Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weight and Self-Regulation

Are weight issues related to self-regulation? If you have issues with food, do you have a tendency to have issues with other forms of self-regulation like time and money?

If you don't know, I have always had weight/food issues. I reached my heaviest in 1999 at 233 lbs, went down to 153 and made my way back to 190. I am currently on a downward movement and have been for a couple of years (oh so slowly, which is fine by me!). So what have I learned in my years of dieting?

Most of the issues in my life have come from one, central problem: my ability to self-regulate. On top of that, I have noticed that my friends who have weight problems also have problems in self-regulation.

The main areas where self-regulation seem to manifest in problems appear to be with regards to
  • time
  • money
  • diet
Personally, I have never had an issue with time. But money and diet? Oh yeah! Big time!

So what has helped me to start losing weight again isn't just a diet plan. It's been learning self-regulation. In order for me to lose weight, I decided that I needed to come up with a method for controlling all aspects of my life. So here's what I have done:
  1. Made a schedule. I have scheduled everything that's going to happen throughout the day from what time I'm getting up (5:00 am), to breakfast (6:30 am) to what time am I meditate (9:00 pm) and head to bed (10:00 pm). I am not incredibly strict with regards to my schedule since, as I said before, time has never been an issue. But my wife, who does have time-management problems, has everything broken down and put reminders in her calendar. When the beep goes off, it's time for her to move on to what she needs to do next.
  2. Made a money budget. I have an iPhone, which has proven to be a life-saver! Not only does it make me super-cool, but it has apps and as the commercials say, "There's an app for that." I found an app for budgeting. Now, whenever I buy something, I put it in my iPhone right then, right there, before I even leave the counter. It has helped me tremendously!
  3. Found a food budget. I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. I love Weight Watchers and I'll tell you why: each food item gets a point value and you get to eat a certain number of points per day. It's not unlike a checking account! And the rules are similar: if you want something big, save up points. And of course my iPhone makes using Weight Watchers easier for me.
I'm not telling anyone to run out and get an iPhone or join Weight Watchers. These are tools that seem to fit my personality. Also, being a guy, I really don't have the luxury of carrying a purse where I can stow away a calendar, cell phone, MP3 player, diet journal and check book. Relying solely on one device has really made things simpler for me. I do recommend, however, that if you diet, use a diet that relies on numbers be it counting carbs or calories. There are tons of diets out there. Just make sure you choose one that is healthy. Hell! Go ask your doctor!

So that's about it. I will let you know how my weight loss is progressing and will post any tips that might pop up in my head!

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