I think one of the greatest contributors to a successful diet is routine, and one of the greater detractors is the lack thereof. Establishing a routine in which to conduct a diet and exercise program provides solid foundations for success. By entering each day knowing how you will play the dieting game, one is able to more easily avoid the objects and issues that contribute to weight gain. By knowing you will rise in the morning, have a small breakfast of some predictable food, exercise, and go about your day in a way that sets you up for controlled eating and increased exercise, half of the work is already done, which brings me to my next point.
Another major contributor to successfully dieting is willpower. The ability to practice self-control and to motivate oneself to exercise in spite of mood or circumstance is necessary to lose weight. One must consistently and effectively select smaller portions, healthier food options, and activities that burn more calories. In order to make these choices effectively, one must be able to recognize non-compliant patterns of thinking and actively address those thoughts until they fall out of habit, in accordance with creating habits around healthy actions. However, in order to practice this amount of self-awareness and willpower, one must have his or her basic needs met.
The greatest contributor to weight loss is having the bottom four of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs met (physiological, safety, social, and esteem), particularly the bottom two (physiological and safety). This also contributes to the other two contributors. In order to work on improving one’s situation, having a roof over one’s head and food in one’s belly improves matters exponentially. I find that people often have a certain amount of resources, including thought and effort, that they can commit to various activities or projects each day. If someone’s effort is consumed by trying to find the next meal or make the next month’s rent, there are fewer resources to contribute to self-improvement.
This is where I run into trouble, and this is what I am currently working on. As a freelancer, paychecks are never guaranteed, not to mention that health insurance and basic financial security are often near impossible to acquire. Hence, my recent job search. I need something stable, so I can establish a routine and meet my basic needs, so I can grow and exercise my willpower and invest effort into this project.
I feel as if the more ducks I can get in a row, the more I will be primed to succeed in this endeavor, rather than my swinging between 184 and 189 on a weekly basis. One of the major things I struggled with this week was a lack of funds for food. This is not to say that I will need to go hungry anytime soon, but in order to make sure I can pay rent, I have to make some hard food purchase choices.
In the past, I was able to purchase practically any food I wanted, and during the earlier stages of this diet, particularly the Atkins portion, I was able to afford copious amounts of meats and cheeses. More recently, I have had to resort to $0.89 chicken pot pies (11 points), which have high point values, lots of carbs and plenty of fats. In other words, I do not have many healthy options.
I have had friends in the past who dealt with this by having chicken with rice and vegetables. This doesn’t exactly work for me, since I can’t make myself eat veggies, and chicken frequently turns me off to food. I like to eat, because it is one of the aspects of life that makes it rich and pleasurable. I also get into this mindset where I begin to feel as if I must take every opportunity to eat well, resulting in overeating and eating food that I neither necessarily want nor should have. For example, my brother got married this weekend, and instead of taking the opportunity to indulge in salad and protein, I also indulged in mashed potatoes and rolls.
I don’t have any major goals this coming week, other than to try to be good, since I am getting my wisdom teeth out (more special circumstances, more excuses). I sure hope I get one of these jobs, so I can make a solid routine.