The pleasure trap

The pleasure trap - a simple, obvious and easy to understand principle

Join me in an experiment

I have done fasting before and it is by far the best, easiest, healthiest and efficient  way to lose weight.  I speak from experience - decades of it.

I lost a lot of weight by fasting but, I can't remember why I stopped - some special occasion no doubt, but I have found it impossible to get back on track....

...... until yesterday when I came across a Tedx talk on youtube

This is the video - A talk by Douglas Lisle - wow!:

The pleasure trap is the reason why you find it impossible to keep up healthy eating

You watched it?  I hope so because if you didn't the rest of this page might not make any sense.

But yes, wow!  How simple and downright obvious when you think about it.

Of course that's why we can't eat healthily

I feel like everything is falling into place, and I can feel it in my bones that this information is not only going to get me back on track, but will also lead to a better brighter and healthier future.

Follow me as I put this new found wisdom into practise and do an experiment.

Day 1, Saturday 29th February 2020

So, yesterday I went on Youtube and the above video was recommended to me.  I was intrigued because I really did want to know the answer to why it is so difficult to eat properly. 

I have yoyo dieted for some decades now.  My latest diet - a fasting diet as been the most susccessful, but having come off it for a short while I just cant seem to be able to get going on it for more than a few days. I must admit that this is the first time that I have come off a diet and put very little weight back on again so thats good, but I need to lose a lot more and it's just not happening.

With most Tedx talks that I've seen, they look promising but don't really tell you a great deal in the end.  This video however  is an eye opener and the answer is so simple and it has given me a massive boost of incentive to get back on a fasting diet

I could explain it here, but there really is no point when Douglas Lisle can explain it much better - please do watch it.

He says that you just need to reset your pleasure levels with food and the best way is water

Wow, simple.  

I decided to put it into practise straight away, so I went to bed last night with the certainty that I was going to fast today.

Fasting is not as difficult as you would think.....

 …..once you've set you're mind on it, and with a little trick to help.

Remember that the times you will feel most hungry are the times that you normally would eat - your body is expecting food at particular times of the day and in no uncertain terms, your brain will tell you so.  When these times come up, you just need to sit it out, occupy yourself with something active (gosh that's a contradiction in terms isn't it, but you know what I mean) and the hunger will pass.

I decided that I would fast for a whole day and start thinking now about what to eat tomorrow.

He said in the video that the answer to getting out of the pleasure trap is plain water, but I've been drinking herbal tea and the occasional very weak black coffee - I mean very weak - a sort of pale brown coloured coffee that looks more like tea.

I was out working in the garden, and with it being early spring, the first nettles were coming up and the answer came to me.  You see according to Mr Lisle, the answer to escaping from the pleasure trap is to reset your pleasure levels so that instead of crap food (my own words) giving the normal amount of pleasure, healthy natural foods should give you that same pleasure (YOU REALLY REALLY MUST WATCH THE VIDEO TO SEE THE GRAPH AND UNDERSTAND THIS PROPERLY)

young spring nettles

So I spotted these nettles and remembered that this it the best time to eat them, when they are not tough and stringy and at the same time I was trying to fathom what exactly is normal healthy food.

Of course!  If I were having to go out and forage for myself, the most natural thing would be for me to forage for the easiest things first, and that would be things I could just pick without having to hunt, lay traps, climb, crack open or dig.  So that would be anything growing above ground that I can easily take hold of in my hand and put in my mouth.

So I'm thinking fruit and leaves and anything else that grows above ground.  Why should I dig if I can first pluck and gather?

So that's what I'm going to eat tomorrow to start me back on healthy food.

picking nettles

And I began by picking and washing some young spring nettles - not that nettles are particularly necessary.  I just thought they would be a kind of groovy hippy addition to the soup yet to come

washing nettles

Day 2, Sunday 1st March 2020

Woke up with that lovely light feeling you feel after a first day of dieting.  My kidneys have been working overtime getting rid of all the waste products - I presume of fat burn.  This is a worry for me personally as I have passed a kidney stone twice before and when I think about it, both times have been when I have dieted.

So the first big thing to think about to day is to drink plenty plenty

Number 2 is to make a big pan of soup and to eat that today with fruits and celery sticks and such like to nibble on.

