Monday, 12 July 2010

Putting it off...and continuing to put it off.....

I'll try and keep this post short. (I know I write too much.) I clicked on my bookmarks..and accidentally brought up something I'd saved on the subject of procrastination - putting things off. Are all would-be dieters also procrastinators? I know I am, and that my habit is affecting my weight loss.

OK, back to the beginning. I had a bad day today. I didn't binge-eat, but I just couldn't be bothered with doing the 'healthy' thing. I wanted a day off from it all. I lounged around, didn't exercise, had a trip to the shops, bought healthy foods...came back and ate. I ate reasonably healthily, but too much of it...throughout the day. I ate what I fancied, often, (good job there aren't any packets of crisps or cakes and biscuits in the house) I let house-work pile up and I just didn't care. Ugh. In quiet reflection at the end of the day (now) I feel miserable and grouchy. I have to get back on track, but part of me doesn't want to. I even opened a bottle of sparkling Pinot Grigio to go with my evening meal (a healthyish meal)...and I am on my second glass...and I just don't care. Please tell me this sounds familiar?

Tell I alone in finding it hard to live healthily EVERY SINGLE DAY? I am starting to despair of myself. I talk the talk yet get so fed up with walking the walk...and when I fail (as I have today) I dislike myself so much...and that leads to me wondering if I am worth the effort of trying to become slim and better looking. Anyone also get caught up in that vicious circle? It must be common to so many 'dieters'.

I have stalled and because tomorrow is also going to be unstructured, unless I get my head and act together I'll have another day of not liking myself much..being self-indulgent and enjoying it at the time...loving it in pressure, just a pure hedonistic do as you please' day but at the end of it, feeling quite a lot of self-hatred because time has been wasted..and precious days when I could improve myself have gone.

OK, so hatred is too strong a word but when we fail on this road we can cheerily say "Oh tomorrow will be a better day" but the realist in me hates pop-psychology. I can only fool myself for so long. (I told you I didn't do 'fluffy' very well.)

Tomorrow I have a choice. I'll get up early as usual and start my day busily, but by 9am I am at home, and can relax. Wonderful. I am alone during the day. Great. Peace, quiet and solitude. I love it, just love it after leading such a hectic and busy life. No one to bother me. No one to pressure me. However...unless I can discipline myself, my idle, and lovely care-free days will bring me down. Isn't that ironic? The pressures I absorbed during my working life - as a single parent - brought me down and made me ill eventually. Now..the lack of pressure is going to do exactly the same thing, physically and mentally unless I can somehow become my own task-master and do what has to be done. I have to structure my day and DO what has to be done. There are no punishments or sanctions for not achieving though. The only punishment is one I take. My body suffers, my head becomes wracked with guilt and I become dissatsified with myself because I just don't try hard enough.

Break the cycle. Yes. That's what has to be done, but the only person I am doing this for is me. I could walk every single day...and I do try to do that, but sometimes I don't. My life has changed for the better, but the 'off' days are still there, days when I rebel, affecting my mind and my outlook. I am 'putting off' a new healthier life every time I have 'off' days. It's self sabotage, but why? Why can't we have a plan and stick to it - forever, tweaking it (positively) as we go? I don't fall off the wagon - I almost deliberately climb off the wagon, scowling and go and hide in the barn and make myself comfortable with food. It's not for always. I'll cheer up again. I'll catch the next wagon that comes along in the morning - may be. Probably.

Here are three forms of procrastination. I recognise them all. Sounds very much like it could be labelled "Fat Person's Disease." Do any of these sound familiar?

1) Discomfort Dodging - This person avoids activities that will cause them distress, discomfort or anxiety. Rather ironically, the act of dodging the activity doesn't make it go away so tensions mount because of this avoidance.

2) Guilt-Driven - The person feels guilt over tasks undone, but rather than correct the original lack of action continues to procrastinate in order to not face up to the guilt feelings.

3) Habitual - The person has procrastinated so many times, it becomes an ingrained response. The person no longer thinks about why they do it, they feel it's just a part of themselves. It becomes an automatic response to say, "This is too hard", "I'm too tired", or to laugh it off as a character flaw.

Sigh. Tomorrow is another day. I think by at least recognising what we are doing we put something into our own personal armoury. We have to fight our own instincts. If anyone tells me it's easy I won't believe them. I do however think that with practice self-discipline DOES become easier. I shall practice some more tomorrow...I hope.

Hah. Another long post. Sorry.


  1. You're definitely not the only one who finds it hard. It's a tremendous amount of work changing your lifestyle from the one that makes you comfortable to one that pushes you into discomfort. Inertia is hard to overcome.

    I wonder if you jumped in with both feet too quickly for your character type. For me, I changed slowly over several months, adding in days of discipline until they were all that way. I don't know if you read the "my plan" (which wasn't really a plan when it started) part of my blog, but I started off just with portion reduction over several weeks then added one disciplined day a week. After I adapted to that one day, I added in another, and then didn't add another until I adapted to those two. Eventually, it was okay to be disciplined every day. Though I won't lie, it is overwhelming doing the actual food prep and planning at times - it's greatly more troublesome than just eating whatever I want or what is easy to get my hands on. That being said, even that work has become more like a "routine" as time has gone by, and I'm talking about making almost all of my own food including bread, muffins, soups, etc. I don't buy anything that is pre-made and I often have to cook two different meals for my husband and I. Few people have to put in the sort of time I do for food preparation.

    Perhaps you're trying to swim in cold water too quickly and need to ease yourself in a bit at a time. Maybe you need to give yourself a day or two per week to just do what you want without being angry at yourself. I'm not talking about going nuts and bingeing or anything, but maybe you should "schedule" a lax day for yourself so you can let up for a day without the self-criticism. Maybe you need two or three of those days to give yourself the chance to adjust to the discipline. Sure, it'll make things slower, but putting yourself down or feeling bad is going to sabotage your efforts in the long run if you don't cut yourself some planned slack.

    In regards to procrastination being labeled "fat person's disease", I don't think procrastination is related to weight. I am none of those things and never have been. My problem has been a disordered relationship with food (an emotional and psychological one), not a personality issue. I rarely procrastinate about anything.

  2. FG:
    Oh boy, I am what is behind door number 2. Another vicious cycle: I don't take care of things so I overeat and feel bad and then I I don't take care of things so I overeat.

    Would someone just put a foot in my ass and get me moving?

  3. Tell I alone in finding it hard to live healthily EVERY SINGLE DAY?

    No, you are not alone! It's really difficult, and very easy to jump off the wagon. I don't have the answer either. Let's do better tomorrow!

    Thanks for your wisdom about life working out regarding the jobless guy in my story. I needed some reassurance of that for myself!

  4. I fight for control every day. Yup, every day. It isn't at all like the books I've read where once the chap makes up his mind the weight just "falls off" magically with no real effort anymore. LOL Perhaps I haven't been able to make up my mind so continue to struggle.

  5. I am not perfect every day, and if I were, I would be absolutely insufferable.

    Today, I did not exercise. Tomorrow, I may not be able to go to the pool, as I had hoped to do. I will do some yoga, though.

    Today is over, honey. Make tomorrow a day you'll enjoy and be proud of.

  6. I definitely don't eat healthy every day! Some days are easier than others and if I give in at least a little bit I know it will stop me from jumping off the wagon and eating a billion cupcakes.

    I've also procrastinated with regards to weight loss...but I don't buy for a second that it's a fat person's anything, I'm just lazy ;)