You Don’t Need More Self Control (Independence Day Edition!)

How often do you hear or say phrases like this?

“My eating is so out of control.”

“If I could just get my weight under control . . .”

“I’m really bad at portion control.”

“I just have no self-control.”

Often in my first session with a client, they describe a lack of control as being one of their biggest problems. We all learn to talk in terms of control. We all learn that our bodies are out of control, our eating is out of control, our self-control is out of control. And so we think that what we need is more control.

Cover Art For The Gossip's Single "Standing In The Way Of Control" (courtesy of wikipedia)

What if I were to say that control is not the answer at all? What if the reason that all of these things felt out of control was a result of trying to control things?

What if relinquishing control were actually the answer?

The concept of control is aligned with the masculine paradigm.* In this paradigm, we use things like control to try to guarantee a certain outcome. For example, dieting is a very masculine paradigm way of thinking. When we diet, we try to control our eating and exercising in order to control the desired outcome of losing weight. This may actually result in the desired outcome for a while, but over time it doesn’t work, because control doesn’t work. We can never control for everything. As much as we like to think that we can, we can’t actually control our metabolism. The old “calories in/calories out” is an utter fallacy when it comes to the complex mechanism of our body.

Also, where there is control, there will eventually be rebellion. Where there is a diet, there will eventually be a binge or “slip ups.” And in the masculine paradigm, the answer to rebellion, or binges, or messing up a diet will always be more control. More control leads to a bigger rebellion, and the cycle continues.

But what if we stopped trying to control? Sounds scary, right? That’s because we live in a society that glorifies the masculine paradigm, and we’ve all learned that without the stern master of control, everything will fall apart. There is some part of us that believes that if we stop trying to control our bodies, our food choices, our choices in general, that we will be shunned by society. There’s a part of us that believes that if we let go of control, we’ll gain a thousand pounds, wear a bikini to the office, and lose our friends and family. We’ve been told that control is good for us.

More control is not the answer. More control keeps you stuck.

You may be wondering, if control is part of the masculine paradigm, what might the feminine paradigm offer in its stead?

It offers trust. Self-trust and intuition.

Image courtesy of inspirationalboost.blogspot.com

From the feminine paradigm perspective, control is not needed, because you have your own internal guidance system. You have a system within you, a collaboration of body, mind and spirit, which guides you on everything from what to eat and how much, to how to approach a situation at work, to which person is best for you to date. You could call it intuition, or you could just call it you. It’s that part of you that knows what to do, even when the outside world tells you that you don’t. The more you trust this inner voice, this inner knowing, the more loud and clear it becomes. The more you act upon it, the less out of control you feel, because it was never about control in the first place.

So this week, in honor of Independence Day, ask yourself if there are any parts of your life that you want to try to control less. See how it affects your well-being, and tell me about it in the comments section below.

*I realize that the terms “masculine paradigm” and “feminine paradigm” may be problematic. I’m using these terms to describe a duality of guiding principles for how people look at the world. In no way do I mean that all men are one way and all women another, or any of that. It has nothing to do with anyone’s gender or identity. It’s more to do with how an overabundance of one paradigm and a negating of the other is damaging to all of us.

Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. is a certified holistic health counselor who specializes in transforming your relationship with food and your body. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/stay-in-touch/ to sign up for her newsletter and get your free download — Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!

2 thoughts on “You Don’t Need More Self Control (Independence Day Edition!)”

  1. I don’t have much to say other than that I really agree with this. Especially this part: You have a system within you, a collaboration of body, mind and spirit, which guides you on everything from what to eat and how much, to how to approach a situation at work, to which person is best for you to date. You could call it intuition, or you could just call it you. It’s that part of you that knows what to do, even when the outside world tells you that you don’t. The more you trust this inner voice, this inner knowing, the more loud and clear it becomes. The more you act upon it, the less out of control you feel, because it was never about control in the first place.

    Although, for me, self-trust is still a learning curve, I can definitely say that the better I understand it, the better off I am as a person.

  2. This is a bit of both, but…

    I had been considering going low-gluten for a long time. I know that a lot of people with Crohn’s Disease have difficulty digesting it, but also how difficult it would be since I have so many other dietary restrictions.

    A few weeks ago, something in my body went “You know what? It’s time.”

    I feel amazing. For years, I’d struggled with massive bloating issues, and I always knew that pasta and bread made me super tired. I have so much more energy and I’m not bloated anymore. The lack of bloat makes it easier for me to tell when I’m full and when I’m hungry. I don’t get terrible hunger pangs as often.

    Right now, I know that my life isn’t organized enough for me to give it up completely (while looking for foods on a certain menu over the weekend, the only thing I could eat that was low-gluten, didn’t contain allergens, and didn’t contain too many raw veggies for me to process at once was spinach artichoke dip. I do not regret eating it for dinner because clearly it was fate.) I love to travel, which means eating from menus or what is available where I am. I enjoy good beers. I simply eat knowing that if I eat too much gluten, I’m going to start feeling bloated the next day and I will also fart a lot.

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