What is self-control?
Self-control is the ability to delay gratification. When you are able to delay gratification you are able to put off your need to have a reward until later. For example, a delay in gratification might be when it is that you have done something, lets just say you have loaded the dish washer, your gratification might be that you are expecting someone to say good job! For a person who can delay their need to have gratification, when the recognition does not come, are able to move on, do other things, and wait until their good deed becomes noticed. A person who does not have the ability to delay gratification will stop everything, demand the gratification, acknowledgment of their deed, immediately.
So what is the difference between the two?
For those that have the ability to delay gratification their self-control has been shown to result in better success in life. There are three problem levels that each of us has difficulty with: self, other, and the world. Self, is to do with your personal sense of well being, both physically and mentally. Other, is to do with the relationships that you have whether they be at home or at work. The world, is to do with how society functions and the ability to be able to follow societal rules.
Those that have the ability to delay gratification are able to override their impulses and urges. Whereas, those that do not have the ability to delay gratification have an overactive reward centre of the brain. The brain actually functions differently and is structured differently. For those that are able to delay gratification they have an overactive prefrontal cortex which elicits self- control. A study (TURMAN) has shown that people who are generally able to maintain self control have been shown to do better physically, psychologically, emotionally, have a tendency to be more educated, less likely to be convicted of a crime, less likely to get divorced, and have a longer and healthier life overall.
It is important to recognize that those that are generally able to maintain self control has very little to nothing to do with how smart you are. People who are generally able to maintain self- control has been shown to be a much more important predictor to how well a person does in school. Those that are generally able to maintain self-control are two times more likely to not only complete school but do well in school, then those that have a high IQ.
Everyone struggles with self-control at times. Self-control has to do with both persistence and strength to overcome obstacles. It is important to recognize that you are able to increase your ability to have self control with practice. It takes mental energy in order to be able to maintain self-control and each of us has a limited amount of energy. We are all naturally inclined to seek out routines because routines focus our attention and our energy and when we plan ahead it helps us to better be able to perform and meet our goals.
As we have said previously, mood follows food. Your energy and mood responds based upon the glucose levels you have in your body. There are two types of hypoglycaemia. Reactive hypoglycaemia is when there is an excessive release of insulin into your system, following a highly refined carbohydrate meal. On the other-hand primary hypoglycaemia occurs when there is an inadequate supply of carbohydrates in the system.
Hypoglycaemia occurs when the level of glucose in your blood drops below normal levels. When you have a drop in your blood glucose level you can experience a wide range of symptoms. When people suffer reactive hypoglycaemia their mood changes. You can experience irritability, anxiety, light-headedness, nervousness, weakness, confusion, panic, and cravings for sweets. Hypoglycaemia can appear as severe mood swings and as such it can be mistaken for anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, depression, and hypoglycaemia can actually be a result of carbohydrate addiction because with carbohydrate addiction there is an excessive release of insulin followed by high carbohydrate intake of refined sugars, causing reactive hypoglycaemia. Generally speaking when people are highly chronically stressed this sets the stage for the nasty cycle of the need for refined sugar consumption, creating energy bursts to overcome the chronic stress but results in a bottoming out of reactive hypoglycaemia, creating the need to eat more refined sugar, and the cycle goes around.
Hypoglycaemia is associated with lightheadedness, mood changes, and foggy thinking because the brain is not receiving as much blood sugar as it needs in order to be able to function properly. Hypoglycaemia is seen in people with drug and food addictions including alcoholism as well as cigarette smoking. People with hypoglycaemia are often reaching for comfort foods which generally speaking are high in sugar and high in poor quality fats. The sugars and fats release opioids in the brain creating a pleasure response that can also result in being put to sleep. We often turn to food in order to comfort our stress as well as unpleasant emotions. Food can become a part of a self-comforting strategy. Foods high in sugar and poor quality fats cause inflammation and other adverse reactions.
