Saturday, 3 May 2008

Enjoyment is the way to go

Adding enjoyment to my life is a main theme for me at the moment. I like to find a fun enjoyable way of doing whatever it is I want to do. Be it lose weight, cut down on red meat, whatever. The reasoning is that most of us, especially me respond most to things we like. If we have to do something but we don't like it then it takes a certain amount of will power to force ourselves to do it. Say you try to eat less. The whole concept is negative. It's like you're taking away the amount of food and giving nothing back. What if you change it to think that I'll eat less food but everything I do eat from now on has to be high in flavour.

I've used this approach and it worked really well for me. I decided to experiment a little more to discover foods I didn't know I liked or I'd forgotten I like. Turns out there are a lot:
  • Angel delight
  • tinned strawberries, pears, fruit salad
  • condensed milk mmmmmmm!!!!
  • cheap biscuits like digestives, ginger nuts, nice biscuits
  • fresh fruit; grapes, satsumas, melons, apples, pears, bananas
  • fresh veg; cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, peppers, onions, swedes, spinach
The list really goes on.

I also remembered that my mum taught me some basic cooking skills years ago and I enjoyed it. So I tried it again. I learnt simple things like making soups, doing roasts, making mashed veg, fruit crumbles. Nothing fancy whatsoever and using every cheat there is like buying pastry if I don't have time. The point is I was having fun. By the end of this, I think it was 1 year to 18 months I was having a great time, I'd learnt loads but most of all I was eating more healthily. It wouldn't look it given the list above but that's missing the detail. I was eating less and enjoying it. I really didn't mind having smaller portions.

My hunger and routine had adjusted, and crucially, I didn't have any niggling feeling in my subconscious that I was losing out on anything. Now, I really look forward to eating yet I have fresh fruit more regularly, fresh veg more regularly. The profile of my diet had improved so much. In hindsight it wasn't about having a perfect diet. I just needed better diet than I had before.

Ok so what's the point of all this. Mainly that for me it was the enjoyment of what I was doing that made it so worth while and actually meant it guaranteed it's own success. If you enjoy something then you'll make an effort to keep doing it and it won't seem like hassle.

So could you measure this and keep track of it? Can you record and track enjoyment or fulfilment to figure out how happy you are with something now and check it in the future? Then you can see if you're happier. I like the idea of using this kind of value to help push you on because it switches the weight loss mentality from always being negative and having to keep up with tough goals, to being really positive. How happy are you today. Not very, well lets see if we can change that for next week. What was your happiest week. What made you enjoy it.

There is a scientifically validated psychological measure of exertion that's used to measure how hard you're working with out using wires and things. It's called Rating of Perceived Exertion and is really simple to use. I'm just wondering if there's anything like this particularly for enjoyment.

The reason I say this is because, referring back to the smarter goals post before this, if you can't measure the state of something then how can you measure how much it's changed. Basic logic you see.
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