What Twinkies Taught Me about Consistency

Do you remember the Subway diet guy? He lost weight by eating only subs every day. And how about the Twinkie diet? That guy only ate Twinkies and lost weight. Over the last 33 years, I have sampled many diet strategies, (not twinkles or subs),  and I discovered a common denominator across all nutrition plans.

Consistency in honoring hunger and fullness.

Nutrition consistency comes in two forms. One type is like the Subway guy and the Twinkie guy. I had some consistency quirks too. For a long time I ate yogurt, fruit and Kashi cereal daily. My behavior was like the Subway/Twinkie guys. Today I cannot look at Kashi cereal without gagging.

The Twinkie type of consistency plan can be hard to follow because eventually, the satisfaction factor wanes. This is called habituation. Habituation with food eventually causes the satisfaction to wear out.  Not only that but if the person doesn’t eat the habitual food (Twinkies) they are at a loss for what to eat because don’t know what else they can eat according to their diet. Often they give up at that point. 

My Kashi cereal plan failed, because of habituation. That experience taught me that actual food choices can be varied, and the pattern of eating and portion control are what needs to be consistent. Consistent nutrition does not mean eating the same exact food every single day. Because eventually our taste buds are not getting pleasure from the same food over and over and over.

The other type of nutrition consistency has to do with the pattern of eating and portion control. How do lean people stay consistent? They adopt a pleasant uncomplicated behavior pattern that accounts for portion control. The actual meal content is varied, not limited. The bottom line is they are in tune with their hunger and fullness signals. If you have a pattern of eating that includes a certain number of meals and snacks, and on a particular day,  and you are not hungry at the time you normally eat, then don’t eat. If you are significantly more hungry than usual, then eat earlier. 

To avoid getting in a rut, consider eating in season. Enjoy pumpkin in the fall, asparagus in the spring, cabernet in the winter, and white burgundy in the summer (a wine  for all seasons!)  Additionally we can determine our own personal preference of mealtimes and portions. If they change, it’s no big deal,  it doesn’t have to be written in on your grave.  This is just a guide.

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