People who suffer from hypoglycaemia may be deficient in essential fatty acids. When decreasing or eliminating refined carbohydrates and sugars many will suffer the symptoms of withdrawal resulting in severe mood swings and irritability. As such, there is a linkage between hypoglycaemia and carbohydrate addiction. So the next time you say ‘I am hypoglycaemic’ you are actually really saying ‘I have a sugar addiction’.
So how to overcome your addiction?
Replace those refined carbohydrates with healthy high quality proteins and fats. Eat your vegetables as your primary source of carbohydrates. Eat small amounts of high quality protein, fat, and vegetables. Food can be a part of your self-comforting strategy, only you have to do it with awareness, it has to be a cognitive effort to make choices that will enhance your health. Comforting yourself with food is fine, it is just that you have to be able to choose healthy comfort foods and eat them in moderation.
Yesterday we talked about how your metabolic ancestry is determined by the geographical region you come from, as well as your ethnic group, in order to meet the needs of that particular culture.
So, when you take a look at a map, if your ancestry is from the colder climate areas, north or south, such as Canada, Russia, Scandinavia, England, then those are the carnivore based regions. If your ancestry on the other hand is America, Mexico, Asia, those are the areas of the mixed types. The vegetarians are a smaller grouping, from Northern South America, Japan, and mid Africa, while everything south of those regions are the mixed type.
Lets take a look at my genetics because my genetics are to do with Britain, Ireland, Scotland, and a little bit of French. So based upon this alone we are definitely looking at the carnivore type. What I find so interesting about the Keto diet is that it is really based in the carnivore type, high fat, high protein, low carb, little to no grains.
Let me tell you, over these last few months I have really experienced a transformation, not only physically, because I have definitely been losing the weight, but also I have been feeling emotionally and psychologically stronger. This past week, deciding to do The Edge Walk at the CN Tower, and spending time being in Toronto, I had the opportunity to re-establish a much more mixed type/vegetarian diet from before I took on the Keto.
All that was served for breakfast and lunch was fruit and danishes, salads, and as much bread as you could possibly fill yourself with, pasta, as well as fish.
I did a very good job staying away from the bread, totally not of interest to me. The one thing I found really bazaar was how much water I was desperate for, there just wasn’t enough water. I was constantly thirsty. No eggs were served. No meat other than seafood was served, and as such I had to rely upon salads. The couple of opportunities of which meat was served it was served in a stir fry, battered, covered in sweet sauce. So now that I have had the opportunity to reflect upon my newly embraced carnivore type, I realize that my body does not do well as soon as I start to lower my percentage from carnivore to mixed to basically vegetarian. I became tired, irritable, gassy as fuck, bloated, and with the constant feeling of being bunged up.
I will have to admit that at a certain point I said to myself, I am going home in a couple of days, I won’t have this again, so I decided to indulge in the things that I do not normally indulge in. I had oatmeal for the first time in a year. It was good. I had non-sweetened yogurt with fruit for flavouring, and I have not had yogurt in a good year. I had cheesecake and it was good, the first cheesecake that I have had that is not made with sweetener and it was good. I had pecan pie because I just said fuck it. I have not had pecan pie in quite a while. I tried to stick to watermelon, for the fruit that were served because I find I do well with watermelon, but I found it was just too much, every day.
We had Japanese cuisine and I keep wondering to myself ‘why do I keep ordering the sushi when the sashimi is just as good and doesn’t make me feel like shit.’??? So now that I am back home and I have had my mastery experience and I have had the opportunity to re-engage with how it was I was living life before I took on the Keto (without any candies, sweets, chocolates, bread, muffins, danishes, which I would have eaten prior) I totally and completely know that I am a carnivore type, and I need to embrace it. It is nice to walk on the other side for a short period of time, but it is also nice to go home. Back to the diet.
What diet works best for you?
