness. Nothing dramatic, but you just don’t feel like working out. You start to flirt with the idea of taking the day off, considering various possible justifications.

2. But rather than explicitly, decisively declaring a day off – sometimes you need one, even if unplanned – you let minutes tick by without moving toward your workout OR deciding not to. Deep down, you might know what you’re doing, but you don’t admit it to yourself.

3. Then all of a sudden, voila, it’s “too late” for your workout. You missed the window of time you had before your next work, family or personal obligation. Even though you caused this, you don’t feel glad about the “can’t workout now” reality. You immediately feel like you’ve let yourself down.

This ever happen to you?  If so, you just fell victim to That Sluggish Feeling (“TSF”).  

I’ve devised a new response to TSF when it strikes. I don’t seek to move directly from sluggishness to exercise. Instead, I do a short, easy “bridge” activity in-between, to change my energy and get me into a better frame-of-mind to decide if I’m really, intentionally going to skip that workout. Here’s how it works.

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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