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Eating too much is like spending with a credit card.

There is a phenomenon known as “mental accounting.” Mental accounting refers to the tendency of humans to develop and make decisions based on purely mental categories. This happens in finances a lot. It also happens when we lose awareness of our food intake. If we are not careful, mental accounting can sabotage our success. We all remember the days when we endure the calorie deficit. It was uncomfortable and hard. It’s seared into our brain. It even happens when on our deficit days we decide to eat only food that we enjoy. And sometimes that food we enjoy happens to also fuel our body in a healthy way. But we always want more! We are meant to enjoy food after all! We need food to survive. But we forget the extra little delicious bites here and there. We eat yummy things and forget to account for them. Not necessarily on purpose. We honestly forget. It was just an apple. It was just a small handful of nuts. It was just a couple bites of some cake, or a bagel, or whatever. But sometimes we have rebellious eating episodes. Our emotions get the better of us. It’s not fair to have to be on a diet! It’s not fun. We deserve this! Or we are just plain sick and tired of having to remind ourselves “We can have more tomorrow!” even though we know we have had more than we actually need. Other times it’s just the stress of life that gets the better of us. So we eat more than we need. We are looking for comfort. So we lose track of the accounting. In finances this is the greater willingness to pay for goods when using credit cards than cash. The calorie deficit days are the cash spending days. We feel it. It’s hard. The over eating days are the credit card spending days. We consume more than we need and we don’t feel it. Or we rationalize it with our mental accounting. This is why we find ourselves thinking there is something wrong with us. It takes a long time to become acutely aware of your food intake. It’s not something our modern society strives for. Be patient with yourself. Those of us who got it down. We stumble too. The only difference is we get right back up and keep going. Eventually we get better at it. And even when we are as good as it seems we can get. We are still human after all. And we still stumble and struggle. And the struggle never really goes away. We merely learn to keep dealing with the struggle. And we never give up. And we never settle. And we live our dream anyway.

And you can do it too!


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