Diets are depressing. The very word makes me feel sad, deprived of things desireable, filled with a rebellious fervor to go out and eat somethingâ€”anything. Everything.
MAE is an attitude adjustment, challenging and changing one’s perspective both outwardly and inwardly.
Diets demonize and bless things we eat. They work within a familiarâ€”and for many a comfortableâ€”framework of sin and redemption. The promised land is reached (or at least visited) through privation, guilt and self-flaggelation. And these actions offer us a sense of moral superiority. We look at not eating/eating as demonstrating moral fibre (or moral turpitude).
The dieting activity involves self-recrimination as well as self-congratualation, and frequently involves purchasing materialâ€”books, magazines, programs, special meals, “diet” foods, etc. Becauseâ€”cue in Steve Martin’s paradigm altering realization in The Jerkâ€”“It’s a profit deal!“
No purchase is necessary for Make An Effort. The only requirement is to…you guessed it! To make an effort.
And that effort is real. You have to actually PAY ATTENTION. You have to think about:
Whether you are actually hungry
What does the food you are eating taste like?
When you are no longer hungry
You have to make an effort to eat with intention and enjoyment and only what you really need to fill yourself, so eat slowly and allow your stomach to catch up with your mouth.
So for example, you do not need to eat the entire bag of potato chips. The first one or two are delicious, the rest are a repetitive and compulsive waste. Don’t even go there.
The MAE could be seen as portion control–you will be making an effort to eat less, to enjoy what you are eating more, to avoid very fattening foods.
But you should never deprive yourself. If you want a cookie, or ice-cream or whatever, you need to challenge yourself: Are you being frivolous? Is it anxious eating? Boredom? Already full and just want more? If yes, then make an effort and avoid.
But if it is special, if you are really feeling a bit hollow, or just have a craving, of course help yourself. Just enough, but not more. No penalties, no recrimination, just really savor it, think about it and enjoy it to the fullest.