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Mar 27, 2011

Learning Self Control

Control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will self-denial: the act of denying yourself; controlling your impulses.

There have been days when I've thought to myself, I have no self control over food. No matter how you define it when you look at it in terms of our daily lives its impact is profound.

Several years ago when I attended Weight Watchers meetings I ran into a woman at a meeting who I knew socially. She was probably 50 pounds lighter than I was but still had a considerable amount of weight to lose. It was awkward to see her in that setting at first because back then my weight loss efforts were always a secret. I never told anyone about my efforts because I was in denial about my weight anyhow. But there we both were and after our weigh in and before the meeting started we compared notes about our weekly weight loss and weight losses so far. I told her my number and she told me hers. I had a very good week and she didn't have a good week. As she sat and told me about how she doesn't  understand how she's not losing weight and yes she said it was unfair that I had lost more than she did I couldn't help but look back to the previous weekend where our paths had crossed several times. Each time I saw her she was intoxicated and eating and she would say "I just have no self control" She made the choice to drink heavily and make food choices that weren't conductive to weight loss but still she wanted to lament to me that she didn't get it, she didn't understand, why wasn't the weight coming off. I knew why. I don't have to spell it out to you because I know you all know why too. So why is it today so many years later I'm still struggling with weight loss? Self control or lack of it.

I know that some people will disagree with me but self control is something that comes and goes. I have saved and scrimped every penny for months and then gone out on a shopping spree (shoes) but this didn't happen often. We are able to use self control for so many aspects of our lives successfully so why is it so difficult when it comes to food? What makes food different? Oh right, we NEED food to survive. I don't need shoes to survive, okay at least one pair is sort of necessary.

If you look up at the definition you'll see the mention of emotions and desires. I think for myself and probably a lot of you, food is an emotional experience. We have memories attached to foods. I didn't eat peas for years and I wasn't sure why I didn't like them until a relative reminded me of the time when I went all exorcist and spewed peas after my dad made me eat them because he didn't believe I was sick. I had forgotten all about it (clearly it made an impression on her, sorry) but it seemed like a negative emotion tied to a food that would keep me from wanting to let those little green round balls to pass my lips. When I look at some of the foods I love and I can tie positive memories to them: Mom's fresh baked bread, chocolate on Halloween, ice cream on a hot summers day, do I need to go on? I'm sure you all have your memories too.

Where does that leave me? I believe we can learn self control. I believe I will always need to be aware of my moods and if I feel myself slipping use something else to fill the void. Making jewelery works nicely. Last night I wanted a snack but headed to my workbench instead what felt like 15 minutes had turned into an hour and the urge to snack was gone. Every day I'm creating new memories that don't involve food, being aware of what I eat and not letting 60 seconds of lust undo my day of self control. Choices have consequences. 
I have reached a point of self realization where I fully understand that what I eat is in my control and I have to accept responsibility for what goes into my bodies. For someone who has never struggled with this I can understand how that statement might sounds stupid but I'm not writing it for them, I"m writing it for me and for people who are going through the same thing or have in the past. 
How we react has a consequence, the choices we make have consequences and add up to results, will those results be positive or negative?

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