One of the main reasons people in crisis need a lawyer is that we rarely have an emotional connection to the situation at hand. The litigator sees things a litigant can’t because the litigator is not the one in the situation. We’re chess players, not chess pieces. That means we can (hopefully) make better decisions. So is it possible, when making decisions about our own lives, to replicate that objectivity? I think so. Take food. Sometimes, to be strong, we need to know when we’re weak, and then hedge against it. In both law and in life, sound judgment is paramount. So give yourself the gift of perspective, and don’t make nutrition decisions in a vulnerable state. Here are three tips to help us do exactly that.
Tip No.1: Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
The modern grocery store is a work of art. Whatever our gluttonous selves want sits right there, at eye level. This is no accident. If we’re starving, then the chip and cookie aisles will almost certainly be too difficult to resist. The easiest way to remedy this: take hunger out of the decision-making process. Then we can think clearly.
Tip No.2: Keep a supply of healthy snacks at the office.
We’ve all solved a 3 p.m. hunger pang by rummaging through the leftovers from the articling-student “Lunch and Learn” and devouring every half-eaten sandwich and cookie in sight. (Yes, I’m guilty.) If we plan ahead, like an objective lawyer, we’ll make wiser decisions.
Tip No.3: Tame the hungry bear.
Discipline is often weakest at the end of the day. It’s easy to walk into a pub after work for a “few minutes” to say hi to a friend before looking at the menu and saying, “I’ll do one appy.” Three hours, two orders of nachos, a few drinks and $100 later, the bear has won. Don’t get me wrong: there’s a time and place to take the governor off and enjoy life. But I’m not sure a school night is one of them. Grab a healthy snack before heading to the bar. You’ll read the menu like a rational person. It’s about taming our emotions (or the hungry bear) in advance.
Paul Attia is an assistant Crown prosecutor based in Toronto. He writes about family, fitness and money for Precedent. Follow him at @PapaAlphaBlog.
This story is from our Summer 2017 issue.
Illustration by Alina Skyson