The journaling effect

The week before, my friend and nutritionist Rodolfo Peres asked me to send him my diet journal.

Not surprisingly, the day I created the journal spreadsheet and started recording data, my eating habits changed dramatically and very soon I noticed I had lost weight. I did not measure it, but probably mostly fat tissue – the squat belt doesn’t lie. I still think it’s the best adipometer for athletes. Squat belt on the third hole, legs thicker – that can only mean less useless tissue, right?

What was my diet before the journal? I haven’t the foggiest idea. Will never have.

So I came across this very interesting article about the phenomenon called by the authors “self DDD” or self-deception, self-delusion and self-denial. The three concepts describe a harmful and potentially pathological behavior of rationalizing an explanation for a certain negative behavior or occurrence against all empirical evidence (Lawley & Tompkins 2004).

The examples offered by the authors are serious: women who fail to accept that their partner’s violent behavior hasn’t, isn’t and will probably not change; people who fail to acknowledge that they are not actually following a diet plan and that this is the reason they are not losing weight; people who go bankrupt and yet explain it away as bad luck, unable to face their own bad financial management.

I guess Rodolfo must have such cases in his clinic almost every day. Or not, I’m not sure: maybe the people who end up at a nutritionist office are the ones who have escaped the grip of self-DDD.

In this short very auto-critical note, I argue in favor of a fourth category: the conscious cheater. That’s me. Plus a number of other athletes I know. It’s the end of the year, Holiday season, we kindly put our super-ego to sleep and go wildly partying with the rest of our brain (or mind?), especially the most primitive, pleasure seeking areas.

Perhaps we did have a plan not to extend our super-ego hibernation for so long. We made this decision, most probably, during a pre-contest period, when we realized we would be much better off with a more appropriate body composition to work with.

People like us are much easier to handle: just rub our cheating faces on hard data and we immediately fix our behavior.

Isn’t it so?



Self-Deception, Self- Delusion and Self-Denial 

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