Even the least mathematically knowledgeable person can grasp the concept of net gain and net loss when it relates to their own money. If you purchase a new phone for $900 and sell it for $1,100, your net gain is $200. But if the market is competitive and you have to sell it for $800, your net loss is $100. Naturally you want to prevent net loss, so you’re going to try to find buyers willing to pay the higher price, or you’ll be more conscious when initially purchasing the phone.
It’s pretty cut and dry, right? Well, what if I told you health works in much the same way? Each bite you take is either a net gain, or a net loss for your health. It’s a concept introduced in Tom Rath’s book, Eat Move Sleep.
Each bite you take is a small but important choice
Rath presents the theory that the choices you make can sometimes do more harm that good, like choosing to have two cookies instead of stopping at one. Perhaps you choose a loaded baked potato instead of the steamed broccoli as your side…that’s a net loss. Oppositely, if you opt for water over beer or soda, it is a net gain.
While this is often on the forefront of the mind of someone dieting, it becomes all too easy to stop paying attention to the net gain/loss in day to day life. But that lack of consciousness can lead to net loss that can’t be regained.
Be conscious about every bite
Ask yourself if what you are about to eat is a net gain or a net loss. Basically: is this good for me, or not? Does this food nourish me, or do I just like the taste of it? When you’ve built a habit of asking this question, you become more and more conscious of the choices you’re making. It steadily becomes simpler and more habitual to modify your choices from unhealthy to healthy foods.
There are a few good and bad ingredients in most meals, all you need is do a little calculation
You will have bad days and weak points. That’s ok. It’s part of being human. No matter how hard you try, you are bound to eat some foods that are not ideal when it comes to long term health and overall net gain. But by asking yourself the question, “does this contribute to net gain or net loss?” you’ll have a healthier diet overall.
No pain, no gain
Sometimes it will be hard to think about your long-term health when you’re only looking at one bite of food, or one individual meal. But the harder you try to get into this habit, the easier it will be for you overall. This body is the only one you have, so it’s important to nourish it and treat it with respect. Healthier food choices lead to a healthier, happier, longer life. And isn’t that what we all want?
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