Making poor choices in your diet? Try this.

March 27, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016


Why do we keep repeating unhealthy lifestyle patterns? Why do we eat foods that

we are allergic to, binge and overeat, overindulge in alcohol, or abuse our bodies

with junk food?


One answer may be the “NIC” syndrome”, or “No immediate consequence”

syndrome. There is no “immediate consequence” most of the time when we do

things that are not good for our body.  Even though these “NIC” issues may seem

small, they can eventually have a huge negative impact on us in the long run.


The power of immediate consequences


We know that if someone walks out in front of a moving bus, it would have an immediate

consequence – a powerful incentive to not do something that is harmful to us.

Integrating this same powerful incentive into our everyday health choices is

one of the key factors.


How can we find a way to increase our incentive to make a positive change in

the areas that need improvement? Awareness.


Being conscious and totally aware of our actions when we fall into this

“self-sabotage” mode is a way to feed our incentive, thus making it more powerful.

In addition, I feel that the guilt that we feel after making a bad choice is one of the

factors that “numb” us out, and thus so, it generates an unpleasant feeling.

That unpleasant feeling is something we usually run from, and the easiest way

to do that is run to a comfort food, or a vice to cover up that feeling. 

It’s a circular pattern.


Dropping the guilt


If we can let go of the guilt associated with making a bad food choice, I feel

that this can be one way to achieve an incentive boost.

For example: If I ate a quart of ice cream and 2 brownies tonight, obviously, I would

increase my bliss, but afterwards, I would feel guilty and say to myself, “WHAT was I thinking?”


A better approach would be to say to myself, “Wow, that ice cream and brownie

meal was awesome! I know eating healthy is important to my health, so next

time I’ll make a wiser decision and eat a smaller or healthier treat.”


I know that this may sound sarcastic and funny, but it’s the first step in being

“aware” and letting go of the guilt.


Really pay attention to what you are doing


A friend of mine told me how he quit smoking in an unusual way.

He said that each time he lit up a cigarette, he really focused on the experience

without any particular emotion, paying attention to each puff, feeling the smoke

enter and leave his lungs, like an awareness meditation. He lost the desire

to smoke after a week!


Similar to what my friend experienced, it’s also important to really focus

on a poor food choice – every detail to really feel the

sensation and really live it. While eating those brownie’s and ice cream, hone in

on the experience with total immersion – taste, smell, texture. This will help to

overcome the “numbing” effect from guilt and help you move into a better choice

next time, or, maybe the time after. 

You may be thinking that this could have the opposite effect, but give it a try.


Lose the “NIC” syndrome


Being conscious and aware of your actions without accompanying it with

guilt will help you focus more on making your incentives more powerful, and slowly,

the “NIC” syndrome will have less value.