I’d like to make an outrageous, life-changing promise: Suspend judgment long enough to learn one (somewhat crazy) mental trick and you can achieve full control of your eating…forever.
NOT the painful, grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it control you’ve experienced while dieting before, but real control that lasts. Effortless control you feel secure about 24x7x365, without constant thought. Natural, lifelong control which represents true peace with food. So you can obtain the body you want, the health you deserve, and the sense of confidence and esteem which comes from sticking to a commitment.
Plus, once you learn this mental trick it will not only act to protect you against the thoughts which cause you to overeat today, but anything your “fat-thinking-self” might dream up tomorrow.
But fair warning: This trick-of-mind is fairly unusual, and you may have a negative reaction when you first hear it. Some people put the book down. Others call me a lunatic.
I don’t mind the criticism because I know that my “strange” approach, although aggravating to some, has been extremely helpful to countless others…
Because what you’ve been calling a weight problem — or difficulty sticking with your best thinking about what to eat — is in reality a survival drive gone wrong. This is why all your rational attempts to keep to your commitments have failed, and why you keep getting derailed from your best-laid dietary and nutritional plans.
It’s also why it seems like no matter how hard you try, you eventually find yourself eating in ways you swore you never would again. And it’s why you may feel demoralized, dejected, and hopeless about ever successfully dealing with food.
When you start to rein in this survival-drive-run-amuck, it’s going to fear for its life. But thankfully, there’s ONE insight to which this seemingly unconquerable drive responds. One which can help you utterly dominate it, giving you full control of your eating from now on.
So feel free to entertain every critical voice in your head. In fact, becoming aware of your internal objections is an essential part of the process. I’ve actually set up the book to stimulate them.
All I’m asking is you give this a chance.
Give it a full read and promise yourself to withhold judgment. Try it out for a while, even if it seems nutty or doesn’t quite work for you at first. If at that point you still think this idea is just not for you, that’s fine. By then, you’ll have made a fully informed decision, which is critical because — as you’ll soon realize — this is about a lot more than losing a few pounds. And it’s about more than your health.
This is about accomplishing all your goals and dreams with more confidence and security than you ever thought possible.
What’s at stake is everything you care about, as it is for everyone who’s ever really struggled with food. And if you’ll just pause to breathe for a moment, I know you’ll nod your head in agreement. At minimum, you’ll have to acknowledge how important it is to get control of this eating thing once and for all.
So please keep your mind as open as it’s ever been.
After all… what if I’m right?
WHO AM I?
I’m a formerly obese guy with very poor cardiovascular genetics…
A guy who almost ate himself to death despite a dozen warnings from doctors and other health professionals…
Who wasted years of his life believing he had a mysterious disease which caused him to compulsively overeat…
And who used to think he was powerless to resist bagels, pizza, chocolate, donuts, pasta, potato chips, and pretty much anything else which tasted good in mass quantities.
My ongoing food compulsions and preoccupations did not deter me, however, from earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, nor from building a large, very successful practice, nor even from funding my own food-preference research project with 40,000+ people.
And for over 25 years I was the CEO of companies which provided tens of millions of dollars in research and consulting services to Fortune 500 firms including major food manufacturers like Lipton, Kraft, Nabisco, etc.
Frankly, I’m a guy who couldn’t stop thinking about food, even while he was working with psychotherapy patients and coaching clients…
Someone who spent most of his life feeling desperate to control his food problem. That is, until I discovered a child-like trick of mind which got me thinking like a permanently thin person…
A weird idea which got in my head and grew progressively stronger by itself, no matter how hard my fat-thinking-self tried to eliminate it!
WARNING: Your Fat Thinking Alter-Ego Does NOT Want You to Read This Book!
Your Fat-Thinking-Self will say anything to prevent you from reading this. For example, it may already be saying something like this:
“You’ve got to be kidding me! Another diet plan? There’s NO way we could ever do this. You’re too weak, you never stick with a hard and fast food rule. Besides, are we really just going to eat like rabbits for the rest of our life? C’mon. Just put the book down and let’s go have us a little Bingeing party. Can we? Can we? Huh!!?”
So let me promise you something up front: This book is about cementing your ability to stick with the Food Plan of your choice. It’s not about getting you to follow (or not follow) any particular diet. Absolutely everything about what you eat, when you eat, and where you eat will be entirely up to you.
Your Fat-Thinking-Self will also object to drawing the clear “lines in the sand” required by this technique:
“Are you really NEVER going to cross the line again? That’s just a set up for feeling guilty when you Binge and you know it. Do you really need more guilt in your life? Now just go get me some ‘comfort food’…it’ll be yummy!” – Your Fat Thinking Self
These guilt-threats need not frighten or control you. Because in this book we’ll apply a very kindhearted, effective way to recover from mistakes without becoming preoccupied with guilt and shame. If you fall down, you’ll just get up and resume where you left off. There’s NO need to repeatedly smack yourself in the head with a spatula! (Note your Fat-Thinking-Self’s immediate excitement at the possibility of you falling down.)
That said, since fear of guilt and failure stops many people before they’ve had a chance to really try this, let’s talk a bit about how we’ll handle mistakes in the Never Binge Again way of thinking. In short, we just treat ourselves the same way we’d treat a child who’s genuinely trying to accomplish something important.
For example, suppose your 5 year old daughter has her heart set on riding her bicycle to the top of a very steep hill without stopping. Would you say “You’ll never get to the top without stopping, little Sarah. That hill is WAY too steep. I don’t want you to feel guilty and ashamed after you fail, so let’s not even try, OK?”
Of course not! Instead, you’d help her set her sights on the goal with confidence and enthusiasm. And if she didn’t make it, you’d be right by her side to figure out what went wrong so she could do better next time. You certainly wouldn’t make her feel guilty for failing to reach the top, nor prevent her from setting the goal in the first place.
In this scenario, Sarah would know in her heart of hearts that if she did fail, you’d be right there to pick up the pieces and help her do better next time. But—and this is the key—with your support and enthusiasm she’d pedal up the hill with confidence and determination. And eventually—perhaps not on the first few tries—she WOULD make it…in large part because you protected her from becoming pre-occupied with the possibility of failure.
