Tip #2: Cascading Indulgence

Sticking to a diet when out in public is difficult. If you haven’t noticed, people tend to sell whatever will most likely snare you rather than what is good for you. But I’ve discovered a few tricks to keep from straying that, on a high-fat diet, work especially well. I call this one Cascading Indulgence.

Cascading Indulgence is a way to negotiate a compromise between a craving and your dietary goals. It goes like this:

I see a cookie. I crave that cookie. Another part of me says “No!”

The key here is not to deny your craving and move on. That’s a dangerous move. You’ll be patting yourself on the back for the next five minutes till you accidentally wander back by the cookie and observe your hand go from cookie to mouth like a chameleon catching a fly.* Meanwhile your iron will is piddling around in the yard and your philosophical resolve is in the loo.

Instead, negotiate. “You’re right. That cookie does look delicious. You know what else is delicious? Avocado. Look I’m grinding fresh pepper onto one now!”

“That does sound tasty,” your craving will say. “But I still want that sugary cookie.”

“And you shall have it my good craving! You shall! Just after a snack,” you reply as you get out some peanut butter and put a dollop in your mouth.

Do you see what’s going on here? We agree to give into the craving after a few conditions are met. In this case, the condition of not eating the cookie till after we eat some tasty, satiety-inducing food. Do you know why? Because when it comes time to give in to the craving we will likely find it has disappeared.

Sometimes a particularly strong craving will persist even after the fat and protein decoy, especially if you’ve only begun resisting sugar and carbs. “Hey, about that cookie… just a taste?” It still wants something sweet.

“Ok craving. You got it. Just after we have a few of these strawberries. Look! I’m dipping them in rich coconut milk!”

What you know that the craving doesn’t, is that there’s more sugar in that single cookie than in two dozen sweet strawberries. And we most likely won’t need to eat that many strawberries before finding the craving satisfied and gone.

So stop denying your cravings outright and put a policy of cascading indulgence in place.

*According to the internet, a chameleon’s tongue is rather like Bruce Lee’s arm: a complex arrangement of bone, muscle and sinew, the chameleon’s tongue extends faster than the human eye can follow, hitting its prey in about 30 thousandths of a second.