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Control Types: Broad and Deep

Monday June 11, 2018

I’m wrapping up a successful cut currently, so here is a weight loss tidbit: A meta-key for unlocking my best weight loss experiences seems to be controlling my anxiety levels concerning a broad assortment of things, as opposed to deeply-focused control. This seems to have some ramifications for the kind of control I need in life in general. I’ll explain:

After I identified my INTJ-ness, and thereafter my gift for structure, for some time I thought that having a deeply-controlled plan would make me more successful in my weight loss. In practice, this seems to increase my troubles. For example, keeping a detailed spreadsheet and log is nice, but I’m a bit more likely to give that up due to the depth of complexity. It is simply more to do, on top of everything else in the day. And when I give that up, I’m more likely to despair and either stall out or actually gain weight.

What seems to work in practice is the following: Instead of a deeply-controlled weight loss plan, I’m better off planning for a broadly-controlled life. Instead of spending 30 minutes planning my diet, calorie allocations, macros, fitness plan, and schedule, I’ll spend 5 minutes on my calorie allocation/schedule for the day, 10 minutes free-writing about the problems I need to solve in my life in general, and 15 minutes putting those into order: Questions of work projects, recreation, family needs, errands, and so on. It helps even more if I can do this the night before it’s all needed, or early in the morning of the day itself.

This broad control seems to be enough to allow an intuitive weight control pattern to settle in. I can then successfully rely on just a little bit of diet structure and still meet my goals. This structure-light approach is supported by a more broadly-structured life, which acts as a weight loss key.

Anxiety is normal, and if you’re normal you should feel some anxiety on a daily basis. A to-do list item is an example of a stressor. In my experience it is wise to attend to the big picture of these stressors in order to successfully complete goals, as an INTJ. And I say that as someone who has failed at diet plans literally hundreds of times. (Fortunately, I’ve succeeded enough that I feel comfortable giving diet advice to others.)

I don’t really want to have to mention it, but I feel like I should add that concerns of control are normal and healthy for INTJs. While nuance and flexibility are incredibly important, I can’t agree with blanket statements like “INTJs need to loosen up and be less controlling,” for example. A better question, like ‘how much, and what kind of control is necessary in my life at a minimum’ can empower INTJs to achieve great things, while building in allowances for more relaxed and less life-controlling behaviors. Everyone needs to feel like they’re in control, it’s a scientifically-measured key to a happy mindset, and exploring one’s own “happy life” control levels is a highly recommended activity.

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