Finding Willpower For the Holidays – and After
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The person who discovers the secret to dieting willpower is the person who will become a millionaire.
For dieters, willpower is that moment of truth (the split second of truth) when you decide whether or not to say “yes” to the waiter offering dessert, the chocolate bar at the checkout counter, the platter of pastries at an office meeting.
I wish I could tell you the secrets to willpower (hey, I’d love to be that millionaire!), but I don’t know the answer. The other day someone said to me, “You have more willpower than anyone I know.” It’s true that I can say “No” when faced with all those aforementioned scenarios. I can refuse a high calorie meal, I can have a bowl of candy in my house and not touch it, I can even bake high calorie desserts for others and not have a taste. But I still occasionally succumb to semi-bad foods.
How do I do it? I wish I could give you the definitive answer and that it would lead to your diet success. But there are some personal truths about willpower that I will share with you.
- Willpower comes into play ONLY if you really want to succeed. If you’re giving your diet lip service, don’t expect any magical inner willpower to kick in so you lose weight.
- For willpower to work, you HAVE to want to succeed.
- Willpower expands as the scale goes down and as people say: “Have you lost weight?”
- Will power can be a temporary fake out, especially if your goal is to simply fit into a favorite outfit for a party (versus if your goal is to get your life back in order and feel better about yourself).
- Willpower has to be a lifelong commitment. On today and off tomorrow is not willpower, it’s playing games.
- Using willpower to overcome ingrained traditions can be challenging, but you must do it. For example, it’s Thanksgiving and you always eat the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and grandma’s homemade pie. Well, get over it! Breaking with traditions is a real test of willpower, but if you can’t make it through a 3000+ calories meal without shaving a few temptations here and there, you probably can’t find your willpower against life’s smaller temptations.
- It doesn’t hurt to say “no” to bad food choices. In fact, it feels terrific to end a day without the guilt of caving over a slice of cake.
- The more you exercise your willpower; the more it becomes a life style for you.
- Using willpower prior to an event can work but…. It’s illogical to diet successfully throughout the fall and gain all the weight back because of the holiday season. Same with vacations: Losing weight before vacation is a great idea; gaining it back during vacation is dumb, dumb, dumb. You’re either a committed dieter – or not.
- If your life feels in control on all levels except dieting – stop and consider: If you have enough inner strength to balance job, family, relationship, home and hearth, why can’t you control your food choices?
- Drawing on your inner willpower gets easier the more you use it. (I know I said that before, but it’s true!)
So back to that question about the moment of truth when you are faced with a tough diet choice. You have a split second to decide between Door # 1 (weak dieter) and Door #2 (stellar dieter). In those decision nanoseconds, your mind has to process how truly important your diet is to you. Remember, it’s not about the diet per se, but your reason for being on a diet. If your diet is based on personal misery and the limitations of being overweight, draw on those emotions as you face temptations.
Are you miserable enough to say no to holiday cookies? If so, you have willpower. If not, stop and consider how important losing weight really is to you.
We all have willpower within us. Only you have the power to activate it.