As a health writer and coach, I get into all kinds of interesting conversations with people.  First, they nearly universally assume that I have been blessed with an extraordinary amount of self-discipline while they have only been blessed with extra pounds.  Then, the next thing I hear is that I just have good genes and they have ‘fat’ genes. Have you ever thought that maybe your ‘fat’ genes come from eating the same types of foods as your parents who gave you those ‘fat’ genes?

Most people can pull out a picture of themselves as a child or a teenager and marvel that they were so thin.  But then they say,  “I might as well eat what I love because it’s inevitable that I will get fat as I age.  Doesn’t everyone?”

“I just need to accept myself.”

Of course, you need to accept yourself, but don’t you think you can accept yourself as healthy and thin just as much as you can accept yourself as unhealthy and fat?

Other comments I hear include:

“But, you don’t really like food like I do.”

“You just have willpower and I don’t.”

“I don’t even pretend that I’ll ever be thin.”

This has left me puzzled.  I guess most people don’t see the struggle behind any of our behaviors.  I love food, but I love my health more.

Author Dennis Prager says in his book, Happiness Is a Serious Problem, that you must have a goal before you can develop self-control.

My goal is health.  That is a broad and fuzzy goal, so I have broken it down into some objective measures.  The two easiest to check include a BMI below 25 and a blood pressure reading below 120/80.
Once I set my goal for health, I realized that every decision about food could be important.  

If I did not believe that my food choices were important, believe me I would be stopping at every Dairy Queen on the highway for a Blizzard.  I would then be stopping at McDonald’s for a burger and fries.  I would stop at the bakery for a dozen chocolate chip cookies.  I would eat at restaurants every night and order shrimp and steak and double cheese burgers.  I would eat 3 baskets of greasy chips at every Mexican restaurant.  I would load my baked potato with butter and cheese.  I would order biscuits and gravy for breakfast with a side of bacon.  I would definitely go out to lunch every day because that is certainly easier than packing something healthy.  In other words, I love junk food and convenience as much as the rest of you.

I have just developed my self-control by setting my goal for health.