Thursday, April 22, 2010

On discipline...

I was surfing through a variety of fitness blogs...I definitely have my favorites that I like to follow. Then I happened to click on the sidebar of one of these blogs, which is titled the Fighter Diet. It showcases the ramblings of a former figure competitor and fitness model by the name of Pauline Nordin. She marches to the beat of her own drummer/rhythm. She is 'ripped and shredded' to a degree that I really don't care to attain. But there is no denying that she has a smokin' body. I'd just like to see her with a 'softer' look--not quite so hard.

There was a recent post from her blog that made me really sit up and take notice. It was titled "How Do You Discipline Yourself?" It is reprised below:

"How Do You Discipline Yourself?" by Pauline Nordin

To discipline is not to punish. To discipline is to analyze what caused you to derail from your plan and then take proper actions in order to prevent it from reoccurring. If you go off your diet plan, it's not because you have no willpower, but willpower is not reliable. You can have a lot of willpower, but what happens those moments you simply don't really want to win the urge to cheat?

You let yourself cheat or go off your diet because you condition yourself into believing this will be the last time ever. It never is though, is it? You are always very strong and have high motivation after a slip; it's because you feel bad OR you are on a sugar high and think you are actually gonna make it this time. All is great until you binge again.

Successful dieting and fat loss comes from conscious thinking and reasoning. When the urge to eat appears in your mind, ask yourself why. What will eating do for you? What will that chocolate candy bar do for you beyond the pleasure of eating it that lasts for a minute or so? If you choose not to follow the mind's wish to eat it, what do you gain? You gain the first victory. You must gain many consecutive victories before your brain realizes that's how it works.

When you cheat, you condition your brain into knowing you will give in. If the urge is just strong enough, you will give in. Every time you cheat, you give the brain history information about how you tackle triggers...

Just like alcoholics are pretty much doomed to hang around other alcoholics if they want to quit drinking, you will have a tough time managing cravings if you sometimes give in, sometimes not. You must be consistent. When you are consistent, you know there is no darn way in the whole world you will derail from your plan of action and in knowing that you find strength. When you are not your own worst enemy, you find strength. You should not be scared of being left alone with the cookie box!

Throughout my years being into fitness, I've disciplined myself daily. I used to have chocolate bars, cookies, ice cream--yes all my triggers around me just to prove to myself that they would not affect me. I was close sometimes to give in of course. But it was practice--like being in school. I had all this junk food lying around until they became 'normal things' in my house. When I was not 'scared' of them, they lost their magic. Every day I told myself, "Pauline, you go ahead, you can have it all, but remember there is a consequence and don't tell yourself you have no idea why you are not as lean as you want."

Since I could not justify to myself to eat and blame 'bad genetics' or 'don't know why I don't get leaner, I do everything right--EVERYTHING. I just did not eat. I even tried to find reasons for giving in and enjoying some candy. I put up 10 arguments about it to see if I wanted it:

1. It tastes soooo good. 2. It's perfect time now when it's Friday and all. 3. It's comfy. 4. I love chocolate melting in my mouth. 5. So good when you watch TV. 6. Now is the perfect time. I have a shoot in a few weeks so if I want to have it, I must act NOW. 7. Tastes wonderfully good.

Then I ran out of arguments...Why should I eat that bar? It's only good for a little while - then what? I had trained myself off enjoying things that are momentary. I was interested in long-term beneficial enjoyments. The bar did not benefit me. And I realized that no food can help me if I use it for pleasure or to make me feel better.

It sickened me to know that giving into cravings was self-medicating. What was I medicating myself from: boredom? hunger? If it was hunger, I knew what to eat and that would not be sweets. Boredom: well get a life, eating for the fun factor? Well--that does not go well with my body ideals!

I still practice discipline. Every day. But now I don't need to work at it hard. It's second nature to me. When someone asks me, "but why not just have a bite of this tasty treat--it really won't affect you." No they are right. It won't damage my body at all, but what's in it for me? What do I gain? Why should I? And when the person's answer is "Well, because it tastes good!" I just cannot mean I am not an animal that just gives in to whatever urge or desire I feel right now, here and now...I am a thinking human being. I make decisions and commitments. And I am committed to myself and that I reassure every day by the discipline that I practice, my dedication 100%."

As Ava Cowan puts it so well in her own words - "Either you're in or you're out - period."


  1. Kim -

    Thank you for sharing this! I think Pauline was in my head! I was just contemplating a fun size Twix as I read this! Now I'm like - what? Why would I do that? This was great reading...and it'll be even better to re-read and internalize!