In a way, you’d have encouraged Sarah to purposefully “keep a secret” from herself, so that doubt and insecurity would not interfere with her energy and concentration on the goal.
In my experience this is the mindset of people who stop bingeing. Like little Sarah confidently pedaling up that big hill, you’ll learn to put even the remotest possibility of failure out of your mind…even if you DO at times fail on any given attempt. If you make a mistake, you’ll just pick yourself up and get back to pedaling in the right direction, speaking kindly to yourself the whole time.
It’s almost impossible to Binge if you refuse to yell at yourself. And if you DO resolve to get up if you happen to fail, no matter how many times, you can’t help but eventually get to the top.
Uncertainty, doubt, and low self-esteem are the psychological cancers which fuel overeating behavior. But rather than take years to eliminate these problems using traditional psychological methods, we’re going to cut right to the chase, remove the possibility of failure from our minds as we “pedal up that hill,” and quickly face down the guilt if we happen to make a mistake.
Therefore, we can confidently tell your Fat Thinking Self it no longer has the power to undermine your efforts with the fear of failure, guilt, and shame. With the power of Never Binge Again you can set any reasonable food goal with confidence and keep pursuing it until you achieve it—no matter how many attempts it may require. (At this point your Fat Thinking Self will get very excited about the possibility of you requiring multiple attempts to stop bingeing. Just ignore these thoughts for now)
We’ll go into more detail about dealing with the fear of failure, guilt about mistakes, etc. later in the book, but now that you understand the basic concept it should be a lot easier for you to keep reading.
There’s one last objection your Fat-Thinking-Self will raise about this book to stop you from finishing it, however: It will suggest aggressively rejecting all your fat-thoughts is a form of self-cruelty. It would prefer you keep trying to “love yourself thin” instead.
I promise you’ll be loving yourself MORE—and beating yourself up LESS—when we’re done.
In this context, it’s very important you understand that…
It’s Almost Impossible to “Love Yourself Thin!”
Identifying and caging your fat-thinking alter-ego is how YOU finally come to dominate all your food decisions and permanently reprogram yourself to think like a thin person. It’s how to disempower the destructive thinking which has, to this point, caused you so much trouble with food.
As noted above, many people reject this mental maneuver because they want to love ALL parts of themselves, no matter what.
The problem with loving, feeding, and nurturing ALL your thoughts and feelings is certain impulses are too strong to restrain when they’re given even a tiny opening. For many people, the physical and biochemical set up when it comes to food and other survival drives makes it extremely difficult to “love themselves thin.” In my experience this includes most people who struggle with binge-eating and/or serious bouts of overeating.
The compassionate soul inside me wishes this weren’t true…
But our “overeating and binging” thoughts are indeed a part of us. So I understand why people may perceive this technique as unnecessarily harsh at first. But if you’ll take the time to think about it, I know you’ll agree these thoughts represent the most reckless, most juvenile part of us…
The part which has repeatedly caused us to act against our own best judgment, and continually change our minds about our most serious food commitments.
These thoughts are worthy of permanent rejection.
In my experience, the act of recovering from Bingeing, serious overeating, and/or simply learning to stick to a diet is NOT like nurturing a wounded animal back to health. It’s more like capturing and caging an aggressive Doberman Pincher. This dog must respect and obey you—or it will have its way every time!
Interrupting and disempowering the thoughts which sustain your bingeing and overeating is not a game of mercy, it’s a game of unbreakable control and domination.
The fundamental reason people keep changing their minds about food commitments is because they are unknowingly giving their “fat-thinking-self” nurturance and love.
For all the reasons above, the mental entity which will hereafter house ALL your fat thinking shall be deemed “the Pig!™”
WHAT IS ’THE PIG’?
THE FIRST THING YOU NEED TO KNOW IS THIS: THE PIG IS NOT YOU!
Your Pig™ is NOT you!
The second thing you need to know is you can call it by a different name like “junkyard dog”, “feral cat”, “inner food demon”… or anything else which doesn’t remind you of a cute pet… because you’re going to want to distance yourself from it, NOT love and nurture it…
But I call my fat thinking self ‘The Pig’, so for the sake of the discussion here, I’ll address the seemingly uncontrollable urge to eat as ‘The Pig’.
Here’s what separates YOU from ‘The Pig’…
You have dreams and aspirations, but the Pig lives only to Binge.
You enjoy everything life has to offer, but the Pig wants only its junk and will say whatever it takes to get you to feed it…
The Pig doesn’t care about the consequences to your health, body, well-being, or happiness — because the Pig must get its stuff at any cost! You want to love, learn, laugh, and live your life to the fullest. But the Pig lives only for that “one more” precious Binge.
You can plan, organize, and accomplish amazing things. But the Pig sees life as one big food party and spends all its time and energy trying to convince you to indulge.
Thankfully, YOU are the only one who can feed it.
Understand this and you’re half way to controlling your weight forever.
The other half is learning to cold-heartedly ignore its Squeals.
When it comes down to it, either you or the Pig is going to suffer, and it’s NOT going to be you!
Your Inner Pig™ is responsible for a LOT of the misery in your life…
It convinced you to eat all the wrong foods, in the wrong portions, at the wrong times — downgrading your health, confidence, and quality of life most likely for decades by the time you became willing to read this.
The Pig has talked you out of every perfectly reasonable weight-loss plan you’ve ever made…
It’s prevented you from nourishing your body, mind, and soul…
It’s robbed you of not only the body you want, but the energy you need to build the life of your dreams.
It’s the Pig that’s caused you to live with this unnecessary weight burden…
It’s the Pig that’s drained your success, health, and happiness…
And it’s the Pig that’s making you feel hopeless about ever losing weight for good.
But the Pig couldn’t care less.
It cares ONLY for its own pleasure, and will destroy everything you love without blinking an eye… just to get one more precious bite.
The Pig deserves NO love and NO compassion.
It is NOT your inner child, a cute little pet, or anything else YOU might truly value in life.
So don’t you dare confuse “pig” (small ‘p’) with the Pig (capital ‘P!’)…
Because pigs (the real animals) are quite loving and adorable. Some people even keep them as pets. And in the REAL world, they need our help and protection…
But the “Pig” (with a capital ‘P’) is an out-of-control eating machine which will destroy everything you love if you let it.
