Each of us have different opinions regarding the umpteen things surrounding us. Those opinions are all based on our basic ideologies and principles in life. For instance, some might find today’s “work hard, party harder” culture to be intriguing, some find it hard to accept the live-in relationships and so on. Even at a restaurant when we are seated we love to glance around and comment on the different individuals who enjoy their food-for instance, the sight of a fat person munching on a cheesy pizza makes us wonder how on Earth this person can eat a hearty meal with no self-control while he/she is so fat! What you don’t know maybe is the fact that this piece of pizza could be his/her only cheat meal after some three months of heavy workout and weight loss.
Testing Self-control Levels
Self-control has not been many people’s forte! But if you think deeply, self-control is a skill that all of us possess and is one primary skill needed to achieve our desired goals. But individuals are also very strict in setting very high expectations for self-control. They blame themselves for the smallest downslides that happen due to lack of self-control focusing more on the failures than successes. The best examples of self-control arise from the ones related to eating and weight loss themselves. There are many individuals who love to lose weight and start their dieting regimen or whatever it is with complete josh and all the hype. But in course of time the interest to lose weight withers as the desire to eat has an overpowering effect on the same. Especially in this world that’s full of weekend parties, calorie-rich processed foods and pizzas arranged to celebrate team accomplishments staying on your weight loss goal with food restrictions and daily commitments to exercise is taxing.
Meanwhile, indulging in a small piece of chocolate or treating yourself to a cup of kheer cannot be branded as lack of self-control. There are cheat meals attached with even weight loss programs prescribed by dietitians these days as surviving on salads, greens and pulses without any of your desired foods is not practical. Such stringent restrictions can only end up in dissolving the entire purpose of a weight loss program making the individual go back on his/her eating habits.
Self-control has always been associated with the ability or inability to abstain from ‘hedonic consumption’ – eating sugary or fatty foods. It has always been believed that decisions on choosing food have been made by taking a choice between health and pleasure. When pleasure is chosen over health, it has always been linked to self-control failure. But there are some experts who argue that exerting self-control does not mean sacrificing pleasure and for something to be branded as a self-control violation the choice must be accompanied by regret and go against some long-term goals held by the individual. For instance, when you are given a choice between salad and a piece of cake it would be deemed as abstinence from self-control when a person trying to lose weight chooses the cake over the salad as the calorie-rich cake is sure to increase total calorie intake of the person. But some health experts argue that it is not the consumption of cake that is a signal of failure but is a question whether you would regret eating the cake after eating it. If you have consumed only a small piece of cake it cannot be termed as failure of self-control as you have not eaten enough to trigger calorie increase or prevent weight loss.
Foods cannot be branded as either good or bad in a one-sided fashion. It also depends on how much, how frequently and what type of food is consumed. Also, if the person is good with his/her body weight and does not show inclinations towards regretting their food choices then it cannot be termed as lack of self-control in any case. Please stop feeling that eating unhealthy foods makes you unworthy of self-control. Try tackling your weight loss problems and pursue a healthy lifestyle by sticking with your dietary plans (guided by a professional dietitian or nutritionist). Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help you with your diet plan for weight loss. Stay within your delegated portion limits but going off limits rarely should not be a hindrance nor a sign of lost self-control. After all, we are humans!
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.