Tuesday, May 4, 2010

DAY 268 Willpower Schmillpower

Hi there, Journal & Friends,

I think Willpower is over-rated. I don't put much stock in it... it has always failed me in the past. My supply of it is miniscule.

Someone once left me a nice comment, saying they admired my willpower... I laughed right out loud!

Admire my will power... say what??!

Na Uh.... not me. 

To me, willpower is like a flash... like the initial spark given off by a spark plug. Then it is spent... and then I am relying on the OTHER things I have learned over the years. 

That spark is great to get those OTHER things set into motion, though. Fortunately, that initial spark of willpower only needs to last long enough to ignite those things in my life that have been the true source of my progress. Things like:

ROUTINES... habits, things to do that become automatic. They don't require willpower, you just do them out of habit. Once set into place, and repeated enough, they carry you when you don't "feel" like it.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL... you can't eat what's not here! Getting the current problem foods out of my house, out of my immediate reach. Some people can eat a little bit of anything, some can't. Um... I can't. Right now, sugar will set off nutso cravings for me. So, in order to reach my goals, I am willing to NOT eat it.

REGULAR WEIGH INS... knowing that I will see the results of my choices. This is a good kind of pressure for me. Whatever the results are, the information is always useful to me.

SUBSTITUTE FAVORITES... to take the place of the foods that still affect me too much (sugar)... this way I don't feel left out or abnormal or resentful. Yes, all rather immature reactions, but it is what it is... for now. I expect it will be better in time.

REWARDS... to add some enjoyment and fun to the process of change. Since my journey is soooo long (I started at 460lbs) I find I need to break it up into fun mini-goals, and enjoy little rewards along the way. NON-edible rewards, just to be clear. ;-)

SUBSTITUTE BEHAVIORS... this is a biggee...things to do that are instantly available  INSTEAD of eating, at those times when hit with strong impulses. Gotta just hold out for little while, and the impulse will usually fade. The best for ME is something creative, I get lost in time and the pressure to eat gets more and more quiet. 

Also, at times I need to examine those feelings, and face my stuff, not stuff my face. For me, it's a situational thing, as to which I do. If it's just long-standing habits (like wanting to eat whenever I turn on the tv) then I use the substitute behaviors. If it's some kind of inner turmoil that I need to deal with instead of eating, then I've just gotta face it and deal with it, not numb it with food. See the diff??

At one time I wrote out a whole list of substitute behaviors... things to do that were incompatible with eating. In other words, something to do during which I can NOT EAT. For example: can you eat while taking a nice hot shower? Or with both hands busy crocheting? Or while outside going for a brisk walk holding little dumbells? 

Anyway, if you are relying on Willpower to see you through a long journey, please re-examine that method. There is so much more than that to carry you all the way to victory. Those of us that have lost a bunch of weight are no different than those that are just starting... we just figured out what works for us. 

If you are at the beginning of your journey, I hope this helps you see that there is no magic formula, no exceptional person... that YOU can do this too. 

CHOOSE to do it.
Whatever it takes.
Be consistent.
Be honest with yourself.
Never quit.
Remember WHY you are doing it.
One good choice at a time.
It will be worth it.

From Dr Phil's book: "You must have a new conversation with yourself that responds to negative messages truthfully and positively."

My verse for today: "Praise the Lord, O my soul... who satisfies your desire with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

My quote for today: "Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival." --Winston Churchill

Enjoy the Journey,



midlife_swimmer said...


that TOPS lady said...

I'm with ya---my willpower flies out the door often. I loved your list.

Anonymous said...

Loved the poionters. All so true. And helpful. The substitution part has been key for me. I've been whipping up strawberried and bananas in my food processor to replace ice cream. I would only have to add one thing to your list--prayer.

Actually, for me, that "I want to binge." prayer looks more like flinging myself into the Father's lap and holding on--until He quenches my desire to eat.

When I don't do that, I binge. Then I hold onto Him for a different reason, in a different way. I like the first way best. :)

Thanks for that list. I nodded all the way thru it. It was an excellent refresher course. I think I'm going to reread it now. !


Debbie said...

Great post! I really liked we "are no different than those that are just starting... we just figured out what works for us."

I think that's the hardest part for some...finding out what works for them. Once I figured it out, it's gotten so much easier. Also, being consistent. It has to be a way of life, not just another diet!

cmoursler said...

Amen, I completely agree..
I don't rely on will power...eventually it fades and then I WILL eat.
every thing you said.
spot on.

karen@fitnessjourney said...

Amen, Amen, Amen! I keep saying the whole don't-bring-it-in-the-house thing, but I don't think people get me. Seriously, I have no willpower when it comes to dark chocolate, why torture myself?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. All so very true.

Personally, I loved the Sheltie bath tub pic. I have two shelties and I can actually imagine them relaxing just like that!

Florrie said...

Im using this to help me figure out a plan to survive six weeks working in holland...

Lisa, motyok said...

Such wisdom!

Anonymous said...

Oh my...the dog in the bathtub had me laughing. So funny!

What a wonderful message Loretta. Thank you.

Leslie said...

GREAT post, Loretta. I needed to hear every work. And I loved "face my stuff so I don't stuff my face". Never heard that before. You're doing great - good steady progress. Thanks for the inspiration.

Patsy said...

Love the post! :o)

Anonymous said...

I think everything you say in this post is right on target!! So many of us DO rely on willpower, and when we fail, we take it as a failure as a human being. "I must not be strong enough, I must not be good enough" that sort of thinking. Great, great post...and something I think all of us need to remember while we are on this journey, no matter WHERE we are on this journey.

CinciMom11 said...

Wow! You just exposed willpower for what it really is. I'd never given it much thought before. You made some great points! Your list of things that willpower can lead to is helpful to see. I'm reflecting on it right now. :) With that said, you do have amazing willpower even if you don't realize it. :)

Anonymous said...

totally. i get it. yeah i dont have much willpower either, its the other stuff that keeps me going.

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