Unfortunately, we can’t completely eliminate it from our lives because the Pig is intimately connected to an anatomical structure we need to survive (the midbrain). But you can eternally dominate it as long as you don’t confuse its Squeals for your own desires, and as long as you do what’s otherwise necessary for your survival.
THE PIG IS NOT YOU!
As crazy as it sounds, you must learn to treat the Pig with the same distaste and disrespect you’d feel for a BULLY. Because every time you “cross the line” and Binge despite your best-laid plans, there’s actually a little voice inside you — the Pig’s voice — working hard to make it “OK”. And the Pig (the Bully) doesn’t care how sick it makes you, how much pain it causes, and/or how much it derails your best laid plans to achieve important goals.
All the Pig cares about is convincing you it’s perfectly OK to eat a whole LOT of garbage…
But it’s NOT OK! And this trick of mind is how you finally get fed up with the internal thoughts which—until now— have been ruining so much of your life in exchange for a few moments of toxic pleasure.
For this reason, we’re going to voluntarily and aggressively separate ourselves from the Pig in our own mental space, and in so doing we’re going to gain 100% dominance over its destructive ideas.
The Pig is NOT you, and deserves NO respect. Learn to hear its Squeals, then promptly ignore them.
AM I A RAVING LUNATIC?
I don’t believe there’s a REAL pig inside anyone.
It’s only a mental concept. A voluntary trick of mind.
But here’s the thing: It’s not “just” a trick of mind, it’s THE trick of mind that works where others fail!
We may wish to acknowledge the trick in order to maintain our ability to think rationally. But in order to get the job done, once we’ve acknowledged this, it becomes imperative to treat the Pig as if it were real.
Therefore, this will be the only time I’ll point out the Pig doesn’t really exist.
It’s a conceptual framework to help you separate from the thoughts and feelings which, until now, have derailed your best-laid plans. A way of thinking which helps you take control and live the life you deserve. But in order for it to work, it’s got to seem 100% real to us during ALL potential moments of temptation.
You might struggle with this idea at first. Your Pig would certainly prefer you believed it didn’t exist. Because then you’d think its Squeals were your own thoughts — and, as you’ll soon discover, this is the ONLY way the Pig can get you to feed it.
Cage the Pig and tell it to shut up!
REMEMBER: It’s your mind and you’re allowed to organize your thoughts and feelings any way you want. The Pig exists because you SAY it exists, end of story.
“Are you really taking any of this nonsense seriously? C’mon… let’s just go Binge!” Sincerely – Your Pig
TAKE THE TEST: Is It Worth Defining a “Fat Thinking Alter-Ego” Inside You?
ALTERNATIVE NAMES FOR YOUR PIG
Even though I carefully explain “The Pig” is really just a moniker for your Lizard brain and is NOT you any more so than your ovaries (or testes)…
Some people hate naming a part of themselves – The ‘Pig’ because it brings back painful memories and feels like self-abuse…
If that’s the case with you, you should avoid naming your fat thinking self the ‘Pig’. As mentioned previously, there are plenty of other names you can use, like junkyard dog, feral cat, the saboteur and others. Some of my clients like to call their enemy an “Inner Slacker™” which “Whispers™ for its Junk™”
If you DO choose to use an alternate name, however, it WILL slightly alter the terms you’ll want to use for the rest of the system. For example, you’ll soon learn to refer to those things your Inner Pig wants you to eat as “Pig Slop™”… but if you’re referring to YOUR inner enemy as a junkyard dog you can instead call these things “Trash”…
Also, you’ll soon see we call the irrational voice your Pig uses to convince you to eat Pig Slop “Pig Squeal™”… but, following the same metaphor, you can just refer to it as Whining or Groveling…
See where I’m going?
Just don’t choose a cutesy name for your out-of-control-fat-thinking-self.
The name must accurately represent an aggressive, manipulative bully which cares only about making you eat badly and nothing else…
So you’ll be able to discipline and control this part of yourself without feeling remorse and/or unease.
Finally… I will continue to use term ‘the Pig’ throughout this book, simply because it’s the name I’ve personally picked for my own Lizard Brain run amuck with food.
WHY WE MUST DISCIPLINE AND CONTROL VS. LOVE OUR INNER FOOD DEMON
It’s important you know I’m a compassionate guy, and I DO believe in nurturing our inner wounded child… just NOT for the purpose of overcoming overeating.
I WANT you to feel loved.
I WANT you to self-actualize.
I WANT you to love yourself more…
And if you need a hug, well… I’m just a big teddy bear and I’ll be the first guy to give it to you…
But 30+ years of painful experience trying the “love yourself thin” approach—including a self-funded study with thousands of participants AND working directly with hundreds of clients—has convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is NOT the way to arrest serious overeating and binging difficulties.
There are four reasons. The first is our neuroanatomy.
See, our brains evolved in three distinct parts (And yes, I’m dramatically oversimplifying for illustration)…
The Lizard Brain(Brain Stem) is the oldest part. When it sees something in the environment it says to itself “Do I eat it, do I mate with it, or do I kill it!?” There’s NO interest in family, love, or relationships. No accounting for long term goals, spirituality, art, or music. It’s just “eat, mate, or kill.” This is the part which takes over when your diet flies out the window for a momentary indulgence. The Lizard Brain, when misdirected towards bad foods, IS your Pig.
The Mammalian Brain evolved after the lizard brain to ensure the wellbeing of the family. Essentially it’s job is to say to the Lizard Brain: “Wait! Don’t eat, mate, or kill that thing until we know it’s good for the tribe too!” This is the seat of emotion which bonds and binds you to others in the world.
And the Neocortex or “Logical Brain” came last to control the Lizard and Mamallian Brain in favor of longer term goals… things like weight loss and fitness… but also the human notions of love, self-identify, spirituality, music, art, etc.
The Mammalian brain can inhibit the Lizard Brain…
And the Logical Brain (Neocortex) can inhibit both the Lizard and the Mammalian Brain…
This is evolution’s design, which allows us to regulate ANY impulse. We are NOT powerless! But when you try to “love yourself thin”, “nurture your inner wounded child”, and/or “figure out what’s eating you” the moment you experience a craving, what you’re actually doing is relinquishing tens of millions of years of control evolution has provided your Neocortex with and just allowing the Lizard brain to take over.