We all have an ancestry and that ancestry had its own particular diet. These foods pertain to specific cultural genetics that were meant to optimize nourishment and take into account tradition, vary by geographical regions as well as ethnic groups, relevant to the local produce in the area, in order to meet the needs of that particular culture. This also means that our ancestry and our genetics influence how we digest food and what we actually really need from the food that we are eating. This means that we all have our own biochemical individuality, of how it is that we are governed by our culture/ genetic background and environmental heritage as well as something called the Kreb cycle, which is the rate of glucose oxidation. The diet spectrum ranges from vegetarian to carnivore.
So what this highlights is that according to your own bio-individuality, your nutritional needs are determined biochemically at the individual level and therefore your nutrition in order to be effective must be tailored to your metabolism. So therefore, it is important to be able to identify what kind of body you have, what you are able to digest and metabolize for food. Those of us that are fast oxidizers burn glucose too rapidly. Fast oxidizers require more protein and fat consumption in order to slow down the rate of glucose combustion in the Kreb cycle. Slow oxidizers on the other hand do not burn up glucose rapidly enough requiring a higher percentage of higher glucose, meaning that they need to eat less proteins and fats and do better on more plant proteins. Then there are the mixed types who do well with a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Oxidation is the rate at which we burn carbohydrates or glucose, all governing the amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that our bodies require. This determines the correct amount we need to consume, which results in our acids/alkaline variations in our blood pH. When we have the right amount of oxidation for what our body requires it enhances proficiency and performance, whereas if we are on a diet that does not work for us it can actually lead to decline and disease. Dependant upon your metabolic type will determine how you will function both physically and mentally. Metabolic types are on a spectrum, at one end of the spectrum is carnivore, in the middle of the spectrum is omnivore, and on the other end of the spectrum is vegetarian.
Carnivores are fast oxidizers and therefore need a lot of animal protein. The high protein diet and high fat diet slows down the rate of oxidization to stabilize blood sugar. Carnivores need to eat a diet consisting of 30% protein, 20% carbohydrates, and 50% fat. Fruits and vegetables are okay but grains need to be minimized. Mixed oxidizers do well with a mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrates which balance the rate of oxidation to stabilize blood glucose. They need 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fat, benefiting from a wide range of foods. Slow oxidizers are the vegetarians, consuming vegetables and fruits with low to no animal proteins, they need a lower fat diet in order to speed up the rate of oxidation to stabilize blood sugar. Their rates are 25% protein, including nuts, legumes, fish and egg, 60% carbohydrates and 15% fats.
If you are feeling depressed, have heart disease, sedentary, sick or stressed, this may be an indicator that you need to change your percentages.
Mechanisms of Adaptation
All of us have come across difficulties in our lives and these difficulties have shaped us. We all have defensive strategies which are specifically designed to not only increase our sense of safety but also to assure survival.
We have talked about these mobilizing defences of fight and flight and freeze, only the truth is that these are protectors that kick into gear as soon as it is that we come across a situation that agitates our need to protect ourselves. This is how it is that we have learned to adapt, however, there are adaptive defences as well as maladaptive defences. The key is to be able to notice your defences, to know when it is that you have actually engaged your all consuming soldier, to recognize that you have now detected a threat and are therefore now responding accordingly. If your response is adaptive it means that in this particular situation it is well called for. If for example, you are in a scary situation and you have put up your walls in order to protect yourself then this is adaptive.
However, if you are in a situation that is social and there is actually no reason for self-protection, then putting up your walls is actually mal-adaptive. What happens is we actually set up internal working models that become encoded in procedural memory. They later become unconscious strategies of how it is that we regulate our emotion. These strategies include adaptations such as putting up walls, hiding, not feeling safe, the need to engage someone else in order to take care of you, not being able to think for yourself so you do what others tell you to do, hurting others before they can hurt you, making others feel bad in order to protect yourself, matching yourself to others to have your needs met, needing to be the centre of attention, constantly rescuing others or doing things to be accepted, idolizing others even when they reject or hurt you, perfectionism, constantly needing to be on the go.
