This morning I was talking with my friend Jerry about the progress on my book about the Love Our Life diet plan. We were talking about various problems of controlling our eating habits. I think it was I who said, “I can control my elbow.” We laughed and bantered between the two of us about how we couldn’t get our elbow to our mouth when we said, “I can’t control my mouth” – “I can’t control my hands.” Thinking back on that it was probably me who said those words because Jerry wouldn’t talk in negatives like that. It was all in jest but there was an idea there worth noting, so I did. I wrote in my notebook:
I may not be able to control my hands or mouth but I can control my elbow.
Previously, I had been thinking about various similar problems for the LOL book and the good technique of keeping in your conscious awareness the ability to just quietly walk away. That strategy works at public events where there is a free snack table with lots of cake and cookies. It’s a good strategy when a serious problem is developing that you can’t control or do anything about. One strategy is to just ignore such a problem, which might develop into an inner conflict when you just keep doing what you are doing. Unfortunately, that might lead to getting involved when you don’t want to. An alternative strategy is, in full conscious awareness, to simply walk quietly away, if necessary pretending that you have important business to attend to elsewhere. Never run away, as that creates a feeling of being pursued and leads to a panicky feeling and a loss of self-control when you need it the most. Also, it communicates anxiety to other people around you if they see you hurrying away, and they might go into an anxiety-mood and panic also, which would communicate back to you in a negative feedback loop.
I am thinking that there may be a similar response occurring in obese people. They cluster together in a kind of subdued but sustained panic, seeking emotional support, and they seem to feel that they are validated and are okay by being with people like themselves. Yesterday, at the B&N bookstore coffee shop, I commented to Debbie that ten out of ten women sitting around us were clearly obese. She quibbled, that two of them weren’t obese, they were only overweight. I saw them as ectomorphs with a lot of flab. Generally, most people here in Bend, Oregon, are in good physical shape so the situation was a bit unusual. All the same, there were three separate tables with obese women happily chatting.
I can control some aspects of my behavior, and I am wondering if I might intentionally develop a game where we become conscious of our elbows when eating.