Updated: Jun 30, 2020
"I don't have any willpower"-- One of the complaints I hear among my clients and those who struggle with stopping binge eating or weight loss The American Psychological Association defines willpower as "the ability to delay gratification and resist short-term temptations to achieve long-term goals."
Let me tell you a little dirty secret.
I don't have willpower. My most successful clients don't have willpower either.
That's right - NO willpower, yet still successful.
How is that even possible?
"Willpower" is just a lie that the diet industry tells us. Willpower is a finite resource, and too much reliance on it will leave vulnerable to temptations.
Habits, fatigue, blood sugar, hormones, our gut all affect our cravings and decision-making (where “willpower” comes in). For this reason, we want to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success in a way that requires as little of our willpower reserves as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to plan ahead.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
In this mini training, I explain how planning is crucial for success. Because different parts of the brain have different functions and we use different parts of the brain for different tasks. Our primal brain is primarily responsible for survival and food is essential for survival.
On the other hand, there is a part of the brain called the prefrontal and that is the logical side of us, allows us to see our long-term goals. And when we plan, we use our prefrontal cortex. Because our actions are mostly driven by our primal brain, which only cares about instant gratification (aka immediate reward), without a plan, it’s almost impossible to expect ourselves to act in the best interest of our goals. And after making hundreds of decision during the day, in the evening, our decision fatigue makes it much more likely that we behave in our habitual way and that includes nighttime snacking.
Take a look at the structure of your day. What is your routine? Is there even a routine? Establishing routine is a must for making good choices. If you follow a set schedule and eat foods in moderation (not restricting!), you will find it easier to resist the urge to overeat on a regular basis.
Watch for trends. What is your own danger zone? What are your triggers? These insights provide opportunities to cope ahead. You learn from triggers, mitigate difficult situations and build on your success.
Ask yourself WHY? What is your motivation? WHY do you have this goal? WHY is this important? Those motivators are different for each of us...being a good mom...seeing your kids graduate... health...confidence...
Remember, no one is perfect.
Planning in advance is likely something new to you. So is 3+2+0.
Don't compare your progress anyone else's. Your best is your best at this stage and time. And from each decision (good or bad), you learn.
1. This post is part of the Snacking Challenge taking place inside of my free Facebook community-the Stop Binge Eating Community
2. Download my free 3+2+0 guide, which is foundation of this training