“I just ate my willpower”

Ever seen that saying?  Like in a framed piece of “art”, on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker? Yeah, me too!

 

 Willpower Definition:

willpower [ˈwɪlˌpaʊə]

n

1. the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions
2. firmness of will
“Willpower”
I hate that word. I think it’s a dumb word that should be thrown out of the dictionary. What I hate more is the power that we give that word when it comes to diet and exercise, especially the fact that we put so much stock in our (lack of) willpower and use it as an excuse to fail.
“I have no willpower!” (an excuse to “fail”)

Not once in my weight loss experience have I credited my “willpower” for my success.  You want to know why?  Because I have none.  No seriously.  None.

If you put a cookie in front of me I’m going to eat it…even if I’m not hungry.   Why?  Because it tastes good.  Because it feels good.  Because I know that when I put that cookie in my mouth, my brain will release endorphins and other feel-good (scientific) chemicals into my body that will make me feel happy, even if for only a moment.  When that cookie is placed in front of me I might pause for a moment and think to myself, “I shouldn’t eat that.  I’ll be mad at myself if I do.  That cookie is going to make me fat.”  But you know what? Nine times out of ten  I’m going to eat it anyway.  This was proven two weeks ago and documented for all eternity right here!  That’s because according to the definition of “Willpower” I have none.  I have no ability to control my actions!

Or do I?

We all know the answer to that is yes.  Obviously.  We all have the ability to control our actions but for whatever reason we get so caught up in the bullshit of “willpower” that we forget which actions to control.

It’s important to me to set myself up for success; I do this by creating boundaries for myself.  If I don’t create boundaries for myself in the right environment with a reasonable routine…I will NOT be successful.  This is why I keep healthy foods in my home and avoid buying crap.  It’s also why I do CrossFit.

If I allow unhealthy foods in my house I WILL eat them. If I don’t sign up for CrossFit I will NOT exercise. Period.  This is the absolute truth and has been proven time and again.

It’s important to note, VERY IMPORTANT in fact, that I don’t do these things out of guilt or shame, I do them because they allow me to FEEL MY BEST– physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I eat whatever I want but I don’t eat whatever I want WHENever I want.  THAT’S the difference between me then and now– prior to my lifestyle evolution.

For instance, I do not keep ice cream in my house.  If I did, I would eat it every day.  Instead my rule is that if I really want ice cream I have to get up off my butt, drive myself to the frozen yogurt place, go in, squirt the yogurt into a cup, add my toppings, pay the teenager behind the counter, drive home and THEN sit down and enjoy it.

I enjoy the ONE serving for which I worked so hard and without the ability to go back for seconds…because that would be entirely TOO. MUCH. WORK!

This is also why I only ever cook enough for ONE serving of every meal I cook.  Seconds and thirds of something I love are far too easy to consume and unfortunately  my tendency to overeat doesn’t stop at ice cream.  I LOVE food.  Love it.  I love everything about it.  I love thinking about it, shopping for it, preparing it, cooking it, sharing it and eating it.  That will probably never change.  Neither will my ability to resist tempting-foods if they are available.

The same (only the opposite really) goes for exercise.

I don’t go to CrossFit because I should go, I go because I want to go, just like how I want to eat that cookie!   If it didn’t feel good I wouldn’t do it.  Seriously.  CrossFit gives me the same rush  as cookies, THAT’S why I go.  Not because I am so dedicated or determined or because I have some bullshit willpower.  I go because it feels good.

My point is that my “willpower” is only as effective and the environment I create for myself and I truly believe the same holds true for you.

Depending on “willpower” in order to succeed is a sure fire way to set ourselves up for perceived failure.  Sure, temptation is always going to exist but it doesn’t have to be in your face every second of every day.

So!  Don’t keep junk food where it’s accessible but don’t deprive yourself either, and find an exercise or activity that you enjoy.

You ARE in control!

Andrea Matthes,

CPT-CFL1, Lifestyle Coach

Letting go of perfection to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.

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