A soldier in regards to eating is about creating walls of fat in order to be able to protect and hide and keep people away, it is a way to stay safe a way of not being seen or heard because of the wall of fat, and if there isn’t anyone to cling to, food becomes the companion. Not being able to help yourself, so the food takes care of you and entertains you. You eat because others are eating, even if you do not want to or do not even like it or you do not even think it is right in order to fit in, and when someone might point out that you are actually engaging your all consuming soldier you become tough and strike out with defensiveness or an attack in order to keep you safe, making others feel bad.
The all consuming soldier can also play out in an opposite effect of a person so desperately needing to be seen, that they make themselves stand out as different physically. Another way to stand out is to constantly try to be helpful. You feel the need to be accepted and can’t achieve the goal any other way. Another way is to look the same as everyone else, and if they are overweight, then by matching the way others are looking, you do not stand out in any way, but now can fit in!
One profession that comes to mind is that of nursing. Nurses have a tendency to be the number one profession for being over weight.
The Head, The Heart And The Body
There are three different ways in which we process. The head is to do with our cognitive processing, the heart is to do with how we feel, and the body is to do with our somatic processing. The head is to do with how it is that we tell ourselves good, as well as bad stories, our good thoughts as well as our bad thoughts. This is to do with how we make sense cognitively. This is to do with the brain and how the brain processes. Our left brain is to do with the logistics and the numerics. The right brain is to do with the artistics, the story telling, anfd the feelings. Feelings are to do with the hear and now of how the heart processes. The heart has to do with whatever it is that is happening in the here and now and how it feels. This is a completely different processing system then the head.
The heart tells important information in regards to the story of what it is that has happened. It is a sensory guide. The body as well is a sensory guide and gives important information in regards to the sensory component. The heart might long for it, whereas the body might crave it. The body tells a bodily story based upon history and experience. The body remembers the bodily sensory experiences of when bad things have happened or when previous needs have not been met, especially in regards to food. If food equals belonging and love, and when these experiences have not been met, especially in conjunction with bad things that have happened to the body, then the body longs for theses good feelings, feel it to your core. These are experiences of deprivation in which the body needs to be filled, and if you feel the need to eat and eat and eat, it means that the body has been deprived of belonging or has experienced trauma, at some point along your journey.
The head might make sense of it, by rationalizing it or by having either negative of mixed feelings. The heart on the other hand, might make emotional sense of it, and also might end up with negative or mixed feelings. Yet the body always remembers when it was that there was a sense of desperation and/or the longing for attachment. These attachment deprivations are huge, and the body needs to fill them in one way or another, so if the body can not fill the void literally, it fills the void metaphorically and finds what it needs in order to fill the void with the much longed for need of belonging.
The need for belonging replaces the need of another attachment figure with that of food. Food becomes a new attachment figure and by eating the void gets filled. The negative feelings, the empty feelings, whether they be feelings of being bored or sad, disappear, and the food fills the void. The brain might say “stop” the heart might say “stop” but the truth is the body rules the day because it is the body that is longing for the attachment.
Your feelings outline your story. We carry all sorts of stories within us and when we discover them, through our feelings it enables us to make better sense of who we are. We have good stories, stories that make us proud, stories that make us happy, and we also have stories that bring us hurt and pain. These are the stories of shame and fear, anger, sadness, etc. We have a tendency to hide these stories, keep them safe inside, not give them a voice, not give them space to be heard or seen or known, and therefore not giving them an opportunity to heal. There are three ways in which we have to process our stories, stories may come to us from our mind, the things that we say about ourselves, from the heart which are to do with our feelings, and our body which is to do with our sensations, and how our body talks to us, and as well how it looks and feels and what it is that we have done to it.
