How To Boost Your Self-Discipline and Stay in Control

In very simple mathematical terms, all you need to do to lose weight is to burn off more calories than you eat. Of course in the real world, our weight-loss journey will very rarely pan out quite as easily as that. There’s obviously more to it than simply ‘the amount you eat’ and ‘the amount you burn off’. There’s a third, very important factor in all this; our mind-set.

Losing weight starts in the mind
All too often however, people can reach a point where they feel totally helpless, out of control and stuck in their old frame of mind towards certain foods, towards staying active or towards life in general. This mind-set commonly leads to a downward spiral where sugary or fatty food is eaten, initially as a ‘comfort’. The brief pleasure provided by these foods is very quickly over, leaving them feeling even worse about themselves, reinforcing their negative mind-set; and the cycle continues. A constant emotional downward spiral.

If this has been you, ask yourself this question; are you really "not in control" of what you eat and what you burn off?

If it isn’t you that’s controlling your ‘energy in / energy used’ ratio, who is? The reality is that you are actually fully in control, although admittedly, you might not be entirely happy with your current results.

Not only are you in control of your own 'energy in / energy used' ratio, if you drive a car, you’re almost certainly doing a great job of controlling your cars ‘energy in / energy used’ ratio too, otherwise you’d be running out of fuel all the time! Clearly, you must have some disciplines in place that prevent that from happening (or at least, not too often!).

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be exploring our perception of control and self-discipline, looking at how it’s possible to actually change what you may have been doing in the past and begin to create the mind-set of that slimmer person you want to become.

What Is Self-Discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take action regardless of your emotional state.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you could simply think about something, then easily follow through with it, no matter what. For example, imagine saying to your body, “You’re overweight, lose 20 pounds”. Without self-discipline that intention wouldn’t manifest into a reality. But with sufficient self-discipline, you really can make it happen.

The ultimate peak of self-discipline, is when you reach the point that you can make a conscious decision about something, then virtually guarantee you’ll follow through on it.

Once mastered, self-discipline can empower you to overcome any addiction or lose any amount of weight. It can wipe out procrastination, disorder, and ignorance. With regard to the wide-ranging problems it can solve, self-discipline is simply unmatched. Moreover, it becomes a powerful team-mate when combined with other ‘development mind-sets’ such as passion, goal-setting, and planning.

Building Self-Discipline

A great way of understanding how to build self-discipline, is best explained using an analogy:- Self-discipline is like a muscle; The more you train it, the stronger it becomes. The less you train it, the weaker it becomes.

Just as everyone has different muscular strength, we all possess different levels of self-discipline. Just know that you do indeed have at least some self-discipline, everyone does. For example, if you can hold your breath a few seconds, at some level, that requires self-discipline. If you have a regular bath or shower, you're using your self-discipline to achieve that. Some people have developed their self-discipline to a very high level, whilst others have probably not developed their self-discipline much at all, until now.

Just as it takes muscle to build muscle, it takes self-discipline to build self-discipline.

The way to build self-discipline is comparable to using progressive weight training to build muscle; this means lifting weights that are close to your limit. Note that when you weight train, you lift weights that are within your ability to lift, push your muscles until they fail, and then you rest.

Similarly, the basic method to build self-discipline is to tackle challenges that you can successfully accomplish, but which are near to your limit. This doesn’t mean trying something and failing at it every day, nor does it mean staying within your comfort zone. You will gain no strength trying to lift a weight that you cannot budge, nor will you gain strength lifting weights that are too light for you. You must start with weights/challenges that are within your current ability to lift but which are near to your limit.

Progressive training means that once you succeed, you increase the challenge. If we just keep working out with the same weights, it’s likely we wouldn’t get any stronger. In the same way, if we fail to challenge our self in life, we won’t gain any increase in self-discipline.

A common mistake many people make when looking to lose weight, is that they try to push themselves too hard, too soon. If our goal was to transform our entire life overnight, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. This would be like someone going out for their very first jog and expecting to become fit enough to run a marathon by the end of the week.

If our current situation is that we can walk half a mile, then that’s our current situation; there’s no shame in starting exactly where you are.

So, if you’ve been feeling very undisciplined until now, we’re going to look at exactly how it is possible for you to use the little bit of discipline you do currently have, to build more. The more disciplined you become, the mentally stronger you become and the easier life gets. Challenges that may have once seemed impossible, will begin to become easier and easier; in much the same way as when we get physically stronger, the same weights seem to get lighter and lighter.

Over the next four blog posts, we’re going to be looking at the four, very distinctive keystones involved in boosting your current levels of self-discipline and helping you to feel and stay in full control.

In learning and mastering these four keystones, there is one elementary principle that you must adhere to throughout. That is; don’t compare yourself to other people, it just isn't comparing apples with apples. You will always know of people who can seemingly eat like a horse and never gain an ounce. At the same time, there’ll be others who seem to gain 10 lbs just walking past a cake-shop! Everyone’s metabolism is different and we all gain and lose weight at different rates, so your only concern is with your own situation and progress. 

When we start to compare ourselves to other people, we’ll only find what we expect to find. If we think we’re weak, everyone else will seem stronger. If we think we’re slow, everyone else will seem faster. There’s no point in doing this. Simply look at where you are now, and aim to get better as you go forward.

To give you an idea of how we go about raising or level of self-discipline, let’s consider an example where you may want to develop your self-discipline to become more active;

Suppose you want to develop the ability to walk 3 miles each day, since you know it will make a real difference to your level of fitness.

