What’s funny is that I was thinking about this week’s question even before Padraig brought it up on the Paceline the other day. OK, he didn’t bring up this exact question. His was more about how we moderate our worst dietary impulses. You should listen to that conversation if you have time, but the condensed version for those of you who don’t is: I don’t really.
If I have food I like, in my house, I eat it. My only strategy for not eating food that’s bad for me is not having it in my house. I don’t go to the tattoo shop, unless I want a tattoo, you know? So I don’t load ice cream in the refrigerator unless I want to eat ice cream. Or more accurately, I never don’t want to eat ice cream, so I keep myself from eating ice cream for every meal by not buying ice cream.
Even more accurately: I’m not an actual robot. I sometimes buy ice cream and eat it. I use my kids as an excuse. You get my point though. I don’t have the moderation gene, so I remove the problem by not creating the problem to begin with.
Food is a big challenge, even for folks who have ready access to it. Like you, I want to eat well, and I do that, as I said, by only bringing the things I want (to have) eat(en) into my house. Having said that, we have to be really careful that we’re not eating disorderedly. Once you get into the whole effort/reward cycle, or worse the binge/punishment cycle, things take a turn for the dysfunctional.
Unlike the controlled substances I adored in my college years, you actually do have to eat, and it all goes much better if you maintain a healthy relationship with food. Many of us who ride our bicycles a lot take advantage of the attendant metabolic blessings to eat poorly. The older you get, the worse an idea that becomes.
I’m no one to talk about cultivating good habits, but you should cultivate good habits. That’s a disclaimer though really, because this week’s TCIF is about that moment in your life when you’ve stopped giving any f&$ks about good habits.
You’ve just staggered in the door from an epic. You spent the morning, or even the whole day, spraying watts around like champagne after a Formula 1 win. Your body is approaching caloric revolt, or may already be sounding the fuel alarm at a volume that is simultaneously inaudible AND deafening.
You get to the refrigerator, bib straps dangling at your sides, your hair plastered to your head, and open the door. What is it that you most want to see? I’m not asking what you are most likely to find. I’m asking what you would most like to find? Like, if you could snap your fingers and anything could be there, what would it be? Peking duck? A New York deli reuben? A banana goddamned split? Maybe what you’re into doesn’t even live in the refrigerator. A family-size bag of Ruffles? Some other arcane flavor of fried carbohydrate?
For myself, probably a Full Gas Coke and a big bag of potato chips, the twin towers of sugar and salt, and then a cold shower to restore me to something approaching humanity. I’m a simple robot. That might actually be as close as I ever get to real humanity.