Crumb by crumb

For many people, the hardest part of implementing a new diet plan is the suspicion that they will need to restrict or deprive themselves. We imagine a plate full of our favorite foods. A long-faced nun in dour gray enters the dining room, lifts your plate, slides the sweetest third into a trash bin, and plunks the plate back down. Eat, the nun growls. Eat and repent.

The truth is that the easier path to removing what you don’t want is by adding what you do want.

When I coach friends who aim to lose body fat, the first thing I ask them to do is add, not subtract: specifically, 40 grams of protein within 2 hours of their first meal.

What they learn is that by adding the nutrients they lack, they crave less the nutrients they have in excess.

Each explicit addition compels an implicit subtraction; extra salmon and water and greenery nudge the chips and pizza and Pop Tarts off the plate. The plate is never emptied; the plate is always overfull.

So it goes with each habit we wish to change: keep your plate overfull. Do not subtract. Add the habits you want, and crumb by crumb the junk falls off the plate.