About a year ago, my routine on some days had me drive past a bunch of restaurants close to noon. I was following an intermittent fasting eating pattern, and generally only started eating around 4PM. Some days, even though I wasn’t hungry at all, I would be extremely tempted to pick up something for lunch. (For me, simply being hungry is different from wanting to eat.) Once I got home, though, I knew I could stick to my fast, since I’d be a hassle to go back out.
I have a lot of trouble with distractibility and impulsiveness (thanks, ADHD). It gets worse when I’m not well rested. I have to remind myself to stick to my (insufficiently Beeminded) goals a lot when I’m sleep deprived. This means I should wrap up this post pretty quickly, because it’s 4AM right now.
Before I started being more skeptical about ego depletion, I thought driving past all those restaurants might contribute to getting sidetracked later in the day or the evening, especially on tough days.
Sometimes anxieties would begin to pop up as I was driving past all these restaurants along the lines of, “Oh no, am I depleting my willpower reserves? Crap, crap, crap…” And anxiety is also worse on days where I’m inadequately rested.
I guess I never really questioned ego depletion because it seemed to go along with the idea that parts of you can get tired out. Not recovered = slower reaction time, can’t deadlift as much, less likely to make good decisions. I didn’t believe it because it was analogous, but I was less likely to question it because it fit with a general story.
But now I notice that there have been days where it felt like I experienced a willpower snowball–facing small but difficult things early on seemed to give me the courage to persevere even as things got worse. (This is also just another story, though.)
In the end, I was able to stick to my fast almost every day. Part of the reason was that I could weigh in for my Beeminder goal at a much lower weight if I waited until right before 4PM feeding time. I saved money, lost fat, and got to spend less time eating and cooking. But I thought I might be sacrificing something more than lunch–my remaining willpower for the day. But my worries about ego depletion seem pretty embarrassing now.