Loving the Lizard brain (your Inner Pig) at the moment of impulse MINIMIZES your ability to control it!
Instead, cultivate a sense of distaste for it so you can get those extra microseconds you need to wake up and make the right decisions.
But beyond our neuroanatomy, we are all facing an overwhelming, perfect storm of socio-economic forces from which we need to set ourselves squarely apart. What’s required is for us to become fed up and angry, NOT lovingly complacent.
To place this in context I’d like to briefly review a set of very powerful studies done by scientific experimenters Peter Milner and James Olds in the late 1950s. Although these experiments would clearly not be ethical from an animal rights perspective today (or perhaps even when they WERE done), they do nevertheless illustrate a critical point: Mammals will engage in severe self-neglect in order to obtain artificial stimulation of their neurological pleasure centers.
Here’s what was done…
The experimenters implanted electrodes in the pleasure centers of the brain in a group of rats… then connected those electrodes to a button the rats could press to activate it.
The results were dramatic. The rats would press the button thousands of times per hour to self-stimulate. They preferred self-stimulation to food and water (even when they were hungry and thirsty)…
Male rats would ignore a female in heat in order to keep self-stimulating. They would also cross shock-grids on the floor, enduring significant pain, to get to their lever.
Female rats would abandon their nursing pups in order to press the lever.
Some rats did nothing but press the lever thousands of times per hour for an entire day. And the researchers had to forcefully unhook these rats from the apparatus in order to stop them from starving themselves!
Studies in humans have borne out similar results. (Moan and Heath)
What these studies tell us is it’s entirely possible to use artificial means to hijack our survival drive against our best interests.
Which brings me to reason #2 we need to tackle our food problems with a much more aggressive approach…
In my not-so-humble opinion Big Food uses artificial means to hijack OUR survival drives for profit. The rats felt they couldn’t live without their pleasure buttons and willingly neglected their nutritional needs (and everything else which is traditionally important to a rat) to keep pressing them. Similarly, people in our society feel they can’t live without the “pleasure buttons” provided by industrial food’s bags, boxes, and containers… and will fight to keep pressing these buttons at the dire expense of their health needs.
The economic force of Big Food has trumped nutrition and hijacked our survival drive.
Then, of course, Big Advertising spends billions to convince us these food-like-substances are irresistible (and even good for us). Did you know there are 5,000+ food messages beamed at us via TV, Radio, and the internet every year but hardly ANY of them are for fruit and vegetables?…
Oh, and lest you think you’re immune because advertising “doesn’t work on” you, here’s a very disturbing fact: Advertising works BETTER on people who think they’re immune because their sales resistance is down! (It’s a little evil when you stop to think about it)
That’s force #3… Big Advertising.
Then, the Addiction Treatment Industry (force #4) tells us we’re “powerless” over our addictions, we’ve got a chronic, progressive, mysterious disease against which there is often no human defense, and the best we can every hope for is to abstain one day at a time. This message is readily absorbed by our culture to the point many of us believe we CAN’T give up our pleasure buttons even if we want to!
Big Food puts as much starch, sugar, oil, sodium, fat, excitotoxins, and other chemical stimulants into a small space as they legally can…
Then they package it up to APPEAR healthy and irresistible…
Big Advertising makes us believe it…
Big Addiction Treatment says we’re powerless to resist…
And we walk around thinking we’re just supposed to love ourselves more when the urge hits!
Is it any wonder we’ve got a worldwide obesity epidemic on our hands?
But there’s very good news…
You CAN set yourself apart from all this with a simple set of techniques. You only need to learn to recognize your Inner Pig’s voice when it Squeals (or your Inner Junkyard Dog’s voice when it Whines and Whimpers, etc.)… and then summarily ignore it, while ensuring you’re getting more than enough healthy nutrition elsewhere.
FAIR WARNING BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER:
I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT YOUR “INNER PIG” THROUGHOUT THIS WHOLE BOOK: How to capture and cage and dominate it. It’s my strong experience that people develop MORE self-esteem and self-love when they find themselves finally able to control their eating behavior and accomplish their goals. The Pig metaphor is the best one I’ve found for at least half the people with whom I’ve worked.
IF ALL MY “INNER PIG” TALK IS GOING TO BOTHER YOU, PLEASE STOP READING RIGHT NOW! OTHERWISE YOU’RE ONLY GOING TO BECOME ANGRY AND GIVE ME BAD REVIEWS, ETC.
But if you’re intrigued and open minded…
And you CAN see the value in aggressively separating your human self from your lizard brain in your own mind…
And if the Pig metaphor DOES bother you, you promise to just adjust the language and call it something else…
Then please read on, because this very well could be the thing that works for you after all these years of struggling!
(If you’re still reading I’ll assume we do NOT have a problem so this is the last time I’ll “apologize” for using Pig language, OK?)
HOW TO HEAR THE PIG’S SQUEALS
To truly dominate the Pig we need to distinguish its Squeals from our own rational hunger. You’ll need to make a concrete Food Plan with your own specific Food Rules (even JUST ONE rule to get started)… and then definitively commit.
The Pig hates rules and will do its very best to destroy the integrity of any you may set. This is why you must take 100% ownership and responsibility. It’s also why every rule—and your Food Plan as a whole—must be set with 100% clarity. Otherwise, the Pig can use “fuzzy lines” and “diets you’re just trying out for a while” to mercilessly assail your integrity and confidence.
You simply must…
Create your own Food Plan
You’ll need to thoroughly embrace your own Food Plan, comprised solely of your own Food Rules. Why yours and not some diet guru’s, nutritionist’s, and/or weight loss doctor’s? Because after you’re five years old nobody can follow you around making sure you eat right, that’s why.
Of course, you can and should get expert advice.
By all means, read health books, and work with experts you trust to inform your thinking. But if you’re reading this book, odds are you’ve already done so. In fact, I’d be willing to bet my left kidney—and I’m rather fond of that one—you’ve got a pretty good idea of what a well-balanced, nourishing, and reasonable diet looks like.
It’d work too, if you’d only stick to it!
