Douglas Lisle DVD

I just watched a very good DVD by Douglas Lisle. He wrote the Pleasure Trap. He applies psychology to eating healthy. The first lecture was about the continuum of evil. He's referring to good foods and bad foods here. Grading food, he gives meat an F, dairy a D, processed grains and sugar C, tofu, whole-wheat bread, veggie burgers a B, and whole unprocessed produce an A+. He then says, we're not perfect, but it's good to eat as many of the A foods as you can and only occasionally eating the B and C foods. He spent much of his career counseling on addiction. He says failure is fine, it's part of the process. Don't aim for perfection 100% of the time. If you aim for perfection and then you fail, that sets up weird behaviors, like going on a binge and promising you'll be perfect tomorrow or next week. You want to average a very good score (A on the grading scale) but know that it is a process getting there and that you will dip and know to get back on track when you do--that is the most important part, not aiming for perfection. I'm paraphrasing and surely not distilling this as accurately as he presented.

The second talk is on how personality characteristics determine how easy it is for someone to adopt this healthy eating plan. There are 5 personality characteristics: 1) openness to experience, 2) conscientiousness, 3) extraversion & introversion, 4) agreeableness, and 5) stability. The personality best suited to adopting this healthy eating is 1) not very open , 2) conscientious, 3) introverted, 4) not agreeable, and 5) stable. So for example, those of us who are open to trying new things, well, we might not be satisfied with brown rice and broccoli every day. Conscientiousness is of course helpful in sticking to the plan. Extraverts like to socialize and go out to eat, and it's hard to find healthy food in restaurants. Agreeable people I guess are more easily influenced by our friends and family members prodding us to eat their food and be like them. And stable people are less likely to want to celebrate by eating and drinking, or drown their sorrows by eating and drinking. We can't change these personality characteristics so we just have to be aware of what the vulnerabilities and strengths are when applied to the case of eating healthy.

In my case, I'm 1) open to new experiences, so that is a vulnerability. I am feeling this right now. It was a good thing when I started this because I was open to changing my eating habits and learning a whole new way of cooking. But now I'm ready for something new. So I have to figure out some other area of my life to try out new things in. 2) I'm pretty conscientious so that's an advantage. 3) I'm probably in the middle. I need to socialize and have friends, and I used to struggle with this, but I've modified my social life and don't center it around bars and restaurants. 4) I'm pretty agreeable and I guess that's a disadvantage. But I've learned to deal with that one too, it just took a little longer to stand up to people, in a polite way of course. 5) I think I'm pretty stable, though I do sometimes want to celebrate with food and drown my sorrows with food. I think my biggest vulnerability right now is #1: After embracing this whole-heartedly and learning everything I could, now I've gotten bored with it. I want to try something new.