Spotting the Loophole


I’m a big fan of Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. Her insights are so spot on, that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she could read minds.  Earlier this year Gretchen wrote a blog post on the 10 Categories of Loopholes that we all invoke in our lives, which explains quite a lot about our behaviour around establishing habits.

A big part of what I do is helping others to establish healthy habits to achieve high performance in their daily lives. Aside from my professional training that enables me to do this,  I believe it is vital as an educator and expert to stand in others shoes and experience some of their pain.  That metaphorical pain might be related to fatigue, poor health, lack of fitness, stress, lack of sleep, dysfunctional relationships or simply the too hard basket.

On radio I get asked a lot about various types of eating styles and diets and while I am not willing to put myself in the ring for something that is clearly right wing, for the past two years I have embarked upon a couple of ‘professional experiments’ to enable me to comment from a practical perspective. These experiments have really illuminated the ever present loopholes that Gretchen Rubin describes.

Last year I tried Lite and  Easy for three months.  Home delivery was a winner and I was pleasantly surprised by how fantastic the food was. Regardless of these advantages, 1200 calories per day was tough going.  In the first two weeks my stomach took on a life of its own by communicating at every opportunity to EAT (I didn’t unless I was allowed to) and food was ALL I thought about.  Due to my initial lack of energy and inability to lift my feet more than 1mm off the ground, I also managed to trip over a minute elevation in the pavement while running and took a full body dive onto concrete, chin first.  Couldn’t go out in public for a week. Enter the Moral Licensing loophole. I was ready to give up but being stubborn and committed, I kept going.  Eventually, the incessant hunger did abate, I started to get more air under my feet and I lost 4 kg in the process.

This year it has been the Michelle Bridges 12 week body transformation program.  I have never been a fan of The Biggest Loser but 10 weeks into the program on a daily intake of 1500 calories per day, I am quite impressed with this ultra successful businesswoman.  Yes, she has a team behind her but the structure of the meal plans and exercise plus online resources are impressive and cater for almost anyone.  I gathered a few friends to do it with me and it was fascinating to see that within a few weeks some of them were diving into loopholes. The False Choice seems to be one that I fall into, especially at work but the favourites of others included the Moral Licensing, Lack of Control and This Doesn’t Count loopholes.

Which one do you invoke?