Willpower and Weight Loss 

Having good willpower will not help you lose weight!

The other day I bumped into a friend as I was preparing my lunch. I pulled out a Large tub of mostly green vegetables and proceeded to add some tinned Mackerel. “Wow that looks Healthy” she commented “You are so good, I need to be more healthy” and then she said ‘You have amazing willpower”….

But the thing is, I don’t have amazing willpower. Put me in the same situation as somebody who is struggling with there weight and I might be making the same bad choices about what and when to eat. My daily diet has evolved over years of training and practice, through trial and error. I have development thoughts and habits which have changed the way I see and relate to food which influences the food I choose and want to eat. My personal diet is completely unique and individual to me and may not work for anybody else…. I love the food I eat, I eat a lot and I eat regularly…. There is no willpower involved, there are no restrictions as I see them, there is no starvation, there is no oh look at what they have I want that…… When I go out to eat or find myself in a party situation I don’t think, oh I mustn’t eat this or I want to eat that…… I just eat what I feel is good for me and although to outsiders it may look like I am restricting myself, trust me, I never feel  that I am restricted, as if I did that would make it hard and would require willpower, which to be honest I believe my willpower to be similar to anybody else’s.

Now you have to understand I have developed a lot of my personal diet and what I want to eat with a mixture of psychological training and physiological responses to food. I have become very sensitive to the way different foods make me feel and this has had a knock on effect in the choices of foods I make. Nobody will develop thought patterns or ‘good’ habits quickly it may take a few months or much much longer, it has taken me literally years, and my diet and mindset is still evolving and changing. I am daily influenced by my feelings, my research and new discoveries, One of the biggest influences on my food choices is simply how well I may have planned my days food or the availability of the food I want to eat.

About 5 or so years ago I was working in a job that took me all over Europe, lots of hotel visits and long drives at very variable hours. During this time I would often find myself going long periods without eating, due to availability, planning or just the crazy hours I was working. In these situations I often found myself binge eating on biscuits or sweats or even drinking Coke! This became normal behaviour to get myself through inconvenient situations or simply to fill the gap of starvation when nothing better was available. Like now I didn’t let myself starve or massively restrict myself, but the choices I was making were extremely unhealthy, The lifestyle I was leading was severely jeopardising my health. I didn’t have the willpower to wait another couple of hours until I got to another hotel somewhere in Europe, where I maybe able to eat something more substantial. I didn’t have the strength to drive another 200 miles through the night without sugar and caffeine. I am completely normal and in a bad situation I have made bad choices.

So how can you get out of a situation like this? Well it requires work and discipline, and I don’t mean the discipline of starvation! I mean you need to work at your diet and firstly find out what food works for you. You need a long term structured plan with goals and targets. You need resources and tools to manage situations where you’re off the plan for unexpected reasons. You need education to realise how and why to change and how the small changes and steps you make will have a long term massive benefit. Some people will need a coach, somebody like me who can delve into your lifestyle and daily diet and create you a plan, to hold your hand and be there for you every step of the way. For others, hopefully you will be able to use the resources from me and the wealth of knowledge that is out there and with the right mindset you’ll be able to go it alone. Either way ‘willpower’ is not the answer to healthy living and weight loss.

Your health and diet is a journey which is always evolving, You don’t need willpower to lose weight but you do need motivation to want to change!

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