Doughnuts Might Be The Key To Nutrition Success

Yes you read that title correctly! Doughnuts might just be the key to nutrition success. Just hang with me, I won’t take too long to show you what I mean.

In last week’s blog, we discussed how folks that have compassion for themselves during “negative” situations tend to be more successful in achieving their goals, dreams, and being consistent in healthier habits in most of life.

Self-compassion includes three main components: (click here to get caught up on last week’s blog)

-Mindfulness (recognizing what happened and taking note of how you feel or how it made you feel)
-Common humanity (understanding this stuff probably happens to everyone and that you are part of a greater picture or purpose)
-Self-kindness (being nice to yourself)

I work with men and women everyday in our BFP Next Level Accountability Program where folks struggle to recover from a day of eating that isn’t great for their goals. Or as most would call it “I fell off the wagon and got run over by the wagon as the wheels fell off”. This is usually followed by at times, almost a depression of sorts and feeling of completely losing everything they have been working towards.

Today I’m going to use doughnuts to show you how to not only “get back on the wagon” but also how to repair the wagon so that next you fall off that thing the wheels will in fact stay on!

Introducing: The self-compassion study

A group of female undergraduate students was divided into two groups. Each woman in each group was given a doughnut, a comfy couch, and a TV to watch.


The women were told that the study was designed to measure how TV watching affects eating habits. (But that’s not really what the study was about. Sneaky, sneaky.) Of course, they were all asked to eat their doughnut.

After eating the doughnut, women from Group A were told to be compassionate with themselves. Researchers kindly explained the following:

“Several people have told us they felt bad about eating doughnuts in this study, so we hope you won’t be hard on yourself. Everyone eats unhealthily sometimes, and everyone in this study eats this stuff, so we really don’t think there’s any reason to beat yourself up about it.”

The women from Group B were told nothing. Researchers just asked them to eat the doughnut.

Afterwards, women from Group B who also happened to be on a diet reported feeling more shame and guilt after eating the doughnut. (Remember, they weren’t given permission to be self-compassionate.)

Now here’s the interesting part… they were later asked to participate in a “taste testing” session with as much candy as they wanted. (Seriously, these researchers are sadistic.)

The women from Group B who happened to be on a diet ate more candy than the women from Group B who weren’t even on a diet.

(Yep, all that shame, guilt, and negative self-talk lead to overeating later in the day.)

On the other hand, the women from Group A who were also on a diet were less upset after eating their doughnut. They also ate only small amounts of the candy in the taste-test.

What does this mean? The women who were given a chance to be compassionate with themselves were able to tap into mindfulness, common humanity, and self-kindness.

Why is that important?

Because the brain is made of plastic……. Just kidding but we do know that the brain can be altered based on intentional routines that lead to habits. Something becoming a habit is pretty much an example of of changing the brain (if you read the last blog, you know how lazy our brain is and how much it loves to default to former patterns and habits).

This means that even if you have fallen off the wagon in the past and had the wheels come off, we can rebuild that wagon stronger and make it so that next time you fall off, the wheels stay on! Because, the brain is plastic (mold-able or changeable). The wheels staying on is your new, awesome, goal crushing habit.

How do you do it?

For now, let’s practice and then we will bring it into life. Think of something you don’t like about yourself or something you would usually criticize yourself for. Or maybe a situation where you would use self-criticism as a tool in hopes of stopping that behavior.

Got it? Now, write it down. It can be anything. Laziness, grazing on junk food throughout the day when you are at home and bored, overweight, moody, whatever you want. Consider how it makes you feel. The pain that self-criticism causes and write it down. It doesn’t have to be a novel but just write it down. If possible, do this right after you eat a meal.

Next Step:

Now, consider what a wise person might tell you in that same situation. What would your mentor say? What would your best friend say? What would your mother or father tell you in that situation? Someone that loves you and cares about you. Something that lets you know the behavior wasn’t great but encourages you to take a different route next time.

What is the most supportive message based on your health, nutrition, and fitness goals that you could hear or speak right now? Think about it…….. Say it out loud. If you can’t speak it, think it slowly and deliberately.

From now on, use this advice every time you feel like being self-critical.

-Notice the pain

-Name the pain

-Replace it with the compassion you just identified

Notice, Name, Replace

Some of this might sound crazy or even a bit corny, but it’s legit. I can tell you this from personal experience. Being a business owner in a competitive field, and feeling the pressure to maintain what I feel is an example that should be set for my BFP Family, it’s easy to fill my head with criticism and let that hold me down. As I continue to study the brain and how we can literally make the choice to live a better life based on our actions, this stuff is far from corny or crazy. It’s the real deal and it’s simple.

So, remember, NOTICE, NAME, and REPLACE!!

If you’d like some help with practicing this skill, check out our 28 Day Jumpstart Program by clicking here! We only accept 5 people at a time for this program and we’ve only got 3 spots left for the next 2 weeks!

Your Friend,

Coach Joe Rouse MS, USAW1, ACSM-CEP