So let’s skip all the “Mama said eat your vegetables” stuff and cut right to the “stick to it” part…
If you’re finally going to stick to a plan, you’ll need to OWN it — 100%.
After all, whose hands are going to grab the car keys, start the engine, drive to the market, put the food in the cart, take out the money, give it to the cashier, put the bags in the trunk, bring them inside, put them away, choose the meals, prepare them, get out the fork, stick it in, pick it up to your lips and put it in your mouth?
Not your doctor’s, nutritionist’s, diet guru’s, or therapist’s hands, that’s for sure! And it’s a good thing, too, because for all their well-meaning advice and expertise, none of these people could follow you around 24 hours a day, even if they wanted to do so.
The ONLY way you’re ever going to succeed is if you accept 100% responsibility for every bite and swallow. You see, “trying out” professional diet plans is a type of dependency which sets the Pig up to retake control like this:
“Must’ve been a bad diet plan that nutritionist, doctor, or diet-guru recommended. You’ll have to talk to them about it. Or maybe we need to find someone else to follow. Oh well, in the meantime we might as well just Binge. Yummy!!!” — Sincerely, Your Pig
So, this one’s up to you. You’re completely and utterly responsible — 100%, not 99.999%. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Get it?
Breathe for a moment here and listen for your Pig’s inevitable Squeal:
“Wait just a minute here! This book itself is a diet book too, isn’t it? After all Glenn’s just another guy trying to make a buck with weight-loss advice. So go ahead, try it out for a while. Sooner or later you’ll cheat like you always do, and then I’ll be free to Binge again. Why wait? Let’s do it NOW! Yippee!!!” – Sincerely, Your Pig
What a Pig. Cage the Pig!
How to own your Food Plan 100%
This might seem obvious but…
The best way to own your Food Plan is to write it down.
Every single Food rule… and the Plan as a whole.
That means, if 10 people were to review your plan and watch how you ate all day long, they’d unanimously agree whether you were on it or off it. Not 9 of them. ALL of them.
However, your Food Plan is a very private matter. So this “would 10 people agree” test is only a thought experiment to help YOU judge whether you’ve articulated it clearly and precisely.
The reason you want to spell out your plan with enough precision that 10 people could agree is because ambiguity is the Pig’s best friend…
Ambiguity is a yellow light, not a red one…
And the Pig will go 100 miles per hour from a quarter mile away to speed through a yellow light. You can count on it, every time.
When the specifics are laid out in incontrovertible detail, however, you convert fuzzy yellow lights into red, and it becomes impossible for the Pig to run the light without getting caught—because you’ll immediately recognize any thought suggesting you run the light as Pig Squeal (fat thinking)…
…which you can promptly ignore — not argue or debate with, not console, not attend to in any way…
There’s NO use trying to reason with The Pig. It doesn’t care for your well-being. All it wants is to Binge, and it will twist around every last bit of information and attention you provide in order to persuade you to feed it. Therefore, we starve the Pig of information and attention at every turn.
If you simply ignore the Pig, the red lights will hold forever.
Because YOU are the only one who can put your foot on the gas and run the lights — no matter how much the Pig may protest or try to convince you otherwise.
The only danger is in not recognizing Pig’s Squeal for what it is. The only danger is thinking the Pig is you. That’s why we’re such sticklers for a precisely defined plan.
You do NOT have to follow anyone else’s guidelines for writing up your Food Plan. Do it in whatever manner suits you best.
After all, it’s your Plan. And as long as it’s 100% unambiguous, clear, and nutritionally sound, it will suffice.
In a moment, I’ll provide a simple set of guidelines for constructing your Food Plan. However, I must first warn you, your Pig will Squeal louder in response to this part of the book than any other. Just continue to ignore its objections and remember four important things:
(1) Even though we’ll be talking about how to use “Never” and “Always” kinds of rules to provide clarity, these are NOT required elements of this program—you can construct healthy and effective Food Plans entirely without them
(2) The goal is to create the LEAST severe Food Plan which still protects you from previously troublesome food behaviors. Only you can know how to comprise this. But the purpose of the plan is to give you an unshakable sense of confidence, not turn you into a “Food Nazi”…
(3) Even though we’ll push any semblance of a doubt in our ability to keep to your Food Plan out of our minds so we can “pedal up the hill” with 100% confidence, we do have a plan for gently forgiving ourselves and quickly resuming course if mistakes are made.
(4) You don’t have to create the whole Food Plan at once. In fact, most people do better by creating just ONE Food Rule to address their single most troublesome trigger food and/or food behavior… with NO concern about losing weight. Only then—after playing the Never Binge Again™ game successfully for a few weeks to a few months and reclaiming their sense of hope, enthusiasm, and power!—do they venture forth into a full Food Plan with a multitude of rules. (And, generally speaking, only then do they also begin to adjust these rules to include weight loss as a goal. Stop binging and gaining weight first. Get control. Reclaim your power. Lose weight later.)
With this framework in mind, let’s talk about:
A Simple Set of Guidelines for Constructing a Food Plan
As long as your Food Plan is easy to remember, unambiguous, and nutritionally complete you can make it work. Here are some simple categories of Food Rules you may wish to consider:
NEVERS: What foods, drinks, and behaviors will you never indulge in again as long as you live?
ALWAYS: What will you always do regarding food, drink, and food behaviors? (For example “I always eat six servings of fruit and vegetables each calendar day” or “I always write down what I may potentially eat the next day before I go to bed to force myself to think through any difficult spots.”)
UNRESTRICTED: What foods, drinks, and food behaviors will you permit yourself to have without restriction?
CONDITIONALS: What foods, drinks, and behaviors will you permit only at certain times, in certain amounts, and/or restricted by other conditions?(Specify these in exquisite detail so there’s no ambiguity about when the light is red vs. green. Avoid yellow lights because in the Pig’s way of thinking, yellow = bright green.)
There are a lot of different variables involved in constructing a Food Plan, so it’s somewhat more difficult to quit Bingeing than to stop abusing drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol. With the latter you can just quit. But with food, you’ve got to keep eating something.
The Pig will try to defeat you with this fact. A good Food Plan eliminates the possibility.
