Admit it. You’ve been tempted before.
And it was just there, sitting on the counter.
How could I say no?
I’ve never had cake for breakfast before and thought YOLO. So I made a life experiment from it and went all in. As I’m sure you can imagine, I learned a lot of things from this that I can now pass on to you.
First off, I didn’t eat just cake for breakfast – after all, I’m not twelve. Here’s what I ate as part of a balanced breakfast:
There’s a lot of big things to take away from eating cake for breakfast. One of which is summed up by this diagram:
I was possibly the only person in the U.S. – maybe even the world – who had cake for breakfast today! An incredible achievement.
But on top of feeling like a unique snowflake, here’s what other lessons I learned you can apply to improve your own life.
1. Having cake in the morning is delicious.
I went into this life experiment with the hypothesis: “I think having cake in the morning, like in the afternoon or evening, will be delicious.” As it turned out, it was.
You might expect that afterward I fell into the depths of despair and guilt for this, but no! If I had eaten nothing but cake, and maybe ate cake for breakfast multiple days in a row, then probably.
You also might be wondering if cake is the right choice for your breakfast. You might be looking in your cupboard and fridge and have lots of choices staring you back. Neuroscience has shown that having too many choices can paralyze our decision making, and suddenly no choice is better than thirty like in this famous study about buying jams.
So to help you make your next choice for breakfast, I whipped up a flowchart for you:
2. Cake isn’t that filling.
I thought by adding a cake supplement to my cereal and banana I would have been quite full, but it turns out, no. An hour later I’m hungry again.
When you supplement your cake with breakfast, first make sure it’s not some cheap, nasty cake with high fructose corn syrup, as that can block your I’m Full Receptors (which is the technical term) from telling your brain “I’m full.”
So while I wasn’t eating gross high fructose corn syrup, cake is a terrible source of protein.
Next time I eat cake for breakfast, I’ll be sure to have an egg or two on the side to make sure I’m not hungry before lunch time.
We often have guilty pleasures in life. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in these from time to time (unless your guilty pleasure is something like theft or punching kittens). But if indulging in it is going to
- make you feel bad
- get in the way of what you really want
- will harm your relationships,
Or if you’re doing it because you feel bad before hand, don’t do it! Choose to do something else, like talk to a friend.
3. There’s a time and place to pick your battles.
Studies have shown our willpower is a limited resource. Each time we resist something we actually use up a bit of it, making it harder to resist things later.
Since starting to work from home, I have a lot more distractions than I used to. Right now I’m writing on my laptop. I have a desktop computer at my desk, but there’s a problem with it: It actually works properly, and is loaded with video games.
My laptop is old and barely works anymore. While it can connect to the internet, it’s slow, and if I open too many pages (a really high number of them, like… three), it runs the risk of locking up for a few minutes.
By working on it, it helps limit my distractions. If I sit down at my desk, unless I go in super focused, it’s too easy to get lost on the internet, and even easier to open up whatever game I’m currently hooked on (Heroes of the Storm, for anyone out there that plays PC games).
My laptop is what Ramit Sethi calls a barrier, and he divides them into two types: active and passive. My laptop’s slow speed and limited capabilities is a helpful barrier that gets in my way of other distractions.
If I wanted to not eat the cake and resist it, I could’ve put it in the cupboard or fridge. “Out of sight, out of mind.” The cake was instead easily accessible. And this website is about helping people break through their limits, and I wasn’t going to let the limit of a balanced breakfast get in my way.
It was the last piece, so now I won’t be tempted by the cake later in the day or tomorrow, and I’ll have more willpower to stay away from all the stuff that would otherwise distract me.
4. Eating cake creates win/win situations.
We should always look to create win/win situations for ourselves, rather than win/lose or lose/lose. Stephen Covey does a great job of covering this in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.” If you can’t make it win/win, “no deal” is always an option that’s on the table.
By eating the cake for breakfast, I’ve created a win/win situation at home, because I’ve also done my girlfriend a huge favor – now she won’t be tempted to eat it, either.
5. This is why I’m not a health and wellness coach.
Sometimes you gotta talk the talk and walk the walk. While I’m happy to help a client improve their diet, I do it by asking what a healthy diet means for them and where they can find out if they don’t know.
If someone asked me for advice about eating healthy? I am not qualified to answer that. I grew up poor, and my diet often consisted of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles.
If you’re eating this, you’re probably not worried about the trans fat.
I’m not an expert on good eating, and I’m not an expert on your life, either. Which is why in coaching, I don’t give out advice.
When I bring up life coaching with people, one of the major concerns that comes up is that a life coach is going to tell them what to do and it won’t be a good fit for them.
Life coaching isn’t like that – at least, good life coaching isn’t. I’ve heard a few horror stories know of clients bringing a problem to their coach and being told to “just get over it.” Hearing stuff like this blows my mind at how awful it is.
Good coaches ask the client good questions so they can find their own solutions, and to shed light on a client’s blindspots.
6. I’ve never learned how to eat really healthy.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and instant ramen?
I ate that stuff as a kid, and still do. I haven’t learned to eat healthy, instead looking back, I’ve learned to eat easily and quickly.
Cereal, a banana, and cake? That’s easy and quick.
Macaroni and cheese? Spaghetti? Quesadillas? They’re all easy and only take a few minutes.
I’ve never learned to cook, and don’t know any recipes. This isn’t to say my diet is all bad – I enjoy fruit, salads, and put spinach on almost everything – but again, that’s easy.
I’ve never learned to cook, and don’t know any healthy recipes.
Last night, I had a client who was getting back on track after being sick for a few weeks. I asked how her diet was looking to check in.
It made me start thinking how I could improve my diet. She uses the Nutribullet to make herself healthy smoothies, which frankly sounds great.
I have zero interest in become a great chef, but looking at it, eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. I didn’t do well in home ec as a kid, but I can learn a couple of recipes and spend a few more minutes preparing my food. I don’t have to give up the things I enjoy – like cake. Also cheese. – I can just limit it instead, and I can find tools like the Nutribullet to make quick and easy things that are a lot healthier than my go-to choices.
I’m in good health, and I would like it stay that way. If I eat better my body will thank me later with more energy. Life is awesome, but if you don’t have the energy to enjoy it you’re not going to get the most out of it.
What one small change can you make in your life that’ll give you more energy? Post it in the comments below.