I've been reading more non-illness health blogs by people who are interested in longevity, weight loss, Paleo diet, etc.

I also sometimes read blogs on jobs, productivity, Ramit Sethi's stuff, etc. 

What strikes me the most about non-illness blogs, and what seems the most different about them, is how much they discuss self-control. 

I almost never hear about people with illness talking about self-control. 

Instead of self-control to make ourselves exercise or eat right or avoid certain foods or do hard things we know we should do, we have the following:
  • Rising to the occasion and making ourselves do things that have to happen. (Example: I used to drag myself to the hospital for Bicillin shots or to New York to see my Lyme doctor, even though each time it didn't feel like I'd be able to complete the trip). This isn't so much self-control as simply survival. 
  • Following strict diets or health practices, because we have bad consequences if we don't. (Example: avoiding mold, gluten, and sugar). This isn't really self-control because it's more like being controlled by bodily circumstances.
  • When we do have energy or clarity, getting things we've been meaning to do done. (Example: When I finally feel energetic enough, I work on editing my book. Book editing is very demanding!) This isn't really self-control so much as it is taking advantage of an opening or opportunity to do something you want to do.
  • Also - a lack of doing things our body doesn't want us to do. Making ourselves do things that are too stressful or demanding can be physically dangerous, something that one's cells will remind one of if one even imagines overstepping one's energy allotment.


I have almost none of the self-control most people speak of in my life. 

In fact, exercising self-control makes my body seize up.

I think self-control comes from a concept that the body is wayward and wants things that are bad for it.

Yet most of us with illness learn to converse with our bodies and to provide the basic things it wants, so that it's clear the body typically wants things that are good for it. 

This post could be much longer- it's just interesting to observe that life can go on in a very orderly, healthy way with almost no top-down "self-control" of the type of making yourself do or not do something against your body's desires.

People can get so low metabolically that they simply can't afford to override their bodies.




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