It’s Not Dieting- it’s about Self-Mastery

Taking myself too seriously has been a lifelong hobby of mine. Most importantly, I hate being a slave. But I have been a slave to many things. Cigarettes, sugar, and the tendency to go all or nothing with beer, with smoking when I did, and now with nicotine gum. I have always been this way. That’s why moderation scares me. I know it’s the right way, but it’s so much harder for me than all-or-nothing. At the end of the day, I want to be able to enjoy my food in moderation, and without restrictions. I want to be able to enjoy food, even pasta and bread, potatoes and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but not to be obsessed with any of it. I do believe that I will achieve that goal, and the TRUE test of ‘self-mastery’ is to be able to partake of all that life has to offer (no, not illegal drugs, etc.,) without being possessed or controlled by the craving for it.

Why do we crave food when we aren’t hungry? Why does a junkie need a fix? More importantly, why do we have the need to escape?  Is this a reflection of our high-stress lives? The modern world? Could it be our own dysfunction that we can’t deal with? There are probably more questions than answers, but I subscribe to a simple theory that much of the dysfunction is just bad habit that’s been ingrained. We can learn new ways to respond to the challenges life throws at us. We can rise up, or we can suck lollipops. We can go to the gym, or we can go for the quick-endorphin producing bowl of ice cream. There’s nothing wrong with ice cream, eaten and enjoyed. The problem begins when ice cream, or any other thing, becomes our crutch, our reason for living. I have an inner glutton that will never be satisfied by any of the materials I try to stuff into myself. The hunger I am seeking to fill comes from learning to be content in the moment, without one more thing added. I have everything I need to lead a productive, happy life, already inside of me. Giving and receiving love, in all the many ways that manifests itself, comes right under having my “Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs” met. Chocolate donuts are not necessary for my happiness.

Giving and receiving love. Releasing others from the perceived hurts and pains they have caused us, laughing with abandon, tossing away worry and fret- these are the freedom and peace bringers. Think about it, we all only have a brief span of years, in the grand scheme of things. If we are here to learn, serve, and love, there isn’t enough time for anger, worry, and numbing ourselves to our own ugliness and pain. It won’t work- the bowl of ice cream-to fix the buried memories of rejection, abuse, fears, pains, and loneliness. The meth won’t make us more productive at work, and the heroin won’t transport us to another, better reality. Beer buzzes don’t bring me to an enlightened state of being.

So, low-carb dieting is much more for me than fitting into smaller clothes, or looking better. It’s even more important than health, and feeling great. It’s truly about kicking false idols to the curb. I haven’t completed that journey, but at least I am on the road.