Health & Exercise

I Need Discipline

I want to know how someone who is so disciplined in most areas of her life can be so undisciplined when it comes to food and exercise. Can anyone explain that to me?

I am so disciplined when it comes to managing money, taking medication, seeing doctors and the dentist and even getting the laundry done!! So why can’t I stay away from food, especially the wrong kinds, and get more exercise?

Why discipline is needed

I need to lose weight. I was in this same predicament 16 years ago and I was able to lose 35 pounds. It wasn’t easy at first, but it became easier over time. I remember being so disciplined with both eating and exercise. I was able to find something in myself that propelled me towards the right behaviors and most of the time, I didn’t feel deprived.

So why can’t I generate that now?

It’s definitely easier when you live alone but that’s too easy of an excuse. Even with candy and other bad things around all the time, I should be able to walk by and leave it alone. But it seems the more I know I shouldn’t eat it, the more I want to eat it. And then I do.

Two years ago, when I was going through a rough patch with my vertigo, I stopped eating chocolate and sugar. I don’t know that it helped the vertigo, but it made a huge difference in my weight. I lost about 15 pounds over that winter. But I don’t want losing weight to require something like that.

I feel so much better when I’m at a lower weight. Why can’t I follow this mantra – nothing tastes as good as skinny feels? Because it’s a lie. It does taste as good!! Maybe even better?

I’m not usually an instant gratification person, but for some reason, when it comes to that piece of candy that I know isn’t good for me, I’ll eat it anyway. And I’m not very good with moderation. I’m better off eating nothing than trying to have just a little bit.

I know my diet has a bigger impact on my weight than exercise, but that doesn’t mean the exercise isn’t important. As I’ve blogged about before, I always feel better when it’s done. It’s getting started that takes all the effort for me. And what could be easier than hopping on the treadmill while I watch a favorite TV show? Tim has that kind of discipline. What’s wrong with me?

I know it’s a lifestyle change. I did it before and I can do it again. But I need to change my habits, and soon!!

Developing goals and good habits

According to this article, I can improve my willpower by simply using it. Temptations will get easier to avoid over time. In my head, I know that’s true. But emotionally, eating is just too satisfying.

I need to set small and realistic goals. That’s possible too. But it seems something always gets in the way. And then it’s hard to start up again. So, it’s important that I don’t let setbacks lead to permanent changes and the same bad habits. I need to be accepting of these setbacks but forget them and move on.

Learning self-discipline

Another article lists five things to do to improve self-discipline. The thing is – I know what to do. Will these things help me do it? Self-discipline is learned and requires practice. Anything new is always tough at first, so it’s important to hang in there.

Remove temptations. Yes, I know that’s what I need to do. This is the part that’s easier when it’s just you. But the last thing I want to do is impose my lack of willpower on Tim. He loves my baking and I love doing it for him, so that can’t stop. I will identify those temptations I can eliminate and then work hard to resist the others.

Eat regularly and healthily. I think I do OK most of the day. I’m bad in the late afternoon and evening. In the afternoon, I actually get hungry so I need to find healthier snacks. In the evening, I think eating is just a bad habit.

You’d think with my needlework and busy hands I’d be able to resist but it doesn’t seem to stop me. I also will chew gum to distract me from eating but I don’t want to do that all the time.

The other problem is eating out. We like to eat out a couple of times a week and almost always lunch on Sundays and Mondays when Tim is off work. I’m not as worried about lunch, however, and I just need to make sure I’m making healthy choices. Unlike the french fries I had this week at Smokey D’s. They have THE best fries. I could eat them as a meal!!

Don’t wait for it to “feel right”. Habits take a while to develop, so for a while, I need to do what feels wrong. Actually, for me it’s not that doing the right thing feels wrong. It just doesn’t feel as good!!

I think it’s less about feeling right and more about feeling normal. I need to make the right choices and over time, they’ll become my normal habits and “feel right”.

Schedule breaks, treats and rewards for yourself. I should give myself permission to have a special day as a reward. The problem is, soon every day can become “special”. So I need to be even more disciplined about choosing what my treats are and when I get them. Then, no cheating the other times.

Forgive yourself and move forward. It’s back to not letting setbacks derail me. But if I’m not careful, a one day setback can turn into seven days. And then I’ve lost all discipline again.

I have to tell myself each day when I get up that it’s a new day and it doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. Today will be better!!

So, where do you lack discipline? Or are you great at resisting everything that’s bad for you? Any advice?

Please send your positive vibes. I need all the help I can get!!

Don’t forget you can rate my posts below. It helps me know if I’m doing a good job!!

14 Comments

  • Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged

    Just a quick comment… I don’t have a lot of will power either. I found that Weight Watchers, and any other plan that allowed me to eat just some of what I wanted didn’t work, and I hated keeping track of my calorie intake. What has worked for me, and something I’ve been doing successfully for about six years, is intermittent fasting. For some reason, I can eat very little (about 500 calories) one day, knowing that I can eat what I want the next. Anyway, if you are interested, I suggest googling Dr. Michael Mosley, Fast Diet, and or 5:2. If you can find Dr. Mosley’s BBC program Eat, Fast, and Live Longer online, (from 2012) , t’s a great introduction to the concept. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. The important thing it to find an eating plan that is healthy and works for you.

