Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2011 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Barney Boisvert

Project HUGE: The Thinking Emotional Self vs. The Schedule

By Ben Nadel on
Tags: Project HUGE

If my thinking emotional self were smarter, I would never miss a workout, never miss my vitamins, never miss my protein intakes, never skip my rehabilitation exercises, and never do anything stupid in the gym. But, the simple fact is, my thinking emotional self, especially when it comes to Project HUGE, is not that smart. In reality, it's pretty dumb, operating at just above Caveman level at times. As such, I have to do things like schedule my nutritional intake to make sure that it actually gets done.

But, the problem I have been finding lately is that my thinking emotional self is even too dumb to trust itself and, in fact, actively seeks to undermine its own efforts. This has become quite evident by the way in which I am constantly questioning my scheduled nutritional intake. Every day, I get the alerts on my phone that it's time to feed and time and time again, I think to myself, "Should I really be eating now?" I even start to come up with reasons as to why my schedule is incorrect: I didn't workout much this week, I ate a lot last night, my stomach feels a bit funny, I just ate recently.

What is going on here? I scheduled this nutritional intake stuff quite directly as a result of the fact that my thinking emotional self was not capable of taking care of the task on its own. So, really, this is not a matter of schedule validity - it's a question of trust; I don't trust myself.

This is a tricky issue to deal with because it is purely emotional and emotional battles cannot easily be fought with logic. Perhaps this is another chance to call upon the way of the warrior and the Four Agreements for guidance. Agreement one is, "Be impeccable with your word." While I think this is an agreement that is easiest to use with others, it is also intended to be used with one's self; to be impeccable with your word includes speaking well of yourself.

To apply this agreement in this conflict, I must pause when in doubt and take a moment to speak well of myself - I must remember that I am bright and that I did take time to think out my nutritional schedule. I must trust that it is as it is for a reason and that that reason is more important that my emotional, reflexive feelings at the time. At a higher level, I think this is also an example of reacting rather than acting. A fool reacts, as I have reacted emotionally to my scheduled feedings. As a warrior, I must learn act in accordance with my logical, well laid out plans.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Various Nutrients Used In Project HUGE (At One Time Or Another). 
 
 
 

Note: This is an old photo and not necessarily what I am taking now.




Reader Comments

On my way out of the office, I briefly discussed this emotional problem with Clark and he said something that got me thinking; he said that before my nutrients were scheduled, I primarily took my protein only after a workout. As such, there was some sort of emotional bond that was created between the protein intake and the soreness / tightness / pump of the muscles. He thought perhaps the difficultly was to disassociate the protein intake from that feeling and to reassociate it to the alert on the iPhone.

This was an excellent point, but I wanted to take it up one level - what is that emotional association between the workout feeling and the protein intake? I think really what it is is a sense of entitlement - a sense of earning; I worked out, my muscles feel pumped and so, I have earned the right to take my protein - I have earned the right to feed my body.

So, really, the emotional push back I feel against my scheduled nutrition, and this ties into the "excusitise" I was expressing above, is the feeling that I have done nothing to deserve this nutritional intake. I suppose that it's hard to feel that at 11AM, after sitting at my desk for 3 hours that I've done anything to earn these nutrients.

When I think about it like this, it's a ridiculous, laughable situation. Not done anything to earn it? I'm alive! That's all I have to do. My body is in a constant state of protein anabolism and catabolism. I'm constantly in need of a fresh supply of the building blocks of all existence. To feel like I don't deserve my protein is tantamount to feeling as if I have don't deserve to keep existing.

Have you tried just making a shake and putting it on your desk after lunch or between meals? Thirst alone should drive you to finish it. Sure it might not be all 40g right at 3pm when you're sipping on it over time but isn't it about spreading out your nutritional intake anyway?

I eat 20g of protein before working out, 40g right after, 40g during lunch, 40g 3 hours after lunch, 40g for dinner, and 30g (meat or ciasne) before i sleep. I tried to do it for a while without whey but it was just too tough!

I had a co-worker who just made 5 shakes and put them all on his desk when he came to work. I think it's easier when it's right in front of you.

@PJ,

That's an interesting idea. I find, however, that wet protein begins to smell very bad in a little bit of time (I have even gone so far as to throw out containers that I failed to wash for a day or two). I think I might have too big a mental rejection of the idea of leaving pre-made shakes on my desk :)