I was reading blog archives for one of my FAVORITE bloggers, Lyn at EscapeFromObesity.net and hit this post that talks about what, for her, is the difference in deprivation and discipline. That got me thinking.
This is the crux of my whole “Year of Just Doing It” for 2012 – I have been so concerned that I not DEPRIVE myself, that I not have to live in DEPRIVATION, that I have exercised virtually no discipline for years. It is funny what that does to a person. First, it feels like caring – I am caring for myself by not being harsh, mean, or depriving myself of comfort. And before very long at all, it feels like ENTITLEMENT – I am entitled to eat whatever I want, because I am a GOOD girl in other areas – I don’t shirk my duties at work, at home, or at church. So I am “owed” an area in which to indulge, right?
Well, OK. Let’s set that aside. Because the truth is, I would NEVER parent my children that way. First, because they would turn into hideous maladjusted creatures that no one (including the kid himself) wants to be around. Second, because that is NOT love, that is laziness. It is much harder to administer firm, fair discipline than it is to be indulgent. But it is terribly harmful.
So when I look at it that way, letting the parent in me look at myself as a soul still forming (even if I am in a growed-up body), the hard core truth is that if I want to CARE for myself, it requires some active discipline. Saying “no” to some whims that are not good for me. I mean, I have a bratty feeling sometimes that I don’t want to stop on teh way to bed and engage in the tiresomely routine ritual of washing my face, brushing my teeth, removing my contacts – but it is a passing thought, because there is no way that indulging that childish thought is worth the bad skin, bad breath and sore eyes I will get in the morning.
Food and exercise are no different – except where I have MADE them different. There is no magic to be had in “indulging” in food. Sure, it gives me a rush. So does alcohol, so does sleep, so does sex. That doesn’t mean I have to stop and gratify every whim for any of those things, when it is not appropriate and beneficial.
Lyn, I think, is driving at something else – when you deny yourself ANY satisfaction for too long, you tend to overcorrect. I agree with that, yes. I have seen it in action in my own life (because I am a creature of extremes and always have been). But with all due respect to Geneen Roth, who sort of founded the movement, the part of you that thinks ANY discipline is “deprivation” is a part that needs to get healed. In other words, it is not as simple as saying “I will stop depriving myself and then I will stop overeating because I will know I can always get more [whateveritis]” as Geneen would say. There is certainly an element of recognizing – letting your inner lil kitteh recognize – that you have a CHOICE, you CAN eat whatever it is. But there is also a maturity to saying, “Of course I CAN eat that/do that/not do that, and (not BUT, but AND) I choose NOT to , because it is not beneficial to me.”
So what is the point?
For me, the point is that I am learning – choosing to learn – to think of discipline as its own form of indulgence. I am indulging the part of me who wants to be healthy and slender instead of indulging the inner toddler who wants what she wants when she wants it, and damn the consequences. Instead of saying “no” to eating what I want to eat, I am framing it as saying yes to healthy, to my life and to my family. I’d rather have that – all of that and what it represents – than any food or drink.
Of course, it helps that:
- I’ve been low carb for 3 months and I don’t have the Carb Crazies
- I’ve seen results so I feel like it is a “real” choice, not a pretend choice -if you don’t think health is really within your grasp, it seems stupid to give up the “fun” of eating whatever the item de jour is, just to chase a pipe dream you can never have.
- I’ve been exercising my “no” muscle for three months and I LIKE the way it feels to say no now. 🙂
Today I am wearing size 24 jean shorts. That’s a big deal only because last summer, I had the same brand in a size 30. Yes, they make a 30. UGH.
Here are the 30s, face down on the ground:
Here they are with the 24s on top: