Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Don’t Train Yourself Like a Dog

Don't Train Yourself Like a Dog
Gretchen Rubin

These days, there's quite an emphasis on appreciating the animal side of human nature. Respect the power of the lizard brain! Train yourself like a dog!

I absolutely agree that the animal element of human nature is a factor in everything we do.

But sometimes, I think, we overlook the ways that people differ from animals. People are powerfully moved by imagination, belief, and knowledge. They can consider the past and future. They can make changes in their behavior out of reason, in a way that animals can't.

I had a recent experience like this. In March, I was intrigued by the title of Gary Taubes's book, Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It, and when I flipped through it, I saw that Taubes writes a lot about insulin. Because my sister is a Type 1 diabetic, I've become very interested in insulin. So I read the book.

I finished the book in two days, and when I'd finished, I'd completely changed both my beliefs about the elements a healthy diet and my actual eating habits. Among other changes, though I wasn't eating much sugar, relative to a lot of people, I gave up sugar altogether—and it wasn't even hard. After what I read, and what I now believed, I didn't want to eat sugar.

This sounds so difficult, but as an abstainer, and with this new knowledge, I found that it wasn't difficult at all. In fact, it was easier just to give it up than to try to indulge at a low level. (Except ketchup. I still do eat ketchup.) I made other giant changes, as well.

Now, Taubes's argument about "why we get fat" is controversial. Highly controversial. You may disagree! But I found it very persuasive, and I changed my habits overnight.

How about you? Have you ever read a book, seen a movie, or had a conversation or experience that completely transformed your behavior? From talking to people I know, this seems more common than you might think.

Edited by: Lawyer Asad

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