I read recently in a magazine that impulse control is something that you can work, like a muscle and get stronger at controlling your impulses.
I have always considered this to be something inherently wrong with me. I mean my family tree is riddled with overweight people. I have chubby ancestors all over the place. But maybe they just didn’t exercise their impulse control. I’ve always said that I am really good at the big things, like I am one of the first people in my family to graduate from college. I have a good job, and am in a good relationship. I have accomplished some stuff here, not too shabby, but the little things every day decisions are what are gonna kill me, get me evicted, or get my feet cut off because of diabetic infection. I don’t make good spur of the moment decisions. NOT at all. So previously, what I read concerning weight loss has been to remove the temptation. Don’t have the shit in your house. Have lots of healthy food and snacks. Now that works really well for us, for about two weeks, until we are too lazy to go to the grocery store and make that one night mistake of hitting McDonalds and scarfin’ down a double quarter pound with biggie fries and Dr. Pepper. Yeah I will admit…a Mcflurry too. I eat like a trucker sometimes, I know. My Mom will be so ashamed, but some people call this binging. This to me, was a Thursday.
But, if impulse control is something you can learn, and get better at. I am so in. There is hope. I mean I have always said that I could lose weight if I wanted it bad enough, but I believe that about everything. I also felt like this was a daunting and unreasonable task. Almost like the guy who painted himself in the corner. How am I going to all of a sudden turn this around? Also daunting is the idea of always having to think about my weight, the everyday of it. I mean can you believe that I have to think about what I am going to eat all the time. If I don’t get enough, low blood sugar. If I get too much, I get fatter. It is a constant struggle. I am going to continue this for 30 or more years? Are you kidding me, everyday writing stuff down, watching my skinny friends eat fudge while I trudge by with my Weight Watchers snacks and carrots that are “so good they taste like candy”. Oh, not so much. So these were my internal thoughts for the longest time. Then I read about impulse control. It seems so simple that I don’t know why I am 32 years old and only hearing about it now. Not only is it empowering, there is hope it could get easier. I can learn it, and flex it, and work it like a muscle and then it gets easier. The article said not just for losing weight but other things like spending or just making good decisions. Impulse control. I can control my impulse for chocolate or those super soft sweet gumdrops from the bin at Winco? Not only can I do it myself, I can make it easier on myself the more I do it. So the more I turn down chocolate the easier it will be next time? Okay, so I am not entirely buying it but I am willing to explore it.
Today I went to work and found out they were going to buy me lunch for my good attendance. I was excited and then I remembered that I am trying to eat healthy. Well that kind of sucked the air out of my excitement. We are going to this fancy restaurant with menu items like French meatloaf, and turkey pot pie with a fattening delicious crust, and blue cheese bacon burgers with really fresh French fries. I have a weakness for potatoes. If I get full diabetes, it will be because I eat way too many potatoes especially in the French fry form. I didn’t want to go and have all this food to choose from. I didn’t trust myself. So I am debating what to do, and I mention it to the woman next to me in the cubie at work and she says just go and have water, its worth getting out of work for an extra hour. Boy don’t I know it. So I did that. I just went expecting to have water and just relax and hang out with my coworkers.
Weird thing though. I got there and started looking over the menu. There was one dish that caught my eye. It was the veggie pita. It had roasted vegetables, with red pepper aioli which means mayo but only a tablespoon, a pita and feta. I was shocked that there was something so simple that I knew it was healthy, and I thought, I don’t know if this is good but I could try it. I love feta, of course because it’s kind of fattening, and I liked all the vegetables. It was delicious. It was so yummy that I didn’t even wish I had someone else’s plate. I am so glad that I went and I felt so proud of myself afterwards. I had to write it down, because this impulse control thing I am starting to believe. If I hadn’t been so good all week, I might have gone for the bacon burger with warm fries. I really wanted beefy goodness and that was my first reflex. However, I didn’t want to cheat myself. I just wanted to eat something healthy. So I made a good choice, and I felt good and secure about it. So the impulse control experiment so far is successful.