Friday, October 23, 2009

Perfect Control

Today while I was out walking for a bit of exercise, I was pondering my control issues and compulsive eating. A few days ago (on a non-counting day), I found myself standing in the kitchen over an open container of mini pretzels scarfing down about 6 of them. That was preceded by the consumption of about 10 Cheez-its from another container.

I'll grant that I had a minimal lunch and may actually have been hungry, but that wasn't the way to deal with it. I consumed a string of small quantities of various snacking foods when I should have had a planned snack with better nutritional balance and more substance. I probably put away 300 calories on bits of junk that I just popped into my mouth while walking around the kitchen.

As I was out walking about, I was thinking about self-control and how I always feel like I need more of it, at least in regards to food. That being said, I think that everyone has self-control issues on some front. Some people drink more than they should. Others find themselves sleeping with people and regretting it later. Many people buy things they don't need and/or can't afford or gamble. And some eat things they shouldn't.

The main difference between compulsive eaters and people who sleep with people and regret it or buy junk that they don't need is that eaters display the consequences of their lack of control for the world to see. Debt and V.D. aren't visible to the naked eye. That being said, I'm not looking for an excuse here. I'm just considering the fact that lacking perfect control isn't all that uncommon among most humans. Therefore, there's no need to beat myself up or deride myself for slipping into bad behavior.

I had a talk with my husband about this point this morning, and he told me that I should focus on my success rather than preoccupy myself with this point that I'm not pleased with. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, and it has rarely served me well. I'm not sure if this is one of those situations where I expect too much of myself (perfect control) or if this is a point that I should be putting more mental energy into dealing with.

In regards to self-control, I will say that I have considerable control in many areas of my life. I have never drunk alcohol and never had any temptation to do so. This is largely because my father is an alcoholic, but also I just don't see the appeal. I also have always been good at not wasting money and save a considerable portion of my income. In school, I was exceptionally disciplined in my studies and got great grades. I never had to cram for tests because I kept up on homework and required reading and attended my classes. In many areas that other people show poor self-control, I have had very good control. But, then there's food.

Maybe the reason that I expect perfect control over my eating is that I've had such good control in other areas of my life. Maybe I have poor control with food because I generally have such good control elsewhere. I don't know, but it's something I'll have to think about.

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