Brain Mind Center

Self Regulation

The Alpha Nutrition Program is a rational plan that requires new learning, discipline and self-control. A basic intention is to do a better job of self-regulating. Self-regulation implies control over behavior. I learned by watching a few thousand people attempt to do this program that people with some measure of self-control were uncommon. I learned that self-discipline was in short supply and that rational plans tended to fail without a lot of support. Since eating is a social activity, changes in eating habits require a social method.

One idea that I pursed is to identify the locus of control in every situation. The locus is the place from which most of the control comes from. The simplest classification is two loci of control, inside and outside. The locus of control shifts from time to time for a variety of reasons but most people have a tendency to either give up or take control of their power. Even single individuals who seemed to be in charge of their own affairs would reveal that the locus of control was external most of the time.

Some exceptional people live well-organized lives with traditional lifestyle eating habits and operate from an internal locus of control that gives them an enviable ability to self-manage. If you have a well-developed center, you have an easier time developing new patterns, once you accept that it is necessary and desirable to change. You can plan an orderly transition from old to new. People with a strong internal locus of control are more skilled at collecting and evaluating information. They accept professional advice as information, not as parental authority. They tend to feel more confident making their own decisions.

When outside forces tend to override internal cues, control shifts to external sources and self-regulation is difficult. Families tend to resist change and are often hostile to one member who changes more than the others. This is an old, irrational tendency of human groups and cannot be shifted easily. One person seeking change has to negotiate with others to obtain their approval and support. This negotiation is ongoing.

As lifestyle eating patterns become more eclectic, hectic and disorganized, the locus of control seems to vanish, although, if we look closely, the locus has shifted completely to the external world but in a disorganized and chaotic fashion. For some, the external controllers are not nice. An oppressive spouse or employer may rob you of all the energy you need to help yourself.

You may be ill enough to have become quite dependent on the help of others, and you may have given up all your power to obtain this benefit. You may have given your power to a physician, for example, who prescribes drugs, and who in the worst case, shames you or inspires fear if you show any inclination to independent decisions. You may not know how to shift control back to yourself. You may be afraid of taking back your own power. Gaining more self-control can be on of the most important undertakings in your life.


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