My Experience with Rule 2: Make It a Treat

Rule Two: Make It a Treat

I have not had as much success with this rule. I realize the idea behind it, but one of the challenges of making something a treat is that it then falls outside your normal routine. for me this translates into needing to exert more effort in order to attain the thing I am after.

In his excellent book, the Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg relates how we can use rewards to build habits we want to have. From that perspective, I combined the Make It a Treat, to help build a habit that keeps me (mostly) on target with eating healthy.

I found I do better when I have a food plan for the day. If I don’t, then I tend to eat whatever and at the end of the day I’m angry and frustrated with myself. But expecting my brain to have all the resources it needs to turn down brownies in the snack room when I am feeling depleted usually does not turn out the way I want.

So, having a plan, and assembling, snacks ahead of time, has given me more control over my diet and consequently my health.

The result of this I really felt on my two most recent trips abroad. I am over 50 years old (51 now actually) and despite the demands of taking red-eye flights, long layovers to take long flights to central, and later south America, I was able to keep my energy high, my focus intact and on two different occasions, I worked long days without fatigue.

Even I was stunned at my sustained energy level. I am convinced that all of this was the accumulated healthy and wellness from my habit of using “treats” to build better eating habits. A treat could be as simple as an Isagenix eShot in an unsweetened Green Tea, or some healthy low carb snacks my wife put together.

Green Ice Tea

I am not sure why, but treats to me always translates into food. I supposed you could use it for anything like a bottle of ink, or a video game, or maybe a new book, but for me I always associated this habit with food.

And I would say that when you limit your access to a something, it does tend to increase its perceived value and makes it easier to enjoy.

If you combine this idea with the habits found in Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovery the Happiness Within by Chade-Meng Tan, you can build up a pretty potent habit for increasing your day to day happiness with some simple techniques.


FitBit – a fun way to get in shape and lose weight.

Last week I came across this nifty gizmo called a FitBit. Two people I went golfing with had them. In case you have never heard of these things, a FitBit ( is a next generation pedometer. The devices appear to be shockingly accurate and small, and the batter charge lasts days.


However, the real magic to a fitbit is the app that runs on your phone. (It works with iOS or Android). According to my golfing partners Will and Dave, one of the partners at the firm they work at lost 80 pounds just by using fitbit and giving up soda. I don't know over what period of time he lost that weight, but he was so impressed he signed up everyone at the company. Now they all use it. Losing 80 pounds is no joke.

So I thought I would check it out. Fitbit uses gamification techniques to encourage people to exercise. A pedometer is nice – but it has a very limit capacity to create context – an essential ingredient in gamification. In other words, you need to create goals and you need real time feedback on your progress to achieving those goals. This will allow you make instant decisions as opportunities arise. The important thing here is that the administrivia, even down to resetting the counter is done for you. In fact, the only thing you need to worry about is the walking. And this is the key. Fitbit opens you up to thinking about the myriad of ways you can take advantages of opportunities to walk. Suddenly you can make many small decisions that add up to one big effect and you get immediate feedback as to how those decisions accumulate.

Next: 10,000 steps.

Turkey Cooking Time Start Calculator

Okay, I realize this may be late for this year (given that Thanksgiving was last week), but I have noticed that useful websites can last for years and I know I will need this next yar. So, I thought I would put this up.  This little web-app/form helps you calculate when to start your Turkey Bird!  It’s a Turkey Cooking Time Calculator.

Turkey Calc

You know the Turkey size! You know when you want to eat! But when do you START to cook it? How do you substract 280 minutes from 4:30 PM!? It is enough to give you a headache!

The solution? Turkey Calc! This little calc will tell you when to start your Turkey if you know how long it will take to cook. The cook types are averages, or you can simply enter your estimated cook time in minutes.

mpp = minutes per pound

 Oven (20 mpp)
 BBQ Grill (15 mpp)
 Deep Fry (3 mpp)
 Infra-Red Frier (10 mpp)

(in min)
Please enter dinner time as h:mm p

Start Prep at: 10:45AM

Start Cooking at: 11:00AM

Start Carving at: 3:15PM

— Scott


Every year I cook at least 2 birds, one on the Grill (BBQ Style) and one fried. Since the cooking times vary with the cooking methods I wrote this tool to make it easier to know when to start each bird.

Turkey cooking time

This year I tried the Char-Broil Infra-red turkey frier and I have to say everyone loved it. The Turkey was incredibly juicy, but it did cook much faster than I expected. At the same time I put a nice big 20 pounder on the BBQ (shown in the picture). That one cooked quite a bit faster also. So I still have some work to do. The math is not precise.

Turkey Cooking Times

The Infra-red cooked a fully thawed 15 pound bird in just about 2 hours. I would suggest you use a real meat thermometer and not the plastic pop up, as the plastic pop up on mine stuck causing me to leave mine in 15 minutes longer than I wanted. The BBQ cooked in just 3 hours – finishing a whole hour ahead of schedule. Again that was something I did not expect.

So the key is to play it safe and check your Turkey often while it is cooking. Turkey cooking time is just as much an art as a science. The Turkey Cooking Time Calculator is more of a guide than a hard rule.

On the US Gov Site for food safety they point out that Turkey cooking is not linear. But once you cross the 12 pound threshold (which is typical for big holidays) they are more uniform. I don’t think I have ever even seen a 6 pound turkey.

Useful Links Turkey Roasting Times Chart

Butterball Calculators

Government Roasting Chart