Once you’re armed with a crystal clear plan, you’ll quickly catch on to your Pig’s handful of sneaky strategies, no matter how long you’ve previously been fooled. Therefore, we’re going to spend considerable time illustrating how to adopt Nevers, Always, Unrestricteds, and Conditionals, and make them stick.
Let’s start with NEVER.
Never is the simplest and clearest red light of all. Creating even one Never is a great way to learn how to hear the Pig’s Squeals because it clearly draws the line between your food vs. Pig Slop. Setting even one Never is how you begin your new life.
“OK, OK. If you’re going to insist on doing something to slow down for a while, how about we just quit Bingeing one day at a time? I could definitely live with that. But whatever you do just don’t say NEVER!” – Sincerely, Your Pig
HOW TO NEVER DO SOMETHING (ANYTHING) AGAIN
NEVER is a word you won’t hear much in our culture when it comes to food, alcohol, drugs, or any other pleasurable substance. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the most powerful words for taking permanent control over the Pig.
If you can’t say you’ll NEVER do something again (or never engage in a particular food behavior again), the Pig knows it’s only a matter of time until it gains the upper hand. If we define a “Binge” as engaging in any eating behavior which contradicts your Food Plan, then at very minimum we must be able to say we will NEVER Binge again.
So we will carefully define a livable and acceptable Food Plan and then NEVER break it again!
If you think about it, it’s very odd how unwilling we’ve become to say NEVER when it comes to things which have caused so much misery in our lives. There are many behaviors we expect people never to engage in. So why not add one more when you have so much to gain?
We expect responsible members of society to NEVER kill, rape, or steal…
We expect people with life threatening allergies to avoid certain substances for the rest of their lives (for example, there are some people who simply can’t eat peanuts… EVER)…
We expect people to NEVER act on their sexual impulses in public…
And married persons are supposed to confine their romantic and sexual adventures to each other. We even have a legal contract — the marriage license — which formalizes this understanding.
In fact, we’ve all learned to NEVER do many things just to get through everyday life:
Never put your hand on a hot stove or in the electric socket
Never threaten a political official with bodily harm
Never grab a knife on the sharp end
And some of our ‘Nevers’ are so strongly ingrained we don’t even realize they’re learned behaviors. For example:
Never pass gas at the table when dining with others
Never grab a total stranger and kiss them on the lips
Never sit at the teacher’s desk in school
Never take off your shoes and socks in church
Never kick a policeman in the tushy
By the time most children are 10 years old they’ve naturally learned all of these things — and if they can do it, so can you. Adding one more ‘Never’ is child’s play, no matter how much short-term pleasure one must sacrifice, and no matter what your Pig says!
“Are you really going to let this guy tell us to NEVER eat something again? C’mon, have a spine!!” – Sincerely, Your Fat Thinking Pig
IMPORTANT: Despite what your Pig may say, nobody is telling you what to do. In fact, that’s the whole point.
Until now you’ve allowed the Pig to impose its will as if you were its slave. The information in this section gives YOU the power to make permanent decisions without the Pig’s pernicious influence. The moment you put even one Never in your Food Rules, you’ve begun to cage the Pig!
Always is Never’s best friend. Defining some things you will ALWAYS do — and acting on these commitments — will give you even more confidence in your ability to cage the Pig.
Yes ALWAYS — you know, as in every day for the rest of your life.
Your ‘Always’ list can include general self-care in addition to food specific behaviors. For example, maybe you always start the day with a glass of water. Or maybe you always shower in the evening to help you get to sleep without extra food. Maybe you always meditate, exercise, or make fresh vegetable juice.
Maybe you always eat an apple before lunch…
Or maybe you don’t always do anything.
Whatever you put here, just remember “always” and “never” are sacred vows. They become something the Pig can’t assail, no matter how hard it tries, because the motives behind any Squeal suggesting an exception will be recognized immediately.
But as soon as you declare an intention which interferes with the Pig’s yummy Binges, it will begin trying hard to defeat you. That’s its job. You see, the Pig genuinely believes it will die without its precious stuff. But you will prevail as long as you remember the Pig Squeals are not your own thinking.
For example, suppose you always drink 16 ounces of purified water when you wake up in the morning. Always! As soon as you declare this rule, your Pig may say something like:
“You can’t say ALWAYS! How could you ever know that? One morning you’ll wake up and forget. Or maybe you just won’t feel like it. Some mornings you simply won’t have the time. Then you’ll have broken your silly vow. These ridiculous rules obviously don’t matter since you can’t possibly stick with them. We might as well just go BINGE!” —Sincerely, Your Pig
To prevail, you need only dismiss this as Pig Squeal.
Don’t argue with the Pig.
Don’t try to win a rational debate.
You don’t need to, because the Pig is powerless to do anything without your consent. If the Pig could act on its own behalf it would immediately do so without asking. The very fact it talks at all proves its only hope is to convince you with its lies.
All that’s necessary is to ignore it.
Notwithstanding this, let’s dispute its points one by one, just to show you how ridiculous the Pig’s arguments can be:
“You can’t possibly mean ‘Always’. Nobody can ever know what they’re always going to do!”
This is the Pig’s first attempt to pull the wool over your eyes. It says “You can’t always do anything!” What a negative, confidence-destroying message.
Would you ever tell a young child: “Listen little Bobby, there’s NO hope of remembering to brush your teeth, tie your shoes, and get dressed all by yourself every day. Just get that idea out of your head. You might as well just give up and accept you’ll be a dependent little child the rest of your life… no matter what the big boys do.”
Of course you wouldn’t! Then why let the Pig talk to you that way?
The truth is there are many, many things people ALWAYS do daily…
They turn off their alarm
Roll out of bed
Pee in the toilet
Brush their teeth
You can add one more ALWAYS anytime you want!
Let’s go on…
“One morning you’ll wake up and forget. And then you’ll have broken your silly vow.”
The Pig wants you to plan to forget your vow. But the very nature of a vow is a plan to remember. Which is more constructive? Which is more likely to improve your life?
The answer is obvious. So why would anyone ever make a plan to forget when we, as human beings, have the ability to plan to remember? People don’t do that. Pigs do!
