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

In defense (and praise) of the EASY workout

It’s important to keep physically challenging ourselves as we age. That’s why OlderBeast feature things like push-up challenges, exhortations to increase your weekly workout frequency, and calls to keep on running uphill.

But the name of the game is to do it thoughtfully, man — in a way we can sustain for years and hopefully decades. And on some days that calls for a game-time decision to do an EASY workout.

There’s the planned easy workout, to recover from intense effort yesterday or get ready to go hard tomorrow. But here, I want to talk about something different…a last-minute call to just do something “light” today.

Maybe a shorter and/or slower run. Or just some light body weight exercises and stretching. Or some lower-intensity cardio on a machine and then a short core routine.

The idea of switching to an easier workout is really about our relationship with motivation: having more than one response to call on when we feel unmotivated.

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Fitness Planning & Gear

One of These Simple Fitness Tests Will Make You More Bulletproof & Motivated

In business, there’s a saying about the benefit of quantifying things to sharpen focus on them and drive results:

“What gets measured, gets managed.”

This is true for fitness and health, too. And for all of us past age 40, periodic physical tests and assessments are especially important because:

(1) We’re more prone to slow-developing asymmetries in our fitness, which become weaknesses over time — chinks in our armor vs. aging. Fitness assessments help flag potential problem areas so we can address them.

And (2) when assessments find strengths, this is great and much-valued reinforcement of the investments we make in fitness. It’s motivation to keep going…something we all need.
With these benefits in mind, have you done a fitness self-assessment recently? And no, the “Presidential” tests back in gym class in 1970-something don’t count, man.

Here are three simple assessments you can do on your own, with descriptions and pro’s/con’s. I’ve purposely left out tests that require any fancy equipment, and ones that are “hard core” for advanced disciples of any given fitness activity. So, sorry, nothing here about how much you can dead lift or how fast you can run a half-marathon.   

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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