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01 March 2013

so I'm in a self-control phase that I sometimes get into in which I manage to get a hold on multiple things (e.g. diet, finances) at the same time. It's interesting that I find them linked this way, but more interestingly, I find it helps me to stay on track if I think of discipline as abstract forecasting rather than an internal impulse struggle[More:]

That is to say, if I think of it less as denying myself 'wrong' food as an act of willpower ("just hang on until the impulse dies") than as just a cool-headed decision about the future: "do I want to have lost X pounds 2 months from now? well why derail it now?"

I think it really depends on your mental processes and there's not a one-size fits all solution to these things (not to mention we probably mix and match the different processes at various times) but interestingly as I was mulling this today I came across two things on the interwebz that pretty much echoed this 'forecasting' view:

this cheesy motivational poster (includes slightly nsfw taut abdomen/thigh photo)
discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.

and this tweet:
Discipline is remembering what you want. - David Campbell

I guess, upon rereading these quotes, the other characteristic of this type of thinking is that it's not just about cool-headed planning instead of willpower, but also about concretely choosing an alternate goal instead of just engaging in self-denial without clarifying the purpose to yourself.
Yes, I agree with this. I've been on a strict, strict diet over the last couple of months to try to get my psoriasis under control. No red meat, no dairy, no wheat, no citrus, no sugar... and then I read on several psoriasis message boards and blogs that people had had good results cutting out 'nightshade' vegetables as well. So now there's no peppers, tomatoes or eggplants, all of which I love (I eat a lot of Mediterranean-style food).

I don't imagine I'll be able to follow such a strict regime indefinitely - and most definitely won't on my holiday over the next few weeks - but knowing that the ultimate goal is that I'll be able to wear a swimsuit without people recoiling at the sight of my psoriatic lesions is completely worth it.
posted by Senyar 02 March | 02:31
omg Senyar! I've never mentioned this on the internet but I have psoriasis too. I don't mind the lesions really cause they can get controlled by topical creams (and I'm a guy so I'm always covered up in regular clothing except for short sleeves) but the knock-on effect of psoriatic arthritis is getting too much for me. I've kinda mostly ignored it for the 4 years I've had it but now that I have a regular day job and am going out more I'm going to need to control the skin stuff. Plus the arthritis is starting to bother me in a real way. It was okay when it was just my fingers but these days it's getting my ankles and feet and I'm like f#&% why does it have to hurt so bad? I'm too young to be barely able to walk sometimes.

Anyway so besides fitness as appearance and fitness as health, my major goal here is also to increase my muscular strength and lower useless weight so it helps my bones
posted by Firas 02 March | 05:18
I'm very lucky that I don't have any arthritis (yet). My psoriasis is the guttate kind rather than the plaque kind which most people get. Thankfully it's mostly on my torso, so not immediately visible in normal clothes, but it still causes me some distress.

I've had it since I was 8 years old, in varying degrees of severity. I avoid steroid treatments - I've used them in the past but the psoriasis comes back much worse after the steroids have worn off. The injectable treatment (Embrel, I think it's called) used in the USA with good results isn't available in the UK.

So, being comfortable in my own skin has been a struggle for me all my life, in many ways.
posted by Senyar 02 March | 06:55
since you were eight? Yeah I can only imagine it was hard to deal with especially with the way school and kids/teens tend to be

this condition is sort of strange in that although it outwardly manifests as a skin thing it's actually an immune issue so it can screw with your whole body and there are no clear answers for how to deal with it. Things like Embrel and other advanced treatments although they're more precise than older medicines can also be dangerous in the way they disrupt the immune system. Living in India I'd hate to find I randomly got tuberculosis in my lowered immunity state just cause I was trying to treat psoriasis lol
posted by Firas 02 March | 12:29
Good post. I need to work through some issues right now, and discipline/impulse control is part of that. When I've been successful, I've thought along the same lines really, although I never put it into words. But reading the cheesy stuff you posted.... spot on. Thanks.
posted by Doohickie 02 March | 12:50
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