The Money Diet

14 Oct

Today I’ve been thinking about patterns of behaviour. I have a distinct pattern of behaviour when it comes to dieting, spending money and parenting. The pattern is this – I am good for weeks and then I have a few bad days after which I attempt to be super-strict to make up for my deviance.

So when it comes to dieting, I will stick to my latest healthy eating plan for weeks and then with no warning will crave and consume copious amounts of junk for days, only to spend the remainder of the month dieting and exercising the resulting weight off.

With money, I stick to our budget religiously for weeks and then spend up for days, only to realise that I have to come up with a budget that fixes the damage I have done. Parenting is the same. I am the perfect mother for weeks and then have a bad day or two when I feel impatient and fall short of the being the kind of mother I always hoped I’d be. I then have to try to repair the damage I have done by apologising for getting cranky and try to make up for it.

The same can be said for my writing. I write earnestly for a week or two and then stop for weeks, feeling no energy or inspiration, even though I have grand plans for developing a writing career that is more successful that it has been to date.

I’ve always thought that identifying a problem is the first step to solving it but I’m thirty-five now and I still haven’t been able to figure this one out. Life is all about balance. Somehow I need to figure out how to live with balance. Because what I am doing now doesn’t make sense. Why eat well just to ruin it all in days or spend too much money only to have to scramble to repair our budget? Doesn’t it make more sense to eat well with regular treats instead of living with no treats and then treating myself for days? Or setting aside some money for dinner out with my family or saving for a new summer dress to wear to a get-together instead of spending too much and not even remembering where all the money went?

Perhaps my personality profile has something to do with rebellion? Am I rebelling against control, rigidity, planning? Am I rebelling against myself? Is that even possible?

When I worked in radio we interviewed a guest who specialised in mind-control and the highlight of his show was when he would hypnotise people and make them do strange things like cluck like a chicken when a particular word was spoken or eat an onion as though it was an apple. Before the interview he wanted to test us to find the best candidate for hypnosis. He had us close our eyes and relax and then he asked us to raise our left arm and lower our right, and vice versa. Without thinking about it I was doing the opposite of what he was instructing. I was rebelling against being told what to do. I was not the chosen candidate for hypnosis that day. I was relieved to be off the hook. The thought of being hypnotised freaks me out. I like to be in control of my life…until I’m not for a few days here and there.

I feel so happy to have figured something out about myself. I like to think I am getting better with age. Clearly I have a way to go. But taking the first step is still moving forward, right?

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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