Friday, April 11, 2014

Stoic Willpower

There is a certain irony in how relaxing and enjoyable I find blog writing after all the writing I've already done this week. I just finished last night, and made some small alterations today to a paper on Thomas Hobbes that I will hopefully be presenting a week from today. I can easily say that I'm not very proud of this paper. Some of the things I have to say about Hobbes and his state of nature are interesting, but I'm not covering any new ground, or bringing up criticisms that haven't been brought up against him before. In fact, my paper is not nearly as damning of Hobbes as I initially thought it would be. I suppose that if it were that easy to attack him, more would have done so already. I hope it at least will be food for thought, and garner some interesting commentary by the panel.

Even with all the work I've been doing, this has been a small vacation of sorts. It just worked out that the week I had to work on my conference paper also happened to be my university's Spring break. I haven't had to focus on anything else, so I can say that I have spent more time on this one paper than I usually spend on any paper, even ones that have been around this length! Not having to rush through this has been very nice, but having so much time with a philosophical theory I find repugnant has not been easy for me. I feel as though I need to cleanse myself of a miasma, and can't wait until this paper and the presentation on it are behind me.

But all this free time has made me realize how little I actually like free time now. I never knew that I would like being a busy person, but spending so much time at home has made me realize how much I like my projects. It isn't as though I am now a fan of stress or chaos, rather, I like having things that demand my attention and concentration. When my mind has time to wander, I realize just how much of an obsessive personality I have. Giving myself projects keeps me productive, and gives me a way of channeling my mind in a useful and healthy way.

One of the projects that has currently been on my mind concerns the transformation of my body. Anyone who has seen me lately might notice I have lost some weight. I haven't lost a life changing amount, or even an amount all that noticeable, but it is noticeable to me. And I like that I have been losing weight. The truth is, though, that the weight loss has been entirely accidental, and not much to do with my own efforts. I've simply been too busy, and too careful with my money, to eat the way I have done in the past, and the lessening of calories has translated to a little bit of weight loss. Seeing this change, though, has made me desirous of even more drastic change. I have decided that I now want to take this little bit of accidental weight loss and spring board into a more purposeful weight loss.

To this end, I plan on being more active, and also changing the kinds of things I eat and drink. I also want to treat this as an exercise to strengthen my will, thus the title, Stoic willpower. I will also keep in mind other philosophical virtues, like moderation, so I'm not talking about deprivation or subsistence... But there are changes that I must make not only for appearances- I would like to be better looking- but also for health. I can't keep pretending that there are not serious consequences to living the way I have.

So, some of the changes I plan to make might seem drastic to those that think we should eat whatever we want. I understand what people like that are trying to say; No need to deprive yourself, just watch your portions. That would be fine if I was actually capable of such restraint. I have long suspected that I may suffer from some type of addictive behavior regarding food. I am a binge eater who uses food as a way to handle difficult emotions. My ability to recognize this in myself means that the usual kind of moderation will not work for me. I have to be even more restrictive.

That means for me a few ideas:

No soda or fruit juices. The reasons for this should be obvious. Calories, sodium, sugar...
No desserts other than fruit. Let's face it, my favorite desserts are the bready kinds that are extremely unhealthy.
No eating after 9pm. I have a terrible habit of eating late and then going straight to bed. While the old myth of not being able to digest food while sleeping has been debunked, I can save myself the snacks before bed.
No fast food. I generally don't like fast food anyway, but it doesn't hurt emphasizing that it is a bad idea to eat that crap.

More exercise. For awhile there I had a great habit of working out everyday. It would be great to have that kind of dedication again. I have this nifty Adventure Pass that lets me park for free at a lot of nearby nature trails. Time to stop letting that thing acquire dust. Plus, a chance to connect with my inner Pan. lol

Less or little TV. I've decided that after this season of TV shows is over, which is soon, I'm pretty much going to ignore my TV except for my favorite TV show. It isn't that I think there is anything especially bad about TV, but when I look at the kind of people I respect and wish to emulate, I see very little sitting around watching TV. If I really feel like sitting around, I'll read a book. Time to stop paying so much damn attention to screens in general, really. That's including my phone.

Those are some of my ideas for now. I'm sure that I'll add to the list as time goes by. I hope that my friends will support me in making these necessary changes.

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