Is Self Control An Issue For You? I've Found Something That Worked For Me.

Do you have an ongoing problem with a habit that you just can't break? Does the term willpower bring you out in a rash? Welcome to being normal.

The Marshmallow Test Book, Walter Mischel

My first thing to say here is that it's ok to struggle with something, we are human beings & not robots.  

For years and years I've berated myself about the extra 5/6 stones I've carried on my body.  Clothes don't fit and my confidence dented, I knew that I wanted to lose the extra fat, I just had no idea how - until I came across Psychologist Walter Mischel and something shifted.

You might ask what this has to do with my being a dog portrait artist?  The thing is,  it’s all linked. How I feel about myself in person, is linked to how I feel about my abilities and how I conduct my business.

I’ve been conflicted for years.  On the one hand, I LIKED, ENJOYED and LOVED my body being curvy, warm and welcoming to my children.  I like the buffer I had, the strange feeling of security I felt in having folds of flesh. On the hand, I knew that heading into my 50’s (I’m 47 this year) with my blood pressure was too high, the strains on the NHS and the fact that I couldn’t run for a bus without nearly passing out - it mattered to me.

Queue confliction.

The stories I felt above had me frozen.

I’m a big fan of audiobooks.  I have an account where I download one book a month via audible and listen to them as I’m painting in my studio. Every month I look forward to my credit and think about what book I can get lost in as I work.

Sometimes I buy national treasures, such as the Six Novels by Jane Austin - primarily to see what all the fuss is about (interestingly as I was nearing the end of the books, my painting became awfully dainty and proper, I find this hilarious)  Needless to say I loved them.   Other times I buy books that I can grow from, business books and how-to's -   such as Jen Sincero, You Are A Badass which filled me with gumption and inspired me to be better in my work and business.

Early in Winter, I downloaded, The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel.

I could give you the nub of the book but simply put, he does it so much better.  

This book helped me to understand the why in the confliction I felt.  

I’m no psychologist but I am interested in human behaviour.  For YEARS people have told me that the key to losing weight is a simple calculation - what you put inside needs to be less how much energy you use up daily, they told me how wonderful I would feel without the weight, along with the self-loath-making odd comments - should I reallly be ordering the cheesecake.  All born of love but painful none the less.

I was missing a connection and in The Marshmallow Test I found it.  

Mischel delivered and understanding to me about WHY I couldn’t make the choices I wanted to.  It was a fascinating listen.

Just before New Year, I went along to my local Slimming World class for my initial weigh in and I agreed with myself that I would give myself time to attend these sessions.  That was it. I didn’t promise myself that I’d lose X amount of weight by X month, or buy clothes in smaller sizes in preparation for being smaller, I just promised myself that I would turn up weekly for as long as it took for my pattern and my body to alter.

So far I’ve lost about two and a half stones but in truth I’m not fussed.  I feel better yes, I’ve bags more confidence (hence my blogging) and I squirm a bit when people notice my weight loss.  I don’t give myself pressure, I have an understanding now that I didn’t have before and this has been my turning point.

I’ve about 3 more stones to go and I know I will get there in time.  Once I do, my journey becomes about not regaining it (I recognise that I could put it back on in a heartbeat).  I have a deal with myself that the longer I take to lose my weight the more chance I have of it becoming my new normal.

This summer saw me falling back into old ways and although I turned up for weekly weigh-in’s I wasn’t practising what got me thus far.  4 or 5 weeks of putting on a pound or two weekly, I recognised that with the children off school my routine was up the spout but still, my understanding was becoming blurred again.

I returned to my book and began listening again.

I'm back where I was, my understanding has returned even two chapters down.  

I hope this helps.  I’m not into blogging about personal journeys away from work but given the impact and clarity I have having returned to my book, I thought it might help.

We all have things, the key is in spending a little time learning why.


Quick note to say that my post is unaffiliated and unsponsored.