Sunday, February 27, 2011

Douglas Lisle DVD

I just watched a very good DVD by Douglas Lisle. He wrote the Pleasure Trap. He applies psychology to eating healthy. The first lecture was about the continuum of evil. He's referring to good foods and bad foods here. Grading food, he gives meat an F, dairy a D, processed grains and sugar C, tofu, whole-wheat bread, veggie burgers a B, and whole unprocessed produce an A+. He then says, we're not perfect, but it's good to eat as many of the A foods as you can and only occasionally eating the B and C foods. He spent much of his career counseling on addiction. He says failure is fine, it's part of the process. Don't aim for perfection 100% of the time. If you aim for perfection and then you fail, that sets up weird behaviors, like going on a binge and promising you'll be perfect tomorrow or next week. You want to average a very good score (A on the grading scale) but know that it is a process getting there and that you will dip and know to get back on track when you do--that is the most important part, not aiming for perfection. I'm paraphrasing and surely not distilling this as accurately as he presented.

The second talk is on how personality characteristics determine how easy it is for someone to adopt this healthy eating plan. There are 5 personality characteristics: 1) openness to experience, 2) conscientiousness, 3) extraversion & introversion, 4) agreeableness, and 5) stability. The personality best suited to adopting this healthy eating is 1) not very open , 2) conscientious, 3) introverted, 4) not agreeable, and 5) stable. So for example, those of us who are open to trying new things, well, we might not be satisfied with brown rice and broccoli every day. Conscientiousness is of course helpful in sticking to the plan. Extraverts like to socialize and go out to eat, and it's hard to find healthy food in restaurants. Agreeable people I guess are more easily influenced by our friends and family members prodding us to eat their food and be like them. And stable people are less likely to want to celebrate by eating and drinking, or drown their sorrows by eating and drinking. We can't change these personality characteristics so we just have to be aware of what the vulnerabilities and strengths are when applied to the case of eating healthy.

In my case, I'm 1) open to new experiences, so that is a vulnerability. I am feeling this right now. It was a good thing when I started this because I was open to changing my eating habits and learning a whole new way of cooking. But now I'm ready for something new. So I have to figure out some other area of my life to try out new things in. 2) I'm pretty conscientious so that's an advantage. 3) I'm probably in the middle. I need to socialize and have friends, and I used to struggle with this, but I've modified my social life and don't center it around bars and restaurants. 4) I'm pretty agreeable and I guess that's a disadvantage. But I've learned to deal with that one too, it just took a little longer to stand up to people, in a polite way of course. 5) I think I'm pretty stable, though I do sometimes want to celebrate with food and drown my sorrows with food. I think my biggest vulnerability right now is #1: After embracing this whole-heartedly and learning everything I could, now I've gotten bored with it. I want to try something new.


Carol1one said...

That is so interesting, Barb!

"The personality best suited to adopting this healthy eating is 1) not very open , 2) conscientious, 3) introverted, 4) not agreeable, and 5) stable."

That is exactly me. LOL

At least you know what you're dealing with by being "open". Thanks for sharing this information.

Suz said...

Thanks, Barb, that's really helpful! I can see how dimensions of my personality are helpful and unhelpful for this - and that really gives me some insights, as well as opportunities to develop some coping mechanisms (like, how can I affirm people's intent without needing to please them by eating foods that they, after all, know I prefer not to eat?).

Thank you. And by the way, thanks for the reference on Nonviolent Communication - I will follow up on that.


David / Carla said...

Thanks Barb, very interesting.

Too bad this whole eating thing is so dimensional.


Cindy Marsch said...

Barb, I just wrote a LONG response and don't have the heart to retype all of it after Blogger was "unable to complete your request."

Bottom line: consider using your open creativity to expand your cooking and menu ideas. Visit my idle-lately blog at and use the links in the sidebar to find some of the sites I like, especially "Vegan Epicurean."

Hoping this will go through . . .

Theresa said...

Thank you, Barb....I saw a blurb about this DVD in my email and your comments convinced me to buy it.

Very interesting indeed!
You are in my thought and inspiring me.

kneecap said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Cindy I'm sorry your long response was lost! I wrote another post today and realized I'm just as confused as ever. So I decided just to get on with my life. :)


Kacy said...

This is great info! Thank you for typing it all out for us :)

How can I get my hands on this DVD? Or, some place to watch it online?

kneecap said...

Hi Kacy, I got it off Mcdougall's website:
It costs something like $24.

Total Wellness Mentor said...

I love your blog! I'm also a follower of Dr. Fuhrman's plan for more than 4 years and teach classes on veg nutrition for kids and adults. I like Dr. Fuhrman's Eat for Health bookset better than Eat to Live. I think Eat to Live has created a population of dieters who go on and off his diet. I like that there are 4 phases in Eat for Health because I really think it is okay for someone to sit at Phase 1 or 2 for awhile until they are ready for Phase 3 or 4. It is difficult to live in the real world and be at the Phase 4 all the time. I think it's okay to indulge occasionally and it's easy to get back on track if you are not having the "I'm on a diet" mentality.

kneecap said...

Hi TWM (Total Wellnes Mentor),

You're blog is great too! I love collards and want to try out some of your wraps. I notice a lot of your posts show raw food. Are you mostly raw? You make some really good points about ETL and EFH. I've fallen into some of those all-or-nothing behaviors too since adopting ETL. I feel so much better when I eat very clean that I want to do it 100%. But then when I stray, I get that mentality of wanting to pig out and get back on track "tomorrow". I was thinking lately about Fuhrman's "life plan" in his ETL book and that allows up to 10% of your calories to be less healthy foods. Well, that is a lot!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoy your blog!

kneecap said...

thanks anon!