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The Goldilocks Dilemma

Inspiration for this Soundbite comes from an unlikely source: ”How life Imitates Chess” a book by Garry Kasparov, the most successful chess player of all times. My father, a chess fan(atic), gave me the book. As it looked like riveting stuff, NOT, I fully intended to pretend to read it to please him and then stick it on the shelf somewhere and forget about it. I was happily surprised with the numerous gems I found when I started reading, and I did not stop until I finished.

Chess and Health/Beauty

Kasparov writes about his rise to world champion at the young age of 22 in 1985. He tells of how he sat through interview after interview with journalists trying to figure out how he had achieved his unprecedented success. They asked him, how did he manage to work so hard? How many moves ahead can he see? Does he have a photographic memory? What does he eat before a match? What does he do every night before he goes to sleep? In short, what were the secrets of his success? Everyone seemed to be looking for a precise method, a recipe that they could follow to achieve great results every time. Kasparov explains that such questions miss the point that we are all one of a kind. The result of millions of elements and transformations. Each person must build their own unique formula for making decisions. There are guidelines for what works, but individuals must discover their own way through practice and observation. In the typical interview with a Hollywood star, journalists choose questions that are aimed at finding the secret to having the hair, the figure, the skin, the teeth and the talent of these beautiful people. What kind of workouts do they do? When do they eat? What time do they go to bed? Silk or cotton? How often do they exercise? How much water do they drink? Still or sparkling? With Lemon or without? Iced or room temperature? The idea is, that if we can copy exactly what that person is doing, we can have the same results that they have and correct our own bad habits. But undoing a dysfunctional eating style is not so much about changing what you eat as it is about changing how you think. This is not about external or even lifestyle change, it is about internal, adaptive change. Unless you learn how to think and make decisions for yourself, whatever lifestyle change you make will only be temporary.

The Goldilocks Dilemma

When Goldilocks entered the house of the three bears, she was confronted with options and had to make choices. Which chair to sit on, bowl to eat from and bed to lie on. Nobody was there to tell her what the “right” choice was, but through a process of trial and error, she found what was exactly right for her. The Goldilocks dilemma that we face every day, is about choosing not too much fat/sugar/salt/food/TV/sleep/exercise/work/leisure etc, but also not having too little fat/sugar/salt/food/TV/sleep/exercise/work/leisure etc. It is about learning how to get it exactly right, most of the time.

Mindful eating is not about tricking yourself to eat less. It is a method to help you be sensitive to your own hunger, appetite and satiety, and depend on those cues to regulate your eating. The level of satisfaction we are after, is not the kind of “satisfying” promised by weight loss organisations where you smile as you bite into your 10th celery stick and say “it’s so satisfying, I’m hardly hungry at all!” It is also not the kind that leaves you feeling that you need to lie down after a meal. Satisfying is about eating enough, but not too much. Hitting the spot. Exactly right.

You can learn to find it again and again, look forward to it, and count on it at every meal.

The balance between being depriving and being indulgent is a personal balance, and only you can decide exactly where that will lie for you. If your daily eating habits are such that you feel the need to take a break from it from time to time, like when you go to a restaurant or a birthday party or making overeating part of the Christmas holidays, it’s a good indication that your regular diet is not satisfying enough and that you are being too depriving. Tasty and satisfying should not be reserved for Christmas only, it can be an everyday experience.

Sound Bite

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do it”" Goethe
“This is not a cookbook. We all need to create our own successful combinations with the ingredients we have.. This cannot happen rapidly, if at all, of its own accord. We must take an active role in our education” Gary Kasparov in “how life imitates chess”
“God is not interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves. We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, dramatic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality. This is a classic example of what they call in the East “wrong thinking” Elizabeth Gilbert, in “eat, pray, love”

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