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The Role Of Impulsivity

Here is a definition of the word “IMPULSIVE”: acting or done without forethought

Sometimes, acting on “impulse” (i.e. without “forethought”) can be a very good thing.  Here are some examples:

  • A spouse walking past a jewelry store and impulsively going in and purchasing a nice item for his/her spouse
  • A parent quickly reacting to a near-accident involving his/her child and removing the child from harm’s way
  • A very stressed out person going on the internet and booking a vacation to de-stress

Conversely, at times, acting impulsively can produce negative consequences:

  • Going to the MGM Grand casino, running out of cash to gamble because of losses and going to a cash machine to get more money to gamble
  • Drinking too much alcohol at a holiday gathering and saying something inappropriate to a co-worker
  • Quitting a job a person does not like without having a backup plan

In the weight control arena, being “impulsive” is almost 100% of the time going to derail efforts to shed weight.  Human nature drives us to immediate gratification behavioral patterns and if we are impulsive, the carbohydrates, sugars and/or alcohol intake will be abundant.  

Successful weight control requires all of us to plan our “actions”, i.e. purchase the right types of foods, prepare those foods and with great forethought, structure our meals and snacks.  “Impulsivity” will result in drive-through fast-foods and pizza delivery.

During a long-term weight control journey try to keep “impulsivity” out of the picture.   Mindfulness and planning should be the marching orders.

And here is a 1990 Wiison Phillips song about being “Impulsive”…Enjoy!

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