That’s right, you can tell by the title how I feel about willpower: I think it’s bullshit.
Willpower is a myth that has been sold to us for years. I strongly believe relying on your willpower to achieve your goals can not be done - specifically as it pertains to food and fat loss. Here’s why:
Willpower is finite.
You do not have an endless supply - it ebbs and flows. Sometimes the willpower tank is full, and sometimes it’s not.
Every day, in one form or another, you exert willpower. You resist the urge to browse Facebook instead of finishing your expense report. You reach for fruit when you’re craving a vending machine snack. You bite your tongue when you’d like to make a snide remark. With every exertion of willpower, you are slowly making withdrawls from your willpower bank.
A growing body of research shows that resisting repeated temptations eventually takes a mental toll. Think about what happens to the muscles of your body when you overexert them: they get tired, overworked and fatigued. When your muscles are fatigued they are much harder to use properly. Some experts liken willpower to a muscle, and just like the main muscles of your body, the willpower muscle can get overused to the point of fatigue. I’d venture to say everyone knows what it feels like when your willpower muscle is exhausted.
So, when your day consists of 1000 tiny scenarios that require willpower and you try adding a restrictive meal plan to the mix, you are destined to strain that willpower muscle at some point. You’re naturally set up to fail that diet, eventually. Whether it’s with your co-workers at happy hour after a stressful day at work, or in your pantry when you’re scraping the bottom of the peanut butter jar, you’ll eventually run out of the willpower to white-knuckle it through a diet that leaves you feeling deprived.
We put far too much pressure on willpower to do all of the work when we should spend time on creating an environment that is conducive to behavior change. To be successful, I encourage you to limit your need to rely on willpower that much at all. Remove your need to white-knuckle it through a diet in order to achieve your goals for health and fat loss by creating an eating pattern that takes the least amount of time and requires the fewest decisions. You want to eat in a way that doesn’t confuse or stifle you - a way that allows for some wiggle room and freedom. A way that definitely does not leave you feeling deprived.
I see people resort to restrictive dieting and extreme workouts that rely far too much on willpower and far too little on creating an environment that minimizes decisions and fosters change.
Willpower is bullshit, so don’t play the that game!