Monday, June 14, 2010


I used to call myself a control freak, but then my kids became teens, and within a few years, I realized the danger of trying to always be in control. In most cases it is toxic, causes stress, and is an unachievable goal. That's not to say I stopped trying to control, but the more I tried, the less successful I was.

This weekend, I was talking about control with a friend, and we both decided that it keeps many people from being happy, especially as we age and our roles as mothers and care takers changes. And since that conversation, I have been doing probably too much thinking about control. But it did lead to one of my famous aha moments, and this one I plan on thinking about a lot more.

Now follow me here: If the only thing I can really control is me, that should translate into my being able to control what goes into my mouth and how much I exercise. Simple? Ha!

Remember how well that worked when I tried to control others? So why should it work with me, especially because I love to eat and hate to exercise.

So trying to control what I eat will only make me angry with myself? YES! That happens all the time. I fight with myself about whether I should eat that jelly bean, and then I get angry at myself after it has been swallowed. So I need to stop trying to control me.

So here's my new plan du jour: Replace my desire for control with optimism. Will that work? Optimism will make me happier. We all know glass half-full and glass half-empty people. My days need to be all about making choices that will keep my internal glass half-full.

I view losing weight as an uphill battle, so the image I should keep in mind is me standing at the summit, with a silhouette that won't cast a 2-ton shadow. That's positive reinforcement.

My need to control uses up valuable inner energy, which as I age, becomes more precious. So if I instead funnel that energy into making me a healthier, well-balanced, more vibrant and energetic person, won't life be a whole lot more fun? And how do I do that? By eating healthy food and exercising more.

OK, I'm convinced. Let's see how it works the rest of the week.


  1. LOL. My old saying is "you can't make a kid pick up his shoes." I agree, control oriented behavior modification is useless and counter productive.

    I think you have a good idea here. Positive reinforcement. It will still be difficult to lose weight, eat right and diet, but your goal may seem more worthwhile.

    Sometimes when I am doing something I have to do rather than something I would rather do, I use "visualization" to get me to focus on the positive aspect of whatever it is I am doing. It really helps.

    Good luck.

  2. The sun'll come up tomorrow! Isn't this whole being in shape thing nothing but frustrating???
    I love food and hate exercising. Wish I hated food and loved exercising. (sigh)