Diet by Overindulgence

01.20.2011 | 9:51 am

A quick post today, because things are heating up here, work-wise. Plus, I chose to go on a run on the beach this morning instead of doing a lot of writing. Wrong choice? I would hope you would agree that it’s not.

So. I would like to put forward, for discussion, an idea I’ve been thinking about pretty often while I’ve been here at Cocoa Beach, Florida for a week-long business meeting.

The idea is this: Diet by Overindulgence. Specifically, I’m beginning to think that a good way to kick a bad food habit is to associate it with something bad, and a good way to associate any kind of food with something bad is to eat so much of it that you get sick.

My first experience with this idea was when I visited the Fazer chocolate factory in Helsinki, Finland. During that tour, visitors are allowed — encouraged even — to sample as much of the chocolate as they like. No charge.

By the time I left, I hated chocolate, and had made a solemn promise to myself that I would never eat chocolate again.

And you know, I actually kept that promise. For a couple of months, anyway.

Now, at this conference, I’m considering a similar vow, but for food in general. This is because we are eating constantly.

Big breakfast at a restaurant. Brunch snacks brought into the conference room. An endlessly-deep bowl of candy bars sitting on the conference table (Twix, Kit Kat, Snickers, Reese’s, Hershey’s plain — all my favorites). Lunch brought in — sandwiches, chips, and soda. A big dinner at a nice restaurant (Thai the first night, Cuban the second, Italian last night).

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so heavily. I am all restauranted out. I’m genuinely sick of rich food and am looking forward to getting back home and having nothing but salad and egg whites for the rest of my life.

So, is there any merit to this idea? Start a diet by eating so heavily that you are repulsed by the stuff you’re normally attracted to?

Personally, I think it’s a great idea, and that there’s no possible way it could backfire.


  1. Comment by rsmullen | 01.20.2011 | 9:57 am

    Aren’t you simply suggesting the see food diet? Which is to eat all of the food you see.

  2. Comment by axel in texas | 01.20.2011 | 10:10 am

    it is worth a try. I see no downside, even if it fails. Get me another dessert.

  3. Comment by zach | 01.20.2011 | 10:14 am

    This would so work. You could even create a pill that made you bloated on top of the normal food coma feeling. Nothing like eating a ton then gasing up and cursing every Keebler Elf you can think of. Something that mimicked the Beer/Wine/Turkey/Stuffing/Gravy feeling of any major holiday evening. Then trying to sleep off the 3000 calory food orgy only to find yourself waking up with your head propped up on a toilet roll pillow, with a bath mat blanket and a strange feeling that you have shamed yourself in new and not so exciting ways. Not that I have ever done this I’m just saying…… it would totally motivate me.

  4. Comment by MojoRider | 01.20.2011 | 10:14 am

    Buuurrrrrpppppp! Aaahhhhh…..

  5. Comment by bikemike | 01.20.2011 | 10:14 am

    do not get in the ocean and then go for a run. i don’t care if they do it on baywatch. your nether regions will fight back with an irritation vengence that will not be pretty(just think,200 miles in crappy riding shorts and no DZNuts).

    a couple of nice restaurants on the pier at cocoa beach. just down from where they used to shoot “I Dream of Jeannie”(not really, but you can tell other people that and they’ll believe you).

  6. Comment by Christa | 01.20.2011 | 10:16 am

    I tried it with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. It didn’t work…or I haven’t eaten enough yet.

  7. Comment by zach in a cubicle | 01.20.2011 | 10:21 am

    That food is immune to this concept… except for Cherry Garcia… eventually cherries get there revenge.

  8. Comment by Geo | 01.20.2011 | 10:21 am

    That plan may work, until you get back and eat nothing but salad and egg whites for a while and get turned off to that.

    Then you turn to such diet-friendly choices like donuts, Cheetos and ice cream.

  9. Comment by dakotagirl | 01.20.2011 | 10:29 am

    Did you go to Ed’s Italian Restaurant? Awesome.

