Day 33: Rewards and Consumerism

I shared some of this on the phone meeting this morning, but I really want to elaborate a little on the issue of my consumerism. (I’m not a very good “public” speaker, even if it’s just among friends on the phone bridge – I tend to forget about half of what I was going to say!) so here goes.

It’s all about rewards. When I first started GS, I needed all the motivation I could get, so I drew up a list of things I would reward myself with (non-food, of course!). Every 10 days, I would allow myself to buy one of these things. I’ve done this “reward” system many times before, on many diets, and when I went off the diet – as I inevitably would – I would still buy the things I had wanted. And eat.

But, I figured, I could use the motivation and it kept me from buying stuff almost every day in order to reward myself for abstinence – and if I’d had the money, buying something daily would have been exactly what I’d have done. This way, I could justify to myself buying nothing for days, but looking forward to the things I’d listed.

I would have bought 3 things by now, because I’m past day 30.

And you know what? I didn’t buy one single reward. The main reason for this is that I simply didn’t have the money… so I really can’t claim any discipline for this, hehe. The point is that today as I looked at my list (thinking it’s going to be awesome, I can get three things at once!), I didn’t really want any of the things I’d listed! I don’t really need them, and my passing fancy was just that: passing. Now if I had had the money and bought these things, it would have been wasted money, because I really don’t want/need these things.

What do I learn from this? Two things –

  1. GS abstinence is its own reward. I may not have bought material things to satisfy my consumerist desires, but instead, I have gained a much deeper, more lasting reward (of sanity, of appreciation, of joy even) that hasn’t cost me anything except the cost of my 3 weighed meals per day. And scales.
  2. In the future I will do my best to write down things that catch my fancy and make myself wait for a week or two. If I then still want it, I can get it, but I have a history of buying stuff and seeing my money disappear – I still do live from paycheck to paycheck – without really getting anything for it! Yes, I get a momentary satisfaction, but it’s fleeting. Barely there. GS teaches me not to go for the instant gratification, with food as well as with things.

So, for today, I’m very grateful for that. And, heck yeah, I *really* want a bike.


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