Willpower or Diet?

By · November 7, 2012 · Dieting Health Healthy Eating Maintaining Weight Through the Holidays Motivation Nutrition Psychology of Eating Uncategorized Weight Loss · Leave a comment

Willpower is a curious thing. It is like a huge elephant that needs to be tamed. Sometimes it can, and sometimes it can’t. Does willpower actually work when it comes to losing weight? Let’s face it, if it did, there would be no diets, no overeating, no remorse.  But on the flipside, diets don’t work either and they do require a certain amount of willpower. Hmmm… it’s quite a dilemma.

So let’s take a look at this conundrum and find the best route to weight loss success.

Diets are like a false/positive solution. They give you the impression of a certain amount of control by telling you exactly what to do. However, diets usually take you out of your comfort zone into some weirdly exotic land of temporary residence. That’s because, no matter how great something appears to be at the start, the mind and the body will always slide back to the familiar. So while everybody can have some success with most any weight loss program, studies show that 98% of the time, you will always slide back to your familiar routine; the one that got you to your weight gain in the first place.

Now lets’ take a look at willpower,  the wayward elephant. Imagine you are responsible for riding and steering this big animal around everywhere you go.  You are small, and the elephant is large and powerful. While you could be successful part of the time, you would eventually tire from having to physically control such a heavy load. There is only so much strength and energy that you would be able to exert. It is the same with willpower. Some days you can be strong, other days you are too tired to bother so you let yourself be dragged behind in the entrails of candy wrappers and bread crusts.

So how do we get around diets and willpower? It’s simple; with preparation, a plan and parameters.

Instead of a diet, have a plan. How do you plan on eating today? What do you plan to have for lunch? Plans are….. planned. It is advanced thinking which is not reactionary.  Planning also allows you to stay within your comfort zone.

Preparation will trump willpower every time. When you are prepared with healthy foods and snacks, there is no battle. The choice is clear. It is only when you find yourself unprepared that you are forced to control your urge to grab an unhealthy option. The elephant rises.

When you plan within certain parameters; for example, “I will always choose fruit for snacks”, then you will have unlimited choices within those parameters. The feelings of deprivation will disappear. The elephant can relax.

Success comes from stretching your comfort zone, preparing for success and limiting feelings of deprivation.  You can lose weight without exhausting your willpower, and losing yourself in the process. Remember, change happens a little at a time, and like the gait of an elephant it is slow and steady, but very powerful.

Leave a comment below about how you plan on being successful with your weight loss this week. Tell me about your plan, your preparations and your parameters.

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