Mon 17 Aug 2015
I did the following WOW last Friday with the UE team (Ed, Sherry and Joe) delivering payback after I supervised their workouts. It went like this:
Nautilus Pullover with SS Retrofits
SuperSlow Systems Pulldown (the one with the fall-off cam)
MedX Chest Press
MedX Compound Row with SS fall-off cam
SuperSlow Systems Neck Flex/Extension
SuperSlow Systems Leg Press
I have been doing a lot of ER work lately, so I really felt this workout…during and after. I have enjoyed the comments from everyone on the last blog post. However, I must admit that I cringe a little bit when the topic turns towards diet. Everyone has a fairly impassioned opinion, and things can get snarky pretty quickly. We all come to these opinions through a thinking pathway that is more error-prone…the pathway of induction. This is as opposed to the pathway that is a little less error prone, which is deduction. In deduction we take general observations to make specific conclusions. Thus if something is true for a particular class of things, it tends to be true for all members of that class. Deduction is therefore the basis of the scientific method where we go from a general theory to specific observations. Induction is just the opposite. Inductive reasoning takes specific observations and makes generalized conclusions from it. Inductive reasoning has a place in the scientific method, but only for generating hypotheses or theories. Inductive reasoning allows for a conclusion to be false. For example “James is a grandfather. James is bald. Therefore, all grandfathers are bald.” Where we get into senseless arguments over diet is where we think we have developed our beliefs deductively, when we have in fact generated the beliefs through a process of induction; we find something that works for us personally, and then we try to generalize our experience to be valid for everyone. There are definitely elements that a facts derived through deduction, such as a calorie deficit will result in fat loss. However, there are many inductive pathways to this deductively derived fact.
Regardless of the ways in which we tend to get things wrong, there is one way that I think every person that entered into the discussion of diet got it right, and that is everyone used Metacognition. Ayn Rand (love her or hate her) made a very astute observation that the human animal does not have an automatic consciousness. Humans actually have to expend mental energy to become conscious and turn on the thinking mechanism. Once thinking is set into motion, it can exist on two levels. The lower level is simple cognition…you have turned on your consciousness and you commence thinking. The higher level of cognition involves keeping active the mental energy you used to turn on your thinking to continue to monitor your thought processes. You are literally thinking about your thinking. It is this process that is called metacognition. It is the type of thinking that Thomas referred to in the last comment thread when he admonished “mindfulness” in our eating habits. More than anything it is this lack of mindfulness that is responsible for our current obesity epidemic. There are lots of theories about industrial food substances, serving sizes, sugar, fat, viral infections and what not, but I think the real issue is that metacognition has fallen out of fashion over the past 40-50 years. To put it bluntly, America has become lazy, stupid and fat…and it’s not OK. From my childhood I distinctly remember people in line at a local cafeteria ordering a meat patty, some cottage cheese, a salad and some cubes of Jell-O for dessert, fully aware that what they really wanted was the all-you-can-eat special. But they were continually in a metacognitive state where they weighed the hierarchy of their values and decided that nothing tasted as good as thin felt. This type of mindfulness was so prevalent in the 60′s and 70′s that almost every restaurant had a “diet plate” on their menu, and typically every adult in the dining party would order it.
I have had the distinct pleasure of sitting down to a meal with many of the posters on this blog. Guys like John Tatore, Skyler Tanner, and David Landau. I distinctly remember sitting in a hotel restaurant and watching David Landau order from the bar. He was preparing for a contest and was already very lean. I was amazed when he was delivered a big, loaded hamburger with a large pile of french fries. I watched him in disbelief as he consumed…..about 1/3rd of what was on his plate. Certainly not my dietary approach, but an amazing display of metacognition and self-restraint. Part of my metacognition is the realization that I have a very hard time resisting that kind of food reward, and instead I select a dietary pattern that does not tease my weaker tendencies. John Tatore and I seem to be on similar pages, as our choices seemed almost identical the last time we saw each other in Cleveland. Skyler is more of a foodie. He is very scientific and precise about his choices, but I mean to tell ya’…if he’s gonna put it in his mouth, he makes sure that it is going to taste damn good. For Skyler, food is art.
You see, the bottom line is this: I really don’t give a shit what you eat or the type of dietary approach you select. What I do think is important (and admirable) is that you all seem to do it with metacognition. You are thinking about your thinking. You are asking disconcerting questions. Where you are weak, you take measures to decrease your cognitive load to make correct choices easier (such as patterned eating, low food reward and intermittent fasting). You make every effort to expose your errors and your weaknesses so that you can correct and avoid them in the future. It is this kind of mindfulness that makes me proud to have an affiliation with the posters on this blog. It works for diet. It works exercise. It works for life.
Post your WOW’s and your thoughts.