At about 2pm every day, I hit a slump. I’m a morning person, and no question part of it is simply running low on steam. I’ve put in most of my best, most productive, most creative energies early in the day. By mid-afternoon, though, I’m done, at least for a while. I could use a siesta, a long walk or a snack. If I could handle the caffeine and it wouldn’t trigger a migraine and then keep me up half the night ruminating on all the awkward social exchanges I’d endured earlier in the day, I’d happily take up an afternoon coffee habit.
On weekdays when I’m teaching, I just power through it. Yawn in front of my students, make a joke about how we need to bring naptime back for middle school, put a smile back on my face, and tough it out for last two hours (or more) of my workday.
On weekends, or over the summer, or anytime my schedule allows for it, I will often reach for a snack. I don’t have a problem with snacking. I (mostly) don’t hold onto the fallacious belief that there’s something inherently wrong with having a fourth meal in the day when I need it. But I’m also not entirely convinced that I’m actually hungry each time I experience that 2pm slump. I know that when I’m distracted, totally absorbed into other tasks, I often do just fine not snacking. Which leads me to believe that at least some of the time, it’s not about hunger but about work avoidance, or a need for more sleep, or novelty-seeking. In short, it’s emotional eating.
Again, no shade on emotional eating. It’s a thing most/all of us do and nothing to be ashamed of or to catastrophize. But I recognize that if I can be more consistent in waiting to eat until I’m actually, physically hungry, the closer I am to living that bodybuilder lifestyle I admire and identify with.
Which brings us, finally, to Jeff Nippard’s day of eating, in which there are NO SKILLS for learning to manage these sorts of challenges. It is a view of WHAT a person eats, not WHY. And I don’t mean he eats a casein-rich protein source before bed to optimize and prevent muscle loss overnight. That’s not the kind of why that helps us deal with the real world.
I’m talking about why we eat past satiety every time we visit Mom’s house. I’m talking about why we reach for that third slice of pizza when we know we’re satisfied after two. I’m talking about why we always get popcorn when we go to the movies, or graze while we’re cooking, or insist on making sixteen different things when our friend comes in from out of town in an overblown effort to be a good host. I’m talking about why I eat at 2pm when I’m tired and know I’d feel just as refreshed by getting outside for 15 minutes instead.
Jeff’s video doesn’t teach anyone how to connect with those whys and how to learn new ways of responding to those habit stimuli. It’s fine. You learn to make a tasty-looking chicken burrito. But my guess is that’s not the missing link for most of us trying to reach our physique goals.