Perhaps you may try to walk for 3 miles, at a decent pace without stopping, and you can only do it once. The next day, you fail miserably; that’s OK. You did manage one 3 mile walk; two days in a row is too much for you at this point. So cut back a bit.

What distance could you allow yourself to walk for 5 consecutive days (or a whole week)? Could you walk 2 miles a day, five days in a row? If you can’t do that, how about 1 mile a day or whatever you can do (even if it’s a hundred yards). Once you've succeed to walk a set distance for 5 (or 7) days in a row, that's your starting point. So then, you increase the distance; for example, having walked 2 miles a day for 5 days, you may choose to walk 2 1/2 miles a day for 5 days, etc

Once you’ve mastered a week at one level, take it up a notch the next week. And continue with this progressive ‘training’ until you’ve reached your goal.

While analogies like this are never perfect, you can soon begin to register some real progress by applying this, starting from a point that you know is within your capacity. By raising the bar just a little each week, you stay within your capabilities and grow stronger over time.

Throughout the next four blog posts we’ll dive more deeply into each of the four essential keystones that will help you boost your own self-discipline and level of control, that will help you bring about the mind-set of a slimmer person...

Have a great Easter and I’ll catch up with you soon

Best wishes




Are Your Scales Lying To You..?

When we experience weight fluctuations, it is natural that we can sometimes feel frustrated and want to take a hammer to the scales. After all, you may have followed your diet and exercise plans faithfully, and quite rightly, you’d expect to see a reduction in weight when you step onto the scales, right...?

Surprisingly though, we can often find that our weight appears to have gone up by a few pounds; sometimes within a day! So, what’s going on…?

Weight fluctuations can be very frustrating, and they can cause us to lose hope in our weight loss efforts. However, if you know exactly why weight fluctuations happen, you will not be worried at all …

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You Don’t Actually Have a Set ‘Weight’

One way to understand fluctuations in our weight, is to realise that we don’t actually have a set ‘weight’ as such; we have a ‘weight range’ of around 5 to 7 pounds. On a day to day basis, our weight at any given time can quite easily fluctuate within that range. For example, a person may have a weight range of 11 stone 4 lbs to 11 stone 10 lbs, and their weight will generally fall somewhere within that range. Of course, it’s very difficult to know exactly what your weight range is at any given time; for that reason, it’s best to make as few weight readings as possible, ideally no more than once a week.

Why Weight Fluctuations Happen

Weight fluctuations are normal, and they happen to everybody. They can be caused by many different factors, such as consumption of a big meal, excess salt intake, water retention, constipation and hormonal changes.

You can think about it like this: Imagine a bus leaving the bus depot first thing in a morning. The weight of that bus, including passengers etc, is going to fluctuate all day as passengers get on and get off, luggage and push-chairs are loaded on and off,  at certain times of the day such as rush hour, there may be more passengers on board, increasing the overall weight (similar to after our meal-times). Then there will be other factors such as the amount of diesel in the tank, whether rainwater is collecting, adding to the weight, etc, etc.

One thing you should know is that the extra weight that you see on the scales does not come from an increase in body fat; it can be water, waste products or other substances that are temporarily present in your body. All these factors mean that it is a really bad idea to weigh ourselves every day; it will only cause us to be aware of our natural weight fluctuations, which can lead to losing faith in our weight loss program.

How Much Can Your Weight Fluctuate?

Weight fluctuations can result in a temporary weight increase of up to 7 pounds a day. It takes some time for your digestive system to process the food, fluids and salt that you consume, and the substances that are still being processed will contribute to your weight.

If you had a big dinner the previous evening, your weight will still be up in the morning if you have not had a bowel movement. This is especially so if you consumed foods that contain a lot of sodium. Even if you had eaten more than you should, your true body weight should not increase significantly overnight. True weight gain is a process that occurs over a longer period of time.

Dealing with Weight Fluctuations

One way to prevent stress that results from weight fluctuations is to refrain from weighing yourself daily. Weigh yourself once a week, and do this without wearing clothes and shoes, which can add one or two pounds to the scale. If possible, try to weigh yourself after you have emptied your bowels in the morning. If you find that your weight is still fluctuating when you weigh once a week, ensure that you are drinking plenty of water to reduce the amount of sodium in your body.

Don’t become obsessed with the scales, they really only give you part of the picture. For example, if you’re hitting the gym hard and building muscle mass, you may actually feel slimmer and your clothes may feel looser, yet the scales don’t budge, or they may even register a gain!! One of the reasons for this, is that muscle mass weighs heavier than the fat that it replaces. Nowadays, there are weighing scales out there that can measure the percentage of fat and the level of hydration in your body, and you can learn about your true weight by looking at this percentage instead of your overall weight.

Do we really weigh less in a morning?

Generally, yes. This is because you don't have the added weight of a recent undigested meal. During the day, when you're eating and drinking, those foods (and fluids) add weight; at least until they're digested and excreted.

Just one litre of water weighs 1 kilogram, or 2.2 lbs. So, if you’re needing to drink 3 litres of water a day, your water intake alone will amount to half a stone.! Since you're not eating or drinking during the night, your body has a chance to remove extra fluids (that's why you pee so much in the morning when you wake up).

Weighing yourself first thing in the morning, once you’ve been to the loo, and doing that once a week, on the same day each week, will give you a much greater chance of weight readings that are much more meaningful in terms of genuine weight reduction.
Have a fantastic 'Scales Free' week.!
Best wishes