    • retired introvert

      Thanks for the tip. I’ll check that out. I need to get my husband on board as well. He gets tons of exercise so he can eat more. I tend to keep up with him which is not good. But he wants to lose a few pounds too. We both need to choose healthier options!!

  • mary

    Oh LInda! this post resonated = I have this ‘problem’ too!! especially since I retired (although at work I did snack my way throughout the day, now that I think about it, but meetings at least kept me away from food during the day) I do have a trick that I have been using at night – once dinner is over i brush my teeth and that keeps me from eating any more in the evening. During the day though I am trying very hard to have something healthy. Trouble is I like to bake (like you). the finished product calls to me all day….
    I am trying to note what I eat each day (seeing a list of everything is kind of embarrassing some days), and trying to do healthy eating – small portions of carbs and protein. I won’t give up the sweets but just trying to eat less. I will be following up with you!!

    • retired introvert

      I don’t know that I can blame my eating on retirement as much as the extra baking and cooking I do. Well, I guess that’s because I’m retired. But it’s mostly because I love baking for Tim. And I made sweet treats for my mom and dad when she was going through chemo. And they couldn’t eat alone!! I’m really kind of all or nothing even though I try to moderate. It’s like the Lay’s commercials – I can’t eat just one!! Maybe I should try your evening trick. Good idea!!

  • AnNyce

    Linda,
    As you know, I struggle with this issue ALL the time. I also feel better at a lower weight, but here I sit at the computer with my coffee with creamer. Maybe tomorrow…

    • retired introvert

      And I just ate a cookie!! I hope I can find that willpower sometime soon. I’d sure like to look and feel better by summer.

  • Cheryl

    I never ever get on a scale but know that I have never weighed this much based on my clothes not fitting. For me the motivation is to fit into my jeans as I wear them just about every single day. I have 17 Pairs and I don’t want to buy 17 more pairs in a bigger size. My other motivation is going to LA to visit my daughter in a month. I’ve just joined the gym and I’ve been four times this week. Of course I have to sustain that. I’ve also been eating healthy but getting very tired of salads. I also think that for a 58 year-old woman such as myself it’s that much harder to lose weight being post menopause. Still I don’t want to use that as an excuse.

    • retired introvert

      Cheryl, I heard the same thing about menopause from my doctor but while she didn’t come out and say it, she wants me to lose some weight. I am tall (5’9″) which makes it easier for me to “hide” my extra weight. I do get on a scale (although mine doesn’t want to keep working right now) but I also gauge my weight by my clothes. I can still wear the same size but my clothes just don’t fit the way I’d like them to. And I don’t like seeing bulges. I have some things I refuse to wear because they just don’t look good on me anymore. Unfortunately, more and more of the clothes in my closet are beginning to fall into this category.😝 Good luck with your current regimen and I hope you can keep that discipline going and develop those good habits!! I’ll use you as inspiration!

  • Marisa Atteberry

    I’m in the same boat! Work stress, sometimes not sleeping enough… plus where I work has an award winning kitchen and free food for staff! Sweet elderly residents offering snacks don’t help either! Lol. So I have learned to not be so hard on myself and just do my best. I am also extremely organized and have to be to run my activity department! Go figure on the age old struggle to keep the weight down! Great blog! Thank you!!

    • retired introvert

      Thanks Marissa. I know you just went through a weight loss period so you must be doing something right. I think maintaining weight is almost harder than losing. What’s sad is I remember the days when I wanted to gain weight. Oh to have those days back!!

  • Caroline

    I have no words of wisdom for you. I have no willpower either lately! I would like to lose a few pounds as my pants are getting too tight. I know better than to eat the junk and my problem is I have no restraint at work where there is bad stuff all the time! Once I cut the sugar for a few days, it’s so much easier but I can’t even get a start on this lately. Hopefully, spring will motivate me! (but that’s just an excuse not to start now).

    • retired introvert

      I thought our trip to Florida – in one week now – would motivate me but evidently not. And then class reunion this summer. Argh!! So mad at myself for letting this happen. 😤

  • Donna

    I also have periodic vertigo. I have found no correlation to what I eat or don’t eat. My doctor referred me to a physical therapist for “vestibular” rehabilitation. I was not having an episode at the time, and the therapist was unable to do much. But he said if I come in during an active episode, he can assess what my particular ear crystals are doing, make the vertigo go away and give me exercises I can do to make the vertigo go away if it should come back. He said to just live my life — don’t worry about what side I sleep on or anything else. I haven’t had an episode since that visit, so I don’t know if he’s correct. I hope I never have to see him again!

    • retired introvert

      After many doctor and physical therapist visits, it was determined that my vertigo is not related to the crystals in my ear. I know lots of people have issues with that. Mine is either Meniere’s disease or vestibular migraine based on my visit to the Mayo Clinic. My PT actually triggered an episode and I had to lay there for two hours before I could even move. I sure hope yours is gone for good. It’s not fun at all.

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