Health: The Truth About Willpower and Weight Loss
“If only I had more willpower I’d be able to lose this weight.” If you are like many women, this weight loss thought has crossed your mind more times than you can count. Yet, no matter how much willpower we attempt to summon, we find ourselves repeating the same cycle of losing (and finding) the same 10/25/50 pounds over and over.
This is because we’ve bought into the myth that all it takes is self-control to achieve your goal, and conversely that our inability to achieve our goals is the result of a personal deficiency of strength or determination. And so we continue to try the same things over and over and hope for different results.
The Truth About Weight Loss
But the truth is, lasting weight loss is not as much about willpower as it is about awareness.
First of all, it’s important to understand the physiologic factors that impact our eating behavior. Your body is smart, and if it doesn’t receive the right nutrients at the right times of day, the brain will signal “hunger,” and will drive you to eat no matter how much willpower you attempt to muster. Also, when you neglect to be present and aware while you are eating (for example multi-tasking or eating on the go), the brain misses the meal entirely and continues to signal hunger, overriding even the best-laid plans. Both of these scenarios can lead to irresistible carb and sugar cravings and evening overeating as the brain attempts to right the ship. The good news is that when you learn to work with your body’s physiology rather than against it, you dramatically reduce the need to exercise willpower.
Secondly, it’s critical to bring awareness to the subconscious factors that drive eating behavior. We all have these little things I call Possibility Bandits—namely limiting beliefs that hijack our possibilities and potential. For example, when it comes to eating and exercise, many women buy into disempowering labels, such as emotional eater, stress eater, fat, lazy, sugar-addict, etc., and we don’t realize how these labels subconsciously drive our choices. You see, all of these labels come with a predetermined set of rules for how a person of that label behaves. And when you look more closely, virtually all of these labels are masks for an even deeper label—weak and powerless. (Even “not enough willpower” is one of these!) And they can very quickly become excuses and self-fulfilling prophecies.
So, if you’ve been struggling with a perceived lack of willpower, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself two questions: 1) Where can you can bring more awareness to your eating? 2) What labels or limiting beliefs might you be buying into, and what choices might you be making if that belief weren’t true? Challenging the belief is the first step to transforming it.
Ultimately, your life experience is a direct reflection of what you choose to believe about yourself. When you choose things like capable, powerful, wise, and deserving, you’ll soon start to see them reflected in your experience and your results!
What are you doing to achieve your weight loss goals?
Image courtesy of iStockphoto.com
Michelle Leath is a coach, mentor, speaker, and the founder ofwww.unlockyourpossibility.com. She teaches women how to harness the power of possibility, permission and pleasure to create the lives they truly want and deserve. She specializes in helping women create a relationship with food and their bodies that works for them, so that they can release unwanted weight or food habits without dieting or depriving themselves, and so they can show up like the rock stars they are in their businesses, lives, and relationships! Having found recovery from an eating disorder herself, Michelle is passionate about helping others heal their food issues, and she also authors a blog on eating disorder recovery at www.michelleleath.com.
Michelle is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute, a Certified Food Psychology Coach, and has a degree in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She has helped women connect with their potential in various ways for over 20 years.
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