  10. Comment by VT_Rob | 01.20.2011 | 10:30 am

    Haven’t you basically just described the entire period from the day before Thanksgiving until the day after New Year’s?

  11. Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.20.2011 | 10:32 am

    this is exactly how I stopped drinking goldschlager.

  12. Comment by Erin | 01.20.2011 | 10:32 am

    I’ve been trying the Paleo diet for about 6 weeks now. I gotta say, I’ve trimmed down quite a bit and feel great! Anyway, my breakfasts often consist of bacon and cheesy eggs – pretty much every day. It feels so indulgent and fattening that I don’t even feel the need to eat again util the afternoon. More importantly, I’m actually getting a little bit sick of bacon. I KNOW! Can you imagine? I never thought I’d see the day.

    My point is – I think there is some merit to your theory.

    (My bacon/Paleo diet story is much more approriate than the other one I was going to tell, wherein a “bedroom adventure” a boyfriend and I had many years ago lead me to despise chocolate pudding to this day…)

  13. Comment by Alon | 01.20.2011 | 10:40 am

    There’s a show on the BBC called You Are What You Eat, about trying to make people eat better. So they take this really fat, unhealthy Brit and the first thing they do is they pile on a table everything he or she ate over the course of one week. So there’s a plate with 15 donuts, bowls of chips and cookies and candy, pitchers of soda, stacks of pancakes, butter, pizza, you know. And it looks really gross! I’m sure even the healthiest eater would be shocked by their own weekly spread like that, but I think the message is driven home not only by the sheer amount of stuff, but also by how much of it is junk.

  14. Comment by Kent Snelson | 01.20.2011 | 10:40 am

    Man, I sure hope this is purely tongue-in-cheek writing. I’ve had the same thoughts before and that is how I got above 200 lbs. Hell, I dropped 11 for your challenge then gorged through New Years. I felt like crap for about a week, didn’t want to eat lots of food, etc and then it was back. The hunger for fast, fatty calories.

    I’m beating it back down, but slower than last month.

    Oh, and I think there is a Columbia restaurant not too far from there. Amazing Cuban food. ;)

  15. Comment by KanyonKris | 01.20.2011 | 10:43 am

    A plan that good HAS to work.

  16. Comment by Dan | 01.20.2011 | 10:49 am

    I suggest that you just eat half of what is served or order smaller portions. One of my problems is that the more I eat, the more I want to eat. If I just eat a little, I feel better than eating until I am full. Noone said life would be easy!

  17. Comment by Duncan Gray | 01.20.2011 | 10:59 am

    It is an excellent idea and I know how you feel. After a week on a course/conference I go home wanting nothing more than a tomato sandwich. My appetite is usually back after the weekend though :-)

  18. Comment by somerandomguy | 01.20.2011 | 11:02 am

    Some comedian had a plan to drink himself to death — hammer each liquor until he would get nauseated at the very sight of it, then move on to another. He figured at the end, he would be down to creme de menthe.

  19. Comment by s'ville cyclist | 01.20.2011 | 11:12 am

    Let us know how that works out! The negative reinforcement sounds a little like Jerry Lewis’ stop smoking plan – every time you light up Dick Butkus comes from nowhere and punches you in the face.

  20. Comment by katie | 01.20.2011 | 11:15 am

    i think this is a fantastic idea. i will start today, with lasagna. mmm.

  21. Comment by Clydesdale | 01.20.2011 | 11:24 am

    I try that idea on a daily basis. It seems to work really wel…until I get hungry and then I try it again…

  22. Comment by T Foster | 01.20.2011 | 11:26 am

    # Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.20.2011 | 10:32 am
    this is exactly how I stopped drinking goldschlager.

    At least you have learned a valuable lesson!

  23. Comment by marishka | 01.20.2011 | 11:44 am

    Dan said “Noone said life would be easy!

    True, that. No gets out alive!

  24. Comment by Hkeylin | 01.20.2011 | 11:53 am

    I always felt the same whenever traveling on business. I started to make my first stop from the airport a grocery store for some cereal and healthy snacks. I also would try and hit Chipotle for dinner whenever possible.

