BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

The One Rule for Breaking the Rules

You have to be committed.

That’s what anyone will tell you — and what we all know — is required for success.

It’s also what’s required when you’re breaking the rules.

For most of my life, I was able to eat whatever I wanted. I was blessed with good genes and a quick metabolism.

So it didn’t matter how many cheeseburgers I ate or Chicken McNuggets I drowned in hot mustard sauce (is there a better condiment than McDonald’s hot mustard sauce?), my waistline never expanded and my doctor’s reports always came back clean.

I was lucky. And I knew it.

But I also knew my luck would eventually run out.

A few years ago it did, when my annual physical revealed cholesterol numbers that resembled a sterling bowling score.

My salad days were over. Or, more accurately, they were transitioning in meaning.

Since, I’ve worked hard to modify my diet.

I’ve opted for kale instead of cookies, and I’ve swapped trans fats for unsaturated fats. I’ve also limited unhealthy carbs, which is unfortunate, because I could subsist on nothing more than King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and be happy.

And thankfully, my cholesterol levels have retreated back within the margins.

But I still allow myself to enjoy the poisonous delicacies of my past. I don’t think I’d want to live in a world where I couldn’t.

I just don’t do it as often. And I don’t do it as freely.

When you’re counting carbs and calories, you want to make those carbs and calories count.

So not only will I not waste them on marginal indulgences (like the strawberry cupcakes my co-worker brought to the office last week), I have to be 100-percent on board with their expense.

There can’t be any doubt or dilly-dallying in the decision-making process.

I have to either be all in or completely out.

If I’m waffling over whether or not I should eat a waffle, that means I shouldn’t eat it. Not at that moment, at least.

Because if I do, the waffle’s going to taste like it’s drenched in a syrup of shame, and I’m going to feel like a criminal when I’m finished.

It’s not worth it.

But whenever I’m able to fully commit to the crime, I’m able to savor every bite of mischief without regret.

And mischief has never tasted so sweet.

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