A Visual Guide to Cognitive Biases

Don’t have much time this morning, but I thought I’d share this:

Cognitive Biases – A Visual Study Guide

I wish that losing weight was just about what you eat.

It isn’t.

It is also about what you think.

When you cave and give in to temptation, it was some thought that allowed you to do this, that bargained for that piece of cake, that told you it would be OK.

But it wasn’t.

My own problem is ‘bargaining’. My mind tells me things like this:

“You’ve been very good – now you should reward yourself.”

“You can cheat now and then and not gain weight – why not build this in to your diet?”

“It’s a special occasion – enjoy.”

“Life is too short NOT to have a RingDing now and then.”

When I’m tired or stressed these thoughts can catch me with my guard down – and afterword I say to myself: what was I thinking?!?

Understanding how we trick ourselves can go a long way to prevent these lapses, and the above presentation is an encyclopedia of how we trick ourselves – and is a great introduction to the weight-loss mind game.

If you are the type of person who thinks: ‘It’s my thought, so it must be correct”, read this and see just how many ways our minds can lead us astray.

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6 thoughts on “A Visual Guide to Cognitive Biases

  1. YES!!! Totally agree. And it always catches you with your guard down. You are absolutely right about that. I just imagine that its an addict in my head and its similar to giving into snorting a line of coke for a cocaine addict. Maybe a bit extreme but its starting to work. Have not eaten bad food in ages.

  2. What do you think of the concept that deciding you were NEVER going to go off the lifestyle/diet for an occasion, never were going to cheat, never were going to eat a whole piece of cake is setting yourself up for failure?

    I was reading another journal (sugar free sheila) and she has a day off, or a cheat day if you will, about once every 3 or 4 weeks. She doesn’t binge, but eats what she wants till she’s satisfied. She has kept her weight off for like 9 years or something. I”m not at all trying to be argumentative, I’ve just started Atkins induction about 7 days ago, am doing pretty well, and am trying to figure out how this figures in long term for me. I’m the kind of person who COULD designate a day off, and go right back on plan after. In fact, I’m wondering if looking forward to my (say) once a month OFF day would help me stay 100% on the plan the rest of the time.

    Or, do you think it’s just a slippery slope of defeat?

    • You know, Angela, it works for a lot of people. Let’s face it: a big, gooey, sweet forbidden treat – that is comfort food, that reminds us of home, of family, of good times in the past, has a spot in our hearts that it would be real hard to eradicate.

      If you know yourself – and know that you can pull of cheats – go for it – but be aware that you might find yourself falling down the slippery slope and need to rethink your plan.

      Some people know they can’t do it and have no choice but to become total zealots. That works for them.

      I think the real trick is finding the ‘sweet spot’ (pun maybe intended) for your own personality. If you’re in this for the long haul, it’s hard to say: ‘I won’t even eat cake at my daughter’s wedding’ or some such thing like this. If you can deal with the gray areas and don’t need to be absolutist about things – a real personal thing that is part of our core personalities – I say do it.

      Experiment. See if it does work for you. Even if it slows weight loss, there’s an old joke I’ve posted here before:

      Patient: Doctor – how do I live to be 100?
      Doctor: Give up smoking, chasing women, drinking, and rich foods.
      Patient: Will I live to be 100 if I do that?
      Doctor: No, but it will feel like it.

      Being miserable – or self-righteous – is a Helluva way to go through life. Experiment. Find what works for you – and live life how you see fit.

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