I don’t like the word willpower when talking about weight loss. It has too many negative connotations for me.
The website dictionary.com defines willpower as “control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control.” To me maintaining self-control equates to fighting against my natural urges – my natural urge being to eat the face off me!
The thing is, I don’t like this idea that I need to exert willpower in order to lose weight, because that’s just setting myself up for a fall. Anyone can resist against their impulses for a short period of time, but it’s not a long-term strategy. At some point the willpower is going to fail, and I’m going to ‘fall off the wagon’.
Put a box of donuts in front of me, and my self-control will hold out for a while, but eventually I will crack and scoff the lot!
And that’s the thing about willpower – it’s only temporary. Willpower requires us to resist an impulse, but does nothing to try and change the underlying impulse itself. If I could reprogram myself to address the impulse and modify it, then I wouldn’t need willpower at all!
So instead of using the word willpower, I prefer to use the word determined. I know it’s only a change of word, but to me it’s also a change in mind-set. When I am determined I have made a conscious and positive decision to follow a certain path. I’m not fighting against an impulse, I’m not resisting temptation, and I’m not “being good”. Instead I am making positive choices in my life to achieve my goal – to lose weight.
I’ve talked before about every little decision, and I’ll be the first to admit that many of my little decisions aren’t the right ones. I lose sight of my goals just as much as the next person. It’s hard to keep focus all the time. But hopefully by harnessing the positivity of being determined I can make a few more correct decisions in the future.
So when I look at the donuts in the future, instead of thinking to myself “I would really love to eat those donuts, but I will resist” (a negative emotion) I will instead try to think “I don’t want those donuts, because it will impact my weight loss” (a positive emotion). And by doing so, I hope to end up eating a lot fewer donuts!