  25. Comment by Skippy | 01.20.2011 | 12:17 pm

    Sounds lik you have scored more “goodies” so as to run a new “Lose 10lb contest” !
    This time you will achieve your target, regretably i am still stuck at 80kg regardless of the training regime.

  26. Comment by Jeff | 01.20.2011 | 12:23 pm

    “An endlessly-deep bowl of candy bars sitting on the conference table (Twix, Kit Kat, Snickers, Reese’s, Hershey’s plain — all my favorites).”
    …and they wonder why health insurance premiums are so high?

    And just so everyone recognizes I’m a hypocrite: I am now putting the Frazer Chocolate Factory in Helsinki Finland on my list of places to visit before I die.

  27. Comment by Jenn | 01.20.2011 | 1:06 pm

    Let us know how that works out for you. On the six o’clock news, when they come with the jaws of life and a camera crew to remove a wall to get you out of your house.

  28. Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.20.2011 | 1:11 pm

    @T Foster – I can’t even chew cinnaburst gum anymore… anything with that flavor just triggers my gag reflex. It’s the most valuable lesson ever.

  29. Comment by pipebaum | 01.20.2011 | 1:41 pm

    I tried a similar plan with M&Ms.

    No luck.

    There is no limit to how many M&Ms a person can eat and still love them.

  30. Comment by Clydesteve | 01.20.2011 | 1:52 pm

    All you need to compliment this diet is a vomitorium!

  31. Comment by Hunter | 01.20.2011 | 2:13 pm

    Hey bikemike! You ever heard of a triathlon???

  32. Comment by Pedalpink | 01.20.2011 | 2:16 pm

    Comment by NYCCarlos | 01.20.2011 | 10:32 am
    this is exactly how I stopped drinking goldschlager.

    Yes, this worked for me, too. I’ve never had another White Russian.

  33. Comment by Jeff R. | 01.20.2011 | 2:18 pm

    Ride for Reading ( here in Nashville has started an annual mountain bike race (for fun) that consists of 11 miles of single-track with two donut stops throughout the course. For every Krispy Kreme donut you eat, 2 minutes are subtracted from your time. This year I downed what I thought was an impressive 8 donuts. I cringe at the the thought of a donut now…so, yeah Fatty, I’d say your idea works.

    In case you were wondering: 33. The “winner” ate 33 donuts.

  34. Comment by Lucien Brady Price | 01.20.2011 | 2:30 pm

    Fatty, the first problem with your theory is overindulgence. Too much of anything is a bad thing! Your second problem is you are on yet another diet, and they don’t work. What you need is a lifestyle change, and once you have done that you can afford to splurge on occasion.

    Most people eat like crap all the time, then go on and off periods of “dieting” that usually result in and weight fluctuation. What I propose is the opposite, healthy eating all the time with the occasional splurge or cheat meal. Your stomach isn’t the result of one donut, it’s the result of one a day. Maybe your vice isn’t a donut, but everyone has that one “thing” they eat an abundance of.

    I liked the idea of the article by the way, it was fun. I just thought I would give some good advice for those who need it. I lost 80 lbs in 3 years, so I know what it is like to be the fat guy & now the skinny guy.

  35. Comment by a chris | 01.20.2011 | 2:48 pm

    Whoa, I know how you feel. In my experience, the effects are not persistent, but about halfway through a week away on work I feel so crappy I start skipping all the tasty stuff at breakfast and missing out on beer opportunities.

    Except that trip just before I started trying to get pregnant. I did not skip what were perhaps going to be my last beer opportunities in a very long time. I was right.

  36. Comment by AngieG | 01.20.2011 | 2:56 pm

    @NYCarlos, I did the same thing with Tequila about 15 years ago and to this day the smell of Tequila makes me break out in a cold sweat! I’m actually not sure if the cold sweat is from the Tequila or the fuzzy flashbacks involving the “Tequila Incident”. YIKES

    So Fatty, I think your idea is pure and utter brilliance as proven scientifically by several FOF’s.