Any doubt you have about your ability to ALWAYS do something is 100% driven by the Pig’s desire to have you break your vow. It doesn’t care what impact this has on your confidence, self-esteem, health, or loved ones. The Pig is an anarchist and will try to destroy any structure which interferes with its Binges — at the expense of all your goals and aspirations. It has only contempt for your higher plans. Which is why we owe it nothing but contempt in return.
The truth is there are many things we’re perfectly capable of remembering to do every single day. For example, taking care of our children.
“Sorry little Sarah, I’m afraid I won’t be giving you anything to eat or drink today. And you’ll just have to stay up all night because Daddy can’t possibly remember to put you to bed either” — How your Pig would take care of a small child
We also drive our cars home every day and park them in a safe spot – instead of the lawn or the neighbor’s rose garden – even though the latter might be more convenient. We eat and/or drink enough to sustain us through one more day. And we put ourselves to bed every night somewhere at least reasonably safe and comfortable (as opposed to lying down outside in our front yards without a tent or sleeping bag)
“These rules are just silly… obviously they don’t matter at all since you can’t possibly stick with them.”
See how the Pig attempts to undermine even your simplest effort at positive, healthy change? It doesn’t care if you die of dehydration. It must subvert your confidence and impulse control or else it won’t get any more Pig Slop (ever). Knowing this, it’s clear we can’t ever take it seriously.
“You might as well just let me BINGE!”
The Pig’s true nature comes out at last. The Binge is all it was after all along.
But just for argument’s sake, suppose you DID break your plan to always drink 16 ounces of purified water every morning. Does it naturally follow you should go out and buy several bags of Doritos, a box of donuts, a pound of chocolate bars… and go to town on them all at once?
Of course not. If you forget to brush your teeth one morning, are you obligated to pick up a hammer and bang them all out? It’s ridiculous.
Pig Squeal mayseemrational on its surface, but it never is.(Never —as in never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER!)
The Pig can appear very appealing at first because of its ability to leverage a vulnerability in your survival drive. But when you hold its Squeal up to the light of day it NEVER makes any sense.
Just ignore Pig Squeal when you hear it. Period, end of story.
Some people find it helpful to list out those things they can eat and/or drink in unlimited quantities without concern. Others just designate the ‘Unrestricted’ category as being everything that is not specifically listed on their restricted list.
Usually the ‘Unrestricted’ category is comprised of healthy “go to” foods you feel good about eating. For example, perhaps you want to allow as many leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, green tea, beans, berries, clean water, etc., as you desire.
Or maybe you feel safer with NEVER and CONDITIONAL rules for everything… and prefer not to leave anything unrestricted. It’s completely up to you!
However you handle your ‘Unconditional’ section, just be sure you remember the Pig’s favorite con:
“We simply MUST cheat this one time only or else we will promptly starve to death!” — Sincerely, Your Pig
Regardless of how you construct your ‘Unrestricted’ category you must always ensure there is enough leeway in your overall Food Plan so you’ll have enough to eat. Otherwise the Pig’s Squeals start to sound more alluring — and you must always be able to dismiss them outright.
Humans evolved during times of intermittent famine. Our bodies are set up to go for long periods without eating. It takes a minimum of several weeks without food for most people to starve to death. What are the odds you’re going to die if you skip a meal? Slim to none!
There’s NEVER a good reason to Binge.
The Pig is NOT trying to take care of you by suggesting you’ll starve if you don’t make an exception to your Food Plan. Its purpose is NOT to nourish your body but to destroy your Plan so it can go on an all-out Food Orgy.
Cage the Pig and keep it there!
There are some foods and drinks that might work for you only in certain situations, at certain times, or when accompanying certain behaviors.
Maybe you only allow yourself sports drinks after a certain amount of exercise on a given calendar day.
Maybe you get to have a certain treasured meal only when dining out with friends, but no more than twice a week.
Maybe it’s that you only eat chocolate on Saturdays.
Or maybe you just eat pretzels on days when you take your son or daughter to a major league baseball game.
The point of the ‘Conditional’ category is to acknowledge certain foods, drinks, and food behaviors are only troublesome when left unregulated — or only in certain situations.
The limit on the conditions you impose only stems from your own imagination and experience. I’m not necessarily suggesting any of the examples above are good or bad. But I will leave you with one caution: Avoid letting your ‘Conditional’ section become too complex. It’s very difficult to remember complex rules when you’re hungry, so the simpler the better.
Keep going over your conditions until they’re expressed in the simplest possible language.
Fewer, clearer rules tend to work best.
For some people this is just a sentence or two, for others it’s a whole page. Still others will have NO food or drink as ‘Conditional’ whatsoever.
The point is to go through the exercise and think through which foods, drinks, and food behaviors you don’t need to give up entirely, but which still require some degree of control. It can also help articulate in writing your rationale for each of these conditions to ensure the Pig is not sneaking in some Squeal.
Last, if you find you’re repeatedly struggling to find the right condition for a particular food, drink, or behavior, the odds are you’d do better putting it into the ‘Never’ section. (This paragraph can save you years of painful struggle so you might want to re-read it)
There you have it.
Never, Always, Unrestricted, and Conditional.
Four beautifully simple categories to create your own personal, self-contained legal system for governing your eating from here on.
Go ahead and create a first draft of your Food Plan. Or—for many if not the majority of people—just ONE Food Rule to begin with which covers your single worst trigger and/or eating behavior. But before you finalize it, let me expose you to some of the most violent Squeals you’re likely to hear once you’ve set it down in black and white.
See, your Pig absolutely hates the idea of a crystal clear Food Plan. It wants you to believe such a Plan will restrict your freedom. But exactly the opposite is true. Just as most great jazz players practice their scales for years before they can freely express their creative genius, so too will you need structure around food to truly enjoy not only your food, but ALL the freedom life has to offer:
THE QUESTION IS, WHO WILL BE FREE, YOU OR THE PIG?
The question isn’t whether you’ll have freedom of choice vs becoming enslaved to a Food Plan. The question is, will you choose to live your life as a slave to the Pig’s impulses and demands, or put the animal in its cage so you can exercise your human freedom?
Besides, you already have a Food Plan whether you write it down or not! It’s impossible to function each day without making decisions about what you’ll never, always, sometimes, and conditionally eat. The problem is, most people make these decisions unconsciously.
