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Lesson Learned from French Fries



I’m a French Fry Snob . . . well, that actually implies that I might meet a fry I didn’t like.  Ha!

I think French Fry Fanatic is more like it (although, steak fries? Really?)


I was recently at a conference and it was dinner break time. I took myself to a reliable place with the best shoestring fries AND sweet potato fries on the planet.


Mercifully, you can order a 50/50 split, but the portion size is enormous and it was just me.   I know myself around fries, so I asked the nice waiter to bring me half a portion (happily willing to pay full price). He understood completely (ensuring his large tip) and disappeared. When he returned he had a perfectly appropriate small portion of fries (half regular and half sweet potato).  So excited.


And do you know what my brain did?


It said, and I kid you not, “the portion, it’s so small!”




Crazy, right?


I asked for it, I got precisely what I asked for, it was PLENTY of fries and still my brain kicked out the thought, “there aren’t enough fries”. Sigh.


Now, luckily, I’ve had experience with this brain of mine. So I didn’t flag down the waiter and ask him to bring me the rest of the fries. I didn’t sulk or count the fries.


I giggled to myself and started in.


I’ve learned to ignore the crazy things I think.


We can get caught up thinking that whatever pops into our brains must be important and actionable.  It’s not.


Our brain thinks. That’s its job. To create thoughts.

Just like our lungs breathe and our hearts beat, our brains think.


The trick is to choose the thoughts that serve us and ignore the rest.


This ability is what sets us apart from other animals. Humans can override our automatic thinking.

The more primitive parts of our brain want to keep us safe—so it convinces us to stay put, don’t take risks, remain comfortable at all times.


But that’s not the best way to get things done and it certainly isn’t any way to make a change.


If you’re trying something new, like eating differently to lose or maintain weight, then you’re going to have to override some pretty habitual thoughts.


Thoughts like:

You deserve it

It’s been a long, hard day

Oh, there’s the Starbuck’s, let’s stop in

I’ll start tomorrow

This is too hard


Just because you think it doesn’t make it true.

And it certainly doesn’t mean you should follow through on the thought.


It just means you have some thought work to do.


The good news is there’s a simple, straightforward way to do this work: Meditate*.


Meditating gives you direct practice in observing your thoughts so you can evaluate the sanity of each.


With practice, you get a little space to see a thought, note if it will serve your current objective and accept or reject it.


That moment makes all the difference.


It’s the difference between staying stuck and moving toward your goals.


For me, the other day, it meant I got to enjoy fries and maintain my weight. Yay!



* www.HeadSpace.com is a great place to start if you want to try meditation for yourself.



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