The third thing is to think about how this is going to progress

When food like this has the same enticement as a cream cake with jam, you know something is going right

Yesterday I did gardening on an empty stomach. Today I did a bit of housework and went for a swim.  Its safe to say that I probably went about 40 hours without eating, so faced with vegetable soup and a bit of raw veg and fresh fruit at 2pm - it was like nectar.


So, really I am making this up as I go along.  The idea being to reset pleasure level and going back to day one I decided that the most natural things to eat are the things that are - naturally, not in the supermarket - the easiest to obtain.  So leaves fruits and mushrooms really, and this is how it went:

First I searched the house and garden for food that can be easily harvested, which by my estimation is the most likely stuff that would naturally be eaten above any other food that is harder to obtain. OK I know, its not wild stuff that I could actually easily forage for, its cultivated - I'm just using this as a guide)

Then I washed and chopped and added a big heap of water...…..

 ….. and made the soup I was telling you about earlier

I also nibbled away at celery, sweet peppers and apples

Doesn't it all sound sad and boring and unappetising!  Believe me, no it doesn't not after a 40 hour fast.

I also made another pan of soup ready for tomorrow.  This time I added a tin of tomatoes

By teatime I was hankering after a piece of hot buttered toast to dip in the soup, but I managed to refrain because I knew that it would ruin all my hard work

This evening I went to my usual Sunday folk club night out.  Got home and my brain was telling me to have my usual hot buttered toast before bed - a naughty habit, but I said no. Apparently, so I've heard (I hear a lot of daft things but can never remember where or how) if you say no within 3 seconds of a thought popping into your head to be naughty and cheat, then you are very unlikely to do it.

Tomorrow at work will be a real test.  I am taking 2 jars of soup and plenty of nibbly fruit and veggies

The next thing to do is try to work out in my head what order I think I should add other foods as I go along

Day 3, Monday 2nd March 2020

Doing OK

Feeling good

Work was fine despite there being cake and salami on the staffroom table for everyone to help themselves to.  I didn't touch any of it!

So today I had the watery soup.  This evening I started on the watery soup with tomatoes and will have them for lunch tomorrow with the usual other nibbles of apple celery sweet pepper cucumber etc

Today I also allowed myself a little tinned fruit as a treat

Let that sink in - a little tinned fruit with the added sugar well rinsed off and with nothing else like custard or cream - it felt like a treat!.  I think I am well on my way to escaping the pleasure trap.  But not altogether - I still craved hot buttered toast to have with my soup.

Oh I weighed about 3 pounds lighter this morning - not sure exactly because I forgot to weigh myself before I started.

So anyway I've made another soup (why soup? I really don't know - just easy I suppose, plus it means I will get plenty of liquids.  But maybe Ill start having plates of cooked veg too) this time with a little added potato and carrot and I'll .  I also had a boiled egg.  I decided I needed some protein and apart from pulses, well eggs are a lot easier to fetch and prepare than animals.

Next to add to my intake is pulses - beans and peas have to be podded and sometimes dried) and sweetcorn I think

A little thought that came to me today....

 …… is that it is now quite obvious what is one of the reasons there is so much more obesity about these days - we've got it all back to front.

naturally speaking, if we had to go out and hunt and forage we would eat the easiest things to obtain more than any other.  So leaves and fruit mostly, starchy roots secondly.  Nuts need to be cracked, animals hunted, so probably less of that. 

Milk? who is going to find an animal with suckling young, kill the young, keep the mother and milk her every day? Then not just drink the milk but make it into cheese butter and yoghurt.  What a lot of messing about that all is.  I think milk would be pretty low on the list of natural things to eat. Cereal?  Think of all that goes into collecting those tiny grains.  then grinding them then making bread or pasta - well pasta!  what huge effort that would be to make every day.  No, cereal - pretty low on the list, but not as low as cheese.

And oil too, not only would you have to harvest and shell all those little seeds, but then squish them until the oil comes out.  Nah, we wouldn't be eating oil much at all if we had to do it ourselves.

But just take a look at our shops and supermarkets.  What are the easiest thing to eat?  - the ready made stuff.  What are the most difficult things to eat? Fresh fruit and veg, because mostly it needs preparing.  yep all back to front.  No wonder most of us are caught in the pleasure trap

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The pleasure trap - Douglas Lisle

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