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I can stick to my diet! I can do it with willpower. I WILL do it this time!
Ever said that? I did. Many times. And I wanted it to be true. I was determined – until I was tired, frustrated, or upset. How long does your willpower last?
Depending solely on your willpower is a trap: Willpower is a vanishing resource related to mental energy. We start the day with a good amount, but our ability to choose based on our will fades, and once it starts to waver, it pegs out pretty fast. Are you ever “good all day” but fall to a snack at night? We’re out of the mental energy to resist.
Bolstering Defenses: Make it LESS About Willpower
Create habits that support your intentions and goal.
When something becomes your habit, you don’t think about it, it’s just what you do – like cleaning your teeth, how you get dressed, or your evening routine. It takes no mental effort. What habits can you create that take you toward your goal? It takes effort initially, but once established, you can continue it without taxing your mental energy. Pro Tip: Only one habit at a time.
Adjust your beliefs.
What do you believe about your health or weight? Do those beliefs help you toward your goal?
We often hear losing or maintaining after 50 is impossible, and everyone gains weight after menopause. Is it really inevitable? For everyone? Growing unhealthy or gaining weight is easy to do at whatever age. However, if you believe weight is inevitable, it’s more likely you will experience it.
“I just can’t say no to ___________.” Fill in your own blank. Think about that – do you want to give that kind of power to food? If you allow yourself to believe that, then it will likely be true. Letting go can be hard – ask me about letting go of sugar – but we can regain control so that we actually have a choice.
“It’s my reward.” Is it? Think of how your feel when you feel bad looking in the mirror, at your clothes, or at your measurements. How rewarding is it?
Your beliefs dictate what you do and how you respond to a challenge. If you believe you can’t do something, you won’t. Willpower has no chance against a strong belief.
Reconnect with your “why.”
Remember why you wanted to get healthy? Remember the things you wanted to do – to be able to get up and down to play with your children or grandchildren, be able to walk and not get winded, feel healthier, look better in your clothes – or out of them, feel comfortable in your own skin, feel like less of a beacon in a crowd, NOT need a seat belt extender.
What is it you wanted when you started out on your journey? Is whatever comfort or relief you’ll feel from putting this food in your mouth worth sacrificing that great feeling of being healthy and happy? Take a moment to think it through. What is it that you truly want in this moment?
Willpower depletes. We need a better strategy to reach our goals.
If you’d like help with that strategy, book a call with me.
I’m opening a group starting on Monday, September 13. It will be an ongoing subscription accountability group. Come join us for a month, or stay for a while. Imagine what your New Year might be like without weight loss on the list. See all the details and sign up at: packyourownbag.com/group.