Our stories are both guide and messenger, they represent something of where it is that we have been to, how we felt about it, and how we have made sense of it. So, it is important to be able to get in touch with these three ways of being when you come across negative feelings, negative thoughts, and body sensations. So when you get in touch with the feeling associated with a food, then it is important to be able to identify what that feeling needs. So for example lets just say you are at an event and you are provided with a huge plateful of really good smelling cookies. It is really important to be able to get in touch with your thoughts, your feelings, and your body sensations and where these feelings are hanging out in your body, and remember that feelings are our messengers and our guides. It is important to be able to sit with the feeling and be with the feeling.
What is your mind telling you? What are the voices saying to you? Take a breath and realize that this is an important story teller. Now, get in touch with your heart, what are your feelings telling you? Take a breath and realize that this is a story teller. Take a look at your body, what are the sensations in your body telling you? Take a breath and realize that your body is a story teller. The reality is, that we need to be able to increase our capacity and to be able to sit and be with these thoughts, emotions, and sensations. To be able to do this and not react to them, not to play into them, not respond to them, to do this is an act of triumph. It is important to be able to identify what these thoughts, feelings and sensations are, and to have a response of compassion for these feelings. Self-compassion is a combination of both self-kindness and self- love.
This helps you to be able to tolerate the intolerable. When you get in touch with the need for survival and/or self criticism, they activate the threat system, meaning that you are getting in touch with your reptilian or mammalian brain, not your prefrontal cortex, meaning that you are reacting and not thinking. To be able to connect with self-compassion means that you are actually able to think the situation through, to be able to obtain what you are actually really wanting.
Milestones are monumental achievements that need to be recognized and rewarded. It is a really good idea in regards to your weight loss goals to be able to break them down to milestone accomplishments. Breaking the 200 barrier for me is my milestone achievement. So what did I decide to do to celebrate this milestone achievement? Just you wait and see!
First off, because my body has changed so much I am now able to wear clothes that I have not been able to wear ever. I invested in summer dresses, I have not worn a summer dress since I was 5 years old. Not only have I actually been wearing my summer dresses, but I have actually been wearing them with out a jacket. I have not exposed my arms to the air for two decades. I have actually gone out in public in my new wardrobe, I will admit -a little self conscious, however still grabbing a hold of this monumental milestone moment with gusto.
Next, I had a fabulous moment where my friend, co-writer and co-actor of our new web series commented with concern that some already shot scenes might need to be reshot because even over Skype, while just looking at my face he could see I had lost a considerable amount of weight. Another milestone moment of breaking the 200!
Another moment was when my mom let me in on a conversation that she had with my dad in which he commented that my whole appearance has changed, and that I am looking really great.
I have gone through my wardrobe, cleaned out all of my now baggy clothes and found clothes that I have not been able to fit in for years. Belts that now fit, shirts that were too tight on my arms I am now wearing, a summer dress that I had bought a month ago and to my disappointment was too tight on my arms and I couldn’t wear it, I now nicely fit into it.
Also, I have actually been paying attention when I go out to how people are looking at me now, and how different those looks are. Before I picked up disdain in the way people looked at me, but lately, under the 200, I have actually experienced people checking me out. It feels so liberating.
All of this confirms that I have achieved the milestone that I was looking for. It is not just the achievement of the number, it is the achievement of the new response to the number. The experience of new opportunity, new life, the new feeling of excitement and energy.
A milestone moment needs a milestone experimental reward to go along with it, so I am on my way to celebrate at the top of the CN tower. I am going to the SkyWalk and look out over the city scape of Toronto above the clouds to match my experience of my new outlook on life. Photos tomorrow!
How long were you breast fed?
An important consideration in regards to obesity has to do with the question of whether or not you were breast fed and for how long. There is an association between breast feeding and a lower incidence in obesity in adult life. There are actual changes in the compilation in human milk that act as a cue for the duration of nursing, as well as a marked increase in fat content which provides a signal to the infant to stop feeding. This indicates that there is a natural appetite control mechanism protecting from overfeeding. Bottle fed infants do not develop such a control mechanism, because in bottle feeding there is a uniform composition in formula as well the mother affects the amount that is consumed. There are physiologic differences in breast fed and non breast fed infants because bottle fed infants consume significantly more milk than breast fed infants.
