Moral licensing

Friday, September 07, 2012

I find that my Fitbit is really helpful in keeping me on track. I did indulge a bit this week, but I logged everything in and I realized I was still within my alloted calorie limit. Usually, this type of "indulging" would have driven me into a frenzy of overindulging because I would have thought "- oh! well - might as well fall off the wagon, I already failed." It is difficult to log in the "not so good" stuff but in a way it takes away the anxiety associated with binge eating.

Now, back to my book on willpower... Last blog, I put up a quote about what the author calls "moral licensing" , which is that...

"When you do something good, you feel good about yourself. This means you're more likely to trust your impulses - which often means giving yourself permission to do something bad. (..)Moral licencing doesn't just give us permission to do something bad; it also lets us off the hook when we're asked to do something good. For example, people who first remember a time when they acted generously give 60 percent less moneyt a charitable request than people who have not just recalled a past good deed."

" The logic of licensing is not, strictly speaking, logical. For one thing, we rarely require a connection between our "good" behavior and the "bad" behavior we're justifying. Shoppers who restrain themselves from buying something tempting are more likely to go home and EAT something tempting."

"Anything that makes us warm and fuzzy about our virtue- even just THINKING about doing something good- can license us to follow our impulses. (..) Another study found that merely considering donating money to a charity- without actually handing over any cash- increased people's desire to treat themselves at the mall. Most generously we even give ourselves credit for what we could have done, but didn't. We COULD have eaten the whole pizza, but we ate only three slices."

Wow! I don't know about you... but I recognize myself 100%! I am a champion at moral licensing. Just this week, my overindulgence came after my training session with VĂ©ro, my trainer... 2 small bags of chips = 500 calories...

Knowing what is causing this behavior can maybe help me, the next time it happens.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD4357551
    Wow - that was an eye opener. I guess just one more reason why I really do need to at least be reading blogs even if I'm not posting a blog!!

    Thanks for the information. It's something I need to keep in mind.


    3136 days ago
    Yeah that sounds like me. Juste 30 minutes, I bought a chips bag because I've been good today and didn't eat anything bad even if the other half of the kitkat was just there... lol
    We're really human, aren't we, heh ?
    But thank you for sharing because really, it hellps putting thing in perspective... ! I'll keep that in mind for now on.
    Valie =)
    3147 days ago
    Interesting blog. I'm going to have to watch for it. Thanks Cheryl emoticon
    3148 days ago
    NO, I'm pretty sure he was talking about ME! emoticon

    I will often be VERY good at a party or luncheon only to go home and binge, which is stupid since I would have more enjoyed the food at the event rather than the usual stuff I have at home!

    This is NOT a very attractive side of human nature, is it? But knowing about it, and knowing it is just our nature, should help us guard against it, don't you think?

    Did you get your housecleaning from Claudette? AND, what do you owe her if she loses 10 pounds?????? emoticon
    3148 days ago
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