  37. Comment by Patrick S | 01.20.2011 | 3:45 pm

    Hey Fatty, I’m finally under my pre-Xmas 10lb challenge weight!

  38. Comment by Richard | 01.20.2011 | 4:05 pm

    Peppermint Schnaaps for me…haven’t had it in 30+ years.

  39. Comment by eandjmum | 01.20.2011 | 4:14 pm

    You are one funny dude! Thanks for the laugh “Fatty” aka Elden the elegant :-)

  40. Comment by Kim | 01.20.2011 | 5:05 pm

    At this rate. You’re never getting on that Superfly. I think you should just build it.

  41. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 01.20.2011 | 6:18 pm

    I travel a lot and basically organize feasts so that’s a double challenge – it’s totally a mind game – do not eat that cake just because it’s sitting there. I lose that battle all the time.

  42. Comment by Dan in Sac | 01.20.2011 | 6:23 pm

    @ Erin 10:32

    Why don’t you just try us on the pudding story? haha

  43. Comment by Linda | 01.20.2011 | 6:29 pm

    when I was little my mom tried this diet once where everything (bad) she ate she had to chew first then spit it out and look at it. yuck

  44. Comment by diamondjim | 01.20.2011 | 10:17 pm

    Go and watch ‘La Grande Bouffe’. You can cure yourself permanently of bad habits.

  45. Comment by Erin | 01.20.2011 | 10:23 pm

    Nothing like a good behavioral paradigm. It’s really the satiation paradigm at its finest! Sounds like you’re just doing good psychology!

  46. Comment by roan | 01.20.2011 | 11:45 pm

    Many decades while on a canoe trip on a very winding river(73 miles by river was 17 by road). The temp was near 100 with humidity to match we rewarded ourselves with a ‘Nilla’ wafer at the apex of each bend. Haven’t touched one since (40 yrs). Thus the amount of food does not matter if the task/reward system is associated with pain, over and over and over.

  47. Comment by Jenn | 01.21.2011 | 1:24 am

    I dreamed about candy bars last night. Pretty sure that’s on you, Fatty.

  48. Comment by Trigeeks | 01.21.2011 | 6:02 am

    Fatty, I’m in week two of a month long business meeting in DC. You described my exact situation right down to the twix bars in the bowl on the conference room table. I think your plan will work to alleviate my guilt entirely and I’m all in for the next two weeks. I ended up gaining weight during your lose 10 lbs by Christmas, I’m sure I’ll lose weight on your new diet plan.

    Thank you. You are an inspiration.

  49. Comment by Tom | 01.21.2011 | 7:25 am

    Trip to Seattle for work next week. Sales conference sounds exactly like what you describe. My plan = monk like discipline. I won’t let myself eat any of that food. I’m already up 10 from my summer weight.

  50. Comment by Anne | 01.21.2011 | 7:35 am

    Fatty – you crack me up :)

    Personally I do not think your diet will work, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    Your body would love the extra calories to put on stock for “bad days.” When you start dieting your body starts to think that you are on a hungerstrike or something and would do anything to slow down your metabolism, so that you do not burn that many calories, unless you force yourself to exercise as well.

    I am sure you will succeed in your weightloss, but can you hold it and not put on all the weight and some more!? According to studies not many succeed in doing so. Sorry for this not so good news.

  51. Comment by Mike Roadie | 01.21.2011 | 9:46 am

    Enjoy the beach…’s about the only good thing there is in Cocoa.

    I was in the snow in Indy this week. Besides, Cocoa is about 4 hours from me.

  52. Comment by Greg B | 01.21.2011 | 9:46 am

    I wish there was a “like” button or a “thumbs up / thumbs down” for the comments! I’m used to facebook fatty :)

    Maybe we could have a voting system too like reddit.

    Nah, I’m kidding but seriously a “like” button. C’mon, it doesn’t even have to do anything. Users need immediate gratification that their internet input is being utilized..or utilizable.

  53. Comment by daddystyle | 01.21.2011 | 10:02 am

    I tend to binge eat in general the month of Dec. Gain 10 lbs and be so full and overloaded at New Years that I can’t wait to get back on my bike, eat healthy and feel good. You don’t know what your missing if you don’t let yourself go once in a while.