For example, everyone always stops overeating at a certain point, even if that point is unhealthy. They might eat a whole pizza, but not five. And they certainly don’t eat the box the pizza came in.
Almost everyone also always has their favorite treats too—consumed in just the right combinations and amounts.
And there are at least some things most people avoid entirely for reasons of taste, convenience, or health.
Since you already DO have a Food Plan, I’m only suggesting you take control. Make it conscious and evaluate it with the full force of your intellect. Write the darn thing down!
WARNING – DON’T CREATE AN OVERLY RESTRICTIVE FOOD PLAN
Some people confuse my emphasis on clarity, focus, and written, unbreakable Food Rules with the kind of restriction which can stimulate bulimia and/or anorexia. This is not my intention at all.
There are two ways in which restrictive eating may lead to problem, and it’s important you consider them both before creating your Food Plan…
The first is restricting the amount of calories you consume to such a degree you become constantly hungry. When you’re constantly hungry, the Pig Squeals become more and more powerful and many people eventually break down and Binge. That’s why I STRONGLY ADVISE AGAINST severely restricting your calorie intake. It’s better to first create rules that are easy to follow. This allows you to eliminate the binging and overeating behavior. Then, once you’re confident in your ability to control the pig, you can “go on a diet” and eliminate some of your caloric intake – but again – the best way to do this is in moderation.
The second way restrictive eating can be harmful is if you have previously been diagnosed with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, and/or if you’ve used restrictive eating in the past as a tool to avoid eating altogether and/or to avoid eating nutritionally important types of foods.
If you’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder and/or have used restrictive eating before to drastically reduce your caloric intake beyond safe levels, then you should be very careful about creating eating rules. It does not mean that you can’t use the Never Binge Again method, because after all, everyone needs a Food Plan. However in this case I advise you only create rules with the help of a psychologist/psychiatrist and a dietician so you do not fall into the trap of abusing the food rules as you’ve done in the past.
However… if you are confident in your ability to create a healthy Food Plan which provides your body enough calories and nutrition—and your only real concern is your ability to stick to it—then by all means, please proceed!
Now, I’ve purposefully avoided recommending any particular Food Plan and/or positioning myself as a dietary or nutritional expert because the moment I even hint at telling you what to eat, your Pig will inevitably Squeal “We could NEVER eat like that! You might as well stop right here”
See, your Pig would LOVE to turn this into a big nutritional debate because there’s still a lot of controversy about what constitutes the ideal diet. And the Pig knows that immersing you in this controversy would distract you from the main point, which is permanently committing to a Food Plan of your own design, using your own best thinking.
But now you’re aware of this Pig strategy, so you won’t be vulnerable to it…
FREE STARTER TEMPLATES FOR YOUR PERSONAL FOOD PLAN
Find a great starting point no matter what you personally believe is the healthiest way to eat! The templates are part of the FREE book bonuses available on the website. When you download them you’ll also find a Custom Food Plan Worksheet to take you through the creation of your own plan in much more detail.
Now, believe it or not if you’ve read this far, you’ve actually got enough information in your brain to defeat your fat-thinking-self forever:
The Pig is NOT You. It is a conceptual, animalistic entity which misdirects your survival drive towards food behaviors that do NOT serve your best interests, and causes you to keep changing your mind about your commitments. Unfortunately, due to our anatomy we’re all forced to spend a lifetime with this presence inside. But we can choose to intellectually and emotionally sever it from our own definition of self. In so doing we separate from the onslaught of destructive urges and irrational thinking to which we were previously vulnerable. We can stop behaving against our own best judgment and pursue our goals and aspirations without ongoing sabotage. We will lock the Pig in a cage and dominate it completely, showing it nothing but contempt. Many years of suffering have proven it will dominate us if we do anything else.
To accomplish this, you must take 100% responsibility for defining your own unambiguous Food Plan. You can draw inspiration from various experts and books, but nobody — not even the most renowned diet expert — can follow you around to be sure you comply. For this reason, and because nobody knows how your body reacts as well as you do, the buck absolutely must stop with you. There are free starter templates available on the website.
Define your Food Plan with 100% clarity so you can tell with certainty when you are ON versus OFF it.
A Binge = even one bite and/or swallow outside of your Food Plan.
You will NEVER Binge again.
Pig Squeal (fat thinking) is ANY thought, feeling, or impulse which suggests you may ever even consider the possibility of Bingeing again. Since you (your thin-thinking-self) will NEVER do it — and since there’s just you and the Pig inside your head — anything which even remotely suggests you will do otherwise must be coming from the Pig.
Pig Slop is anything which violates your Food Plan even 0.00001%. Bingeing = putting even the tiniest bit of Pig Slop in your mouth.
Your Pig’s Trough is where its Slop belongs. You never eat out of a Pig’s Trough, so you will never eat Pig Slop again.
From now on when the Pig Squeals for its Slop, you will just ignore it. Only Pigs eat Slop and you are not a Pig, so there’s never any reason to engage or debate the Pig about the idea.
In this way, you may defeat the Pig forever.
Even though the above is all you need to dominate your Pig, it will work hard to sneak Squeals past you in every possible manner. So let’s review some of the most alluring Squeals you’re likely to hear once you resolve to dominate the Pig. For example, your Pig may already be saying something like:
“Glenn says you’ll be weak and vulnerable until you’ve heard all of my best techniques. That means we can keep on Bingeing until you finish this book! Take your time because it’s Yummy!!! Yipppeeeee!!!!” — Sincerely, Your Pig
See what I mean?
What a Pig!
But still, in much the same way prisoners of war can be inoculated against brainwashing by pre-exposing them to the techniques their captors are likely to use, you can benefit from the accumulated wisdom of those who’ve defeated their own Pigs before you.
For this reason — and even though NONE of the Pig’s Squeals ever stand up to the light of reason — we will address and dispel your Pig’s sneakiest Squeals as we progress.
In other words, I’ll prepare you with foreknowledge of the many stupid, stupid ways the Pig will try to trick you.
Not surprisingly, the very first thing your Pig may say after you’ve sworn your sacred oath to your Food Plan is “You’re just being silly now. How will you manage those inevitable, irresistible cravings?”