Earlier I was in another part of the office building where I work, making some deliveries of paperwork to folks, and I ran across a spread of homemade cookies and goodies. I looked. I thought about it. I wanted one of those chocolate chip cookies so bad! But I turned around and walked the other way without partaking.
For the past several weeks I have been working on Impulse Control. So far today I'm 1 for 2.
So what's the big deal about Impulse Control, anyway? I'm glad you asked. During a discussion a month or so ago with a WLS friend, we were discussing the difference between Food Addiction and Compulsive Eating. I know that many in the bariatric community struggle with a food addiction and those who don't usually have some level of obsessive compulsive disorder that shows up in some form or another as compulsive eating. (Thank you Dr. Williams for teaching me about the differences and helping me discover where I stand on the spectrum.)
To read more about this stuff, here are some links:
- Food Addiction (and another link)
- Compulsive Eating
- Impulse Control Disorder
- Obsessive / Compulsive Disorder
I'm not a food addict and I don't believe I have a full-blown mental disorder for any of the others I've listed above. But I know I struggle with some minor level of compulsive eating that is somehow based in impulse control. Binge eating, out-of-control frenzied feelings, overeating and grazing all fall into this category. I've already got some OCD tendencies in other areas of my life where I like things neat and orderly and symmetrical and "just so" -- so it makes sense that it would flow over into my relationship with food. (by the way, those "neat and orderly" tendencies don't extend to all areas of my life - just putting that out there for those who have seen my messy kitchen and wonder if I've lost my mind with that statement LOL!)
I don't believe I'm into this compulsive eating stuff so deep that I have "binge eating disorder" or "compulsive overeating" -- but there are times when grazing can get out of control or I eat based on impulse rather than in a deliberate or planned way.
This impulsiveness with food seems to show itself in other areas of my life too. Impulsive shopping/buying is the one that I seem to notice the most. Never to the point of financial ruin - in fact, I'm debt-free and don't even use credit cards - so I'm not actually spending money that I don't have to spend. But, just like all of us, I sure could use a bit more padding in my retirement and savings accounts and cutting back on those impulsive purchases might help those accounts grow faster.
So I'm making a conscious effort these days to pay closer attention to my impulse control. Nothing formal or rigid - just trying to be more aware of why I make decisions throughout the day.
Isn't it fascinating how we continually learn new things about ourselves as we go through this WLS Journey? Remember the days when we'd just float through life in a blissful daze of disinterest in what was really happening around us or within us? Nowadays I seem to in-tuned with my body and my mental state and seem to notice stuff like never before. So right now I'm working on the impulse stuff. Who knows what else I'll learn about myself in the next phase of self-discovery...