    Works for me.

  54. Comment by egonlou | 01.21.2011 | 10:36 am

    Did that with sushi last night. Not feeling so good today.

  55. Comment by Rob L | 01.21.2011 | 2:23 pm

    HOpe you get to go play in the Surf down there. I spent a many day skipping college at 1st light and Lori Wilson park body boarding and surfing. Didn’t get to go over while I was at home over christmas break.

    As for the eating to over indulgence I suppose it could happen with one food, but it’s more on the liquid diet aspect when I get tired of beer for a while. Or how I burned out on wine after a 3-4 year kick of mostly drinking wines.

  56. Comment by Obstinate Roadie | 01.21.2011 | 3:32 pm

    Good luck with that new diet. Sounds like a winner.

  57. Comment by Fat Cathy | 01.21.2011 | 3:45 pm

    Been there done that. Didn’t work. Just made it easier to pork out on the next business trip. Sorry to be a killjoy.

    @AngieG – Yup, me and Tequila have the same relationship. Never occurred to me that the gag reflex and the cold sweats could be due to the ‘Tequila Incident’ and not the tequila. Ack.

  58. Comment by MrDaveyGie | 01.21.2011 | 8:34 pm

    Steve Martin had a good diet plan. You can eat everything you want under one condtion.
    You have to eat everything surrounded my naked fat totally obese people. :-) You just might lose your appetite. :-)

  59. Comment by Trail Dog #2 | 01.21.2011 | 8:35 pm

    Being an experienced business traveler, I’ve fallen into the ‘eating on the road’ routine. Boy, does the breakfast bar, full lunch followed by heavy dinner at 7PM+ (with hand crafted beers) sound so familiar. I’ve crested the hill of 50 years clinging to the thought that I’m 30 something. Right! Take it from an older veteran business traveler, be disciplined. Eat in moderation, lots of vegetables, lean meat and fresh fruits. Then you’ll have some room for those hand crafted beers!

  60. Comment by Carter | 01.21.2011 | 8:55 pm

    I’ll take the lot

  61. Comment by Barbara B | 01.22.2011 | 1:52 am

    …pay attention to Trail Dog #2, he is soooooo right.

  62. Comment by Dave | 01.22.2011 | 3:52 pm

    I think that I have started this diet about every Monday, right after a weekend of too much food. For five days I eat soup sald and very little else, then of course I go hog wild on the weekends. I am licky if I get two 50 mile rides in. FYI, the diet’s not working

  63. Comment by Dobovedo | 01.23.2011 | 1:23 am

    Fatty, if this were even a remotely plausible idea, Taco Bell would cease to exist. And I don’t see them going out of business any time soon.

  64. Comment by Hat | 01.23.2011 | 3:37 pm

    I had a similar idea when I worked in the ice cream plant. Sadly, it doesn’t work.

  65. Comment by The Former 550+ Pounds Cyclist | 01.24.2011 | 12:33 am

    No matter what the subject, Elden you always bring a smile to my face.

  66. Comment by Bee T | 01.30.2011 | 4:12 pm

    Actually, I do this with Cadbury Cream Eggs. I only allow myself to eat them during Lent (it’s like giving up stuff for Lent, backwards). So unlimited CC eggs during Lent, and I usually get tired of it within the first week, so go from three a day to one a day to one a week within 7-10 days.

    I usually drop all my winter weight during Lent. It has everything to do with CC Eggs and their magic centers of skinny, and nothing to do with me also making myself do a Lent challenge, like walk two miles with a dog through rough terrain every day, or do yoga every day, or bike 10 miles every day for Lent…

  67. Comment by Keflex | 03.3.2011 | 10:50 am

    I found your site from wikipedia and read a few of your other blog posts.They are cool. Pls continue this great work. Later on other fantastic American rock acts such as Lynrd Skynrd, The Eagles, America, the Allman Brothers, and the Doobie Brothers would come on the scene and shake up the world with their string of hit songs.


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