Diet Lessons from an Introvert

As I publish this post, Lindsay and I are exactly 14 days, 1 hour and 52 minutes away from tying the knot....but who's counting!?

While there's still some work to do on the wedding, I'd like admit something: I'm nervous.

To clarify, I'm not nervous at all about marrying Lindsay (after all, that decision was made a long time ago)....but I am nervous about all the added attention the wedding will bring.  After all, I'm the guy that has refused to have any semblance of a birthday party for the past 18 years, because the introvert within me can't stand being the center of attention.

Proof of my singing past: Elvis costume and all..

Proof of my singing past: Elvis costume and all..

Of course, that statement sounds odd given that 1) I have a blog, 2) post videos of myself on YouTube, 3) was a college pitcher, and 4) was in a college a cappella group, as well as the male lead in my high school musical. *NERD ALERT*

Yup, you heard me.  Feel free to leave jokes and "Glee" references in the comments....just be prepared to be challenged to an overhead press or deadlift battle (your choice).

Anyway, it's always baffled people - including myself - how I could perform and act when the spotlight was the brightest....while, at the same time, thinking that a leisurely stroll over hot coals would be more appealing than chiming in during a classroom discussion.

Or worse, having to make small talk with a complete stranger. (Gasp!)

As I always say, we're all walking contradictions and surely I'm no different.  But, when I really started thinking about the difference between pitching or singing and having to chat in an unscripted way, I realized that the two differed in one simple way - anxiety.

Back when I was a student, I would begin to have anxiety over the mere thought of having to participate in class.  Instead of raising my hand, my first impulse was to deliberately rehearse and overthink what I was about to say.  As a result, the more I thought about it, the more I'd freeze up and couldn't raise my hand.  I'd then convince myself that my point wouldn't have been relevant anyway, or rationalize to myself that class participation wasn't important, even when it was.

On the flip side, whenever I was on the field or the stage I'd miraculously do the opposite.  Rather than overthinking and building up anxiety, I would simply live in the moment.  I never let my mind stray and begin thinking "what if I gave up a few home runs" (which, did happen), or "what if I forget a line" (which never happened!). Strangely enough, that mindset allowed the loneliest spots on earth to be of the most comfort to me, because no matter the problem I knew I'd always think of the simplest solutions.

Where this tangential rant is headed is actually a very simple point: we tend to overthink. Like pretty much everything. Maybe it's human nature, or maybe it's just certain human's nature, I'm not really sure.

Yet, nowhere is over thinking more evident than when it comes to diet and losing weight.  I can't tell you how many times people have been somewhat disappointed in my dietary advice when all I've said to them are the simplest solutions. Occam's razor?  Occam's razor.

To give you a sample of what I mean, here's a few snippets I've heard over the years, with my personal thoughts included:

  • "Should I have low-fat cottage cheese or 1/2 an avocado as a snack? I like avocados but they're high in fat.."
    This statement isn't really an apples to apples's more like an avocado to cottage cheese comparison! (I crack myself up.)  Anyway, if there's one thing we know we need, it's that increased intake of fruits and vegetables is always correlated with leaner and healthier people.  If there's a second thing we know, it's that the fat in avocados is processed by our bodies in a completely different (and healthier!) way than the saturated fat that's found in cottage cheese.  Eat more plants, people.  Eat more plants.
  • "I'm not losing any weight, maybe I should cut back my almond intake by 10 almonds a day.."
    I'm not sure if this statement is incredibly myopic, or the epitome of simplicity, but I'm leaning towards the former. We know almonds and nuts can be high in fat, and thus, high in calories.  It makes sense then that the almonds are what's keeping on the weight....not the heavily processed carbohydrates, refined sugars, or the alcohol we're consuming, right?  Wrong.

    Instead of majoring in minor details, fry the biggest fish.  If you're having a bagel more frequently than you're having fruits and vegetables in the morning, that's where you can start. Perfect is not the enemy of good, and if you're singling out a natural food, you're going to have other areas of your diet to fix.
  • "I'd like to build muscle and put on weight....which protein powder or supplements should I use?"
    Ah, I know this question well, mostly because I used to be that guy.  The problem of course, is often times the people asking this question are pretty thin, and the ensuing conversation always tends to go like this:

    Me: "How much do you eat during the day?"
    Client: "I eat a ton. And I can't put on any weight!"
    Me: "OK, well what did you have breakfast this morning?"
    Client: "I don't really eat breakfast."
    Me: "OK, how about lunch?"
    Client: "Sometimes I have a burrito, but I'll mostly just eat a salad.."

    Clearly, the problem isn't a single nutrient that they may be's the entire meals they're missing!  Nutrients are simply less effective when we take them out of their natural foods, so rather than taking down protein shakes, lean pieces of chicken will be much more effective.  And if you're really looking to put on weight, then the solution could be an extra peanut butter and jelly sandwich each day.  After two weeks, if you're still not gaining weight, have a second one each day....along with your other three meals.  

If you're trying to change your diet, make the simplest change you can.  Then, after two weeks, if nothing has changed, proceed to the next simplest change.  Much like singing, changing your diet only brings anxiety if we overthink it.

In the same way, I'm trying not to overthink all of the added attention that comes with wedding.  

And if nothing else, I can always talk about the weather.