For a lot of my life, I’ve struggled to keep off the pounds. It’s not easy. I’m so tempted by so many things that fall under the heading “food.” And I’m weak. For over a year now, I’ve been able to exercise the discipline (exercise the mind yes, body, not so much) to watch what I eat and maintain a decent weight loss. “Discipline” is the key.
I have a pattern of discipline for stretches of time and then slowly , I “sluff” off, inching back up the scale. I refuse to look at the numbers and recognize the signs. Finally, when my pants are too tight or my bra strap busts, I’m forced to face reality. This has not happened yet but I can see how I could easily get there again. I don’t want to.
It’s easy to be lazy, to procrastinate or justify. A little slip here or there doesn’t matter. I get 49 extra points a week. I’ll just use a few now. Tomorrow, I’ll be stronger. Tomorrow comes and I have to wish on the next tomorrow. That’s my slippery slope.
My son? He has his own kind of slippery slope. He will make progress toward a goal. He will “master” a skill from a program in ABA. Once it’s mastered, the tutors don’t require him to work the program every day. Instead, they place it on maintenance and check it only every week or so. (Similarly, once I reach my goal weight at Weight Watchers- I don’t have to weigh in every week – just once a month). As a result, a lot of the time, the old behaviors re-emerge. For example, the screaming in excitement when playing a game, and the siren noises he was imitating all waking hours, slowly creep their way back into the routine.
In the past, I’ve wondered if he is “regressing” or if the ABA team is “mastering” something out too early. Thinking about it now, in comparison to my own weaknesses, I can see that it’s not as likely regression as it is falling back into old patterns and habits. It’s much simpler – it’s behavior.
It’s hard for me to resist the cheesecake and the pizza. It must be hard for him to resist the urge to scream at the top of his lungs when he clears a level on a Wii game. Why do I think regression with my son but not with myself? It’s okay for me, but a crisis when my son falls into the comfort of old behaviors? Hypocritical? Yes. Both of us have to exercise control over our behavior.
How to do this is another issue altogether. First, we need to recognize when we fall into old behaviors.
For me : no – that bite of cheesecake will make a difference! It will lead to more “bad” choices.
For my son: no- one scream on the Wii Need for Speed game will lead to another and another until the high pitch drives mom or dad over the edge.
To learn to exercise and strengthen self discipline, there are lots of websites that can help. I have checked out some and they provide some interesting thoughts and ideas, though I endorse none because, well, as of yet, I have not implemented the ideas that form this post.
For a great list of questions about your own level of self-discipline, I recommend going here regardless of the fact I have not implemented it yet. I got a good laugh seeing my own answers to these questions:
- Do you get up at the same time every morning? Including weekends?
• Are you overweight?
• Do you have any addictions (caffeine, nicotine, sugar, etc.) you’d like to break but haven’t?
• Is your email inbox empty right now?
• Is your office neat and well organized?
• Is your home neat and well organized?
• How much time do you waste in a typical day? On a weekend?
• If you make a promise to someone, what’s the percentage chance you’ll keep it?
• If you make a promise to yourself, what’s the percentage chance you’ll keep it?
• Could you fast for one day?
• How well organized is your computer’s hard drive?
• How often do you exercise?
• What’s the greatest physical challenge you’ve ever faced, and how long ago was it?
• How many hours of focused work do you complete in a typical workday?
• How many items on your to do list are older than 90 days?
• Do you have clear, written goals? Do you have written plans to achieve them?
• If you lost your job, how much time would you spend each day looking for a new one, and how long would you maintain that level of effort?
• How much TV do you currently watch? Could you give up TV for 30 days?
• How do you look right now? What does your appearance say about your level of discipline (clothes, grooming, etc)?
• Do you primarily select foods to eat based on health considerations or on taste/satiety?
• When was the last time you consciously adopted a positive new habit? Discontinued a bad habit?
There are more questions and links within that post to ways to build your own self-discipline.
Another site here informed me that by maintaining a steady blood glucose level, a person has greater control and self-discipline, and that self discipline, like a muscle must be exercised to be maintained.
For the kids, there are ideas here for how to teach the concept of self discipline.
Now, I’m going to go and try and implement some of these ideas…
Well, maybe tomorrow.