Reason as the Leading Motive

I Smile at my Rationality

Posted by Jerry on May 30, 2008

Since childhood, I had always loved mango-flavored drinks–even artificially flavored ones. I absolutely loved mango milkshakes, mango breezes, mango smoothies, mango blasts, Mangola (a Coca Cola beverage), Frooti and Maaza (both artificial mango-flavored drinks), and Real Mango fruit juices. At any point, I would prefer one of these to any other softdrink. Strangely, however, I didn’t have the same craze for the actual mango fruit itself. I only liked its pulp and flavor in juices–and perhaps, its yellow color.

In fact, after I had newly arrived in India two years ago, I got into this habit of consuming entire one-liter packets of Real Mango fruit juices at every meal. Sometimes, I would have about 3 to 4 packets a day. Added to that, I was alarmingly indiscriminate about my eating habits and neglectful about my physical appearance.

I suspect this kind of behavior might have had some kind of psychological roots–in addition to just mindless indulgence when it came to food. I realize that this was the phase in which I was undergoing drastic transformations in my physical, emotional, and romantic life. However, it is a fact that these transformations were not the cause of my behavior, but merely my excuse. I know this is true because once I made the conscious decision to snap out of my mindless gluttony and recapture my rational judgment in this matter, I acted upon the decision–immediately and consistently.

I was fortunate enough to find a gym that truly exemplified motivation and fitness professionals who were competent experts in their field. With the help of a well-planned nutritional program, in only about 4-5 months, I lost 16 kilograms (35 pounds) and returned to the appropriate weight category for my height and age.

While I acknowledge the role of my trainers and my nutritionist, the predominant onus of action obviously was upon me: I had to choose to go to the gym every evening after work (which I still do, albeit at a different gym now); I had to choose to stick to a proper diet; I had to choose to be discriminating about the kinds of food I ate; I had to choose to modify my emotional responses to food in accordance with my conscious decisions.

To be straightforward about it: I was acting rationally. The combined psychological and physical result of practicing rationality was that I was able to gradually detoxify my body, which made it progressively easier to continue eating healthy, staying fit, and maintaining my ideal weight.

In India, we are in the midst of a scorching summer–and particularly in Mumbai, the heat is made worse by the humidity in the air. Even after the sun sets, the air is hot and heavy, with water vapor, smog particles, and dust persistently suspended all around.

Therefore, in such climates, a refreshing chilled drink with lots of ice and flavor is like an image of paradise. I was sitting at Cafe Coffee day this evening, intending to take a glass full of just this kind of paradise. It was a long day at work, I was tired, parched, and hot. Now, It just so happens that the coffee shop was promoting its new Mango-flavored smoothie. The place was drenched with close-up images of yellow liquids in moist, beaded glasses. Their special menu boards had “mango” prominently written all over it. Mango was in the air at Cafe Coffee Day.

So, when the server came up to me to take my order, I said, simply, without conscious effort, and without a second thought:

“One lemon iced-tea please.”

Then I looked around again at all the heavy promotions of that special mango-flavored drink, and I smiled at myself realizing how rationally habituated I had become. 🙂

It’s not that I avoid the bad foods anymore–as a conscious decision. It’s like Howard Roark’s response to Ellsworth Toohey: I simply don’t even think of it.

10 Responses to “I Smile at my Rationality”

  1. Charl said

    Ooo. I just got back from gym and I’m still soaking in the endorphins; you should see the size of my grin. Yeah, I’m remembering days of far too much mango juice and indiscriminate amounts of Chinese food, with a great big shudder. Good riddance, I say.

    Son and I were talking about how you’re back to the shape you used to be at (based of the pic she has of you on her softboard) Good on you, Jerr!

  2. rambodoc said

    I wouldn’t speak so soon! 😉
    Bad habits, including dietary ones, tend to relapse. If you could say what you just did after another ten years or more of consistent choosing, I will join you in the kudos!
    That said, it is great to have good supervision helping self-motivation. This is a potent combination for physical fitness. I, too, am struggling with the irrational aspects of lifestyle (eating patterns, smoking, etc.) along with hard workouts. I hope I, too, can be totally happy with my performance.

  3. satyajit said

    I can totally understand the drive and also that once it becomes a habit, you dont even think about it. Way to go, Ergo! And if it helps give you extra motivation, you look great!

  4. Ergo said


    Just before writing this post I thought of what setting this down in “stone” implies. And I’m actually glad I wrote this up: if it doesn’t serve as a constant reminder and motivation to stay consistent in the future, it will at least be a record of the “good times” of my physical health and vitality.
    That said, abnormal diets do more harm than good: their short-term benefits are easily overshadowed by their long-terms ill-effects. I’m glad that my nutritionist didn’t put me on some crazy, crash diet (and I wouldn’t have agreed to anything as such). The key to good eating is to know the facts about what you ingest: know your foods and then know your body. You have to be aware of how your body responds to sugars, starch, and fat. You need to have some idea of your body’s rate of metabolic activity. Also, some understanding of your genetic traits will also be beneficial. Basically, learn the facts and act accordingly.

    Charl and Sattu,

    Thanks! 🙂

  5. Sinus said

    Awwwwwwww! A lesson in there somewhere for me. You go, Ergo!!! Good on you! 🙂
    ohhh…care to meet me tomorrow for a mango milkshake? I know where you can get a really good one.

  6. Ergo said

    Mmmmm… sounds tempting! Man can’t live on….err..wheat bread alone. 😉

  7. Kris Bass said

    This is motivational stuff, Jerry! And I love your style of writing!



  8. thetbones said

    Wish I could see 😦

  9. thetbones said

    And the mango breezes.. aww.. the good ‘ol days!

  10. Gazal said

    3-4 one litre packets a day Jerry? Whoa!!! No wonder you’ve destroyed all evidence of that chapter of your past! 😉 But come now, ONE mango smoothie wouldn’t have harmed! Like they say, the trouble is not usually in what you eat, but how much you do!

    P.S. I love Mango! The fruit, much more than the drinks! Damn, mouth waters… 😛

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