There is a greater insulin release in bottle fed infants as well. Insulin stimulates fat disposition, affecting the early development of fat tissue and as such has a relationship to fat cell number as well as cellular fat content of fat tissue. There is convincing evidence that over feeding in infancy leads to an increase in the number lipocytes and fat cells and fat content, two of the characteristics or obesity. There are two critical periods in the proliferation of fat tissue. One is before the age of two and the other is during the adolescent growth spurt. Before the age of two, is directly related to infant malnutrition while during the adolescent growth spurt maybe due to the result of accumulative fat content of the fat cells.
There are differences in body composition between milk fed and formula fed infants. Milk fed infants deposit more fat and breast fed babies have a tendency to be leaner than those that are bottle fead. Bottle fed infants have a tendency to be over fed. There is a significant protective effect of beta feeding against obesity in adolescents and young adults. Obesity is largely determined in the first two years of life and breast versus bottle might be a major determining factor. The nutrients in breast milk might be somewhat lower in concentration in order to avoid depriving the mother of her nutritional requirements, and therefore the breast fed infant is slightly underfed and therefore protected from obesity, providing that there is no overfeeding after weaning.
One of the questions of the intake process of the Emotionally Focussed Eating program is to do with breast feeding. The reason being that nutrition before the age of two is actually extremely important in regards to resulting obesity. Those that are not breast fed have a tendency to be able to have difficulty in fat disposition. It is important to recognize that your start in life is hugely important to where it is that you are now. Your start in life is actually out of your control, if mom was stressed during pregnancy with an increase in stress hormones then this has infant impact. If breast feeding was non existent or minimal, then the ability to be able to signal fullness already has negative impact.
It is good to recognize that these are elements that are out of your control and yet, they may explain a lot to why it is or how it is that you are where it is that you are. Recognizing it is half the battle, dealing with it is the other half.
Fear or Fantasy
Fear is to do with what it is that you imagine as real, meaning that you are creating your own experience by projecting something negative into your future, creating a movie in your mind. The brain actually really can’t tell the difference between a real event, an imagined event, or even a story you have been told about you and your history. We use our imagination for good or evil, so you can use your imagination to scare yourself or calm yourself. It is good to recognize that fear creates ambivalence, and ambivalence is to do with being neither here nor there, you can be in or you can be out, and as such when ambivalent you don’t take action, you are really not all in because deep down you are afraid of the pain of the change to be healthy. Looking at the zero to ten scale, the number 5 is ambivalence, anything below 5 is avoidance and anything above 5 is commitment.
In commitment, you use your mental power to visualize motivations to succeed. Anything below 6 it is important to recognize that you use your mental power of visualization to be afraid. Fears are self created, and the reality is that you do have the power to change them, you can visualize a positive outcome and on the other hand you can choose to self-sabotage. To visualize a positive outcome you have to be able to imagine a picture of what you do want. Many people are afraid to take action because they are afraid to fail, probably because they have failed before. It is important to realize that failure is a way in which we learn. We learn by bouncing off the walls. We do not learn by going in a straight line. When we bounce off the walls we gain in experience, which in turn gives us wisdom.
Success is determined by how we define failure. If you are still trying to succeed in your weight loss journey then you have to redefine failure as feedback. Therefore, if you have had difficulties in the past with weight management, the important thing to recognize is that it actually really wasn’t failing, it was to do with learning. So therefore, you need to be able to redefine failures in the past by accepting the attempts that you have made, and the fact that each of those has created learning. The reality is, that in order to be able to attain what you really want is the fact that you need to be able to accomplish personal growth work. Personal growth work deals with the route cause of the reason behind why you have not been able to succeed. It is important to be able to acknowledge what you have learned, despite the failures of the past and be able to congratulate yourself for the fact you have tried to take action.
It is important to recognize that in these failed attempts you have gained in significant feed-back to be able to know what works for you and also, what does not.