Is this you?
I can’t tell you the number of times I hear this: I’m just not strong enough or I don’t have the willpower to lose weight. Or, I can’t give up sugar because I have no willpower. I can’t work out as I have no willpower.
Well, I call B.S. (with a lotta love) on that and I’ll tell you why?
First of all, you don’t need willpower to lose weight or to get in shape. Willpower is an excuse we choose to hide behind, in fact you are probably holding on to a “belief” that willpower or lack of it is what’s holding you back.
Just like the “belief” that you have an uncontrollable sweet tooth or that you just can’t wake up early in the morning to work out.
Our beliefs are so dear to us that we hold on to them with a death grip and beliefs about food and exercise can sometimes be so blinding that we don’t see them as they are.
So let’s take an example and break it down:
“I don’t have the willpower to resist sweets.”
Is that really true?
I mean let’s say you were stranded on an island which had no sugar, would you die? I mean, eventually you may die of starvation, or loneliness or being attacked by a wild animal, but it won’t happen because you couldn’t find dessert.
Or let’s say your doctor told you that you had severe diabetes and sugar could kill you. Would you go home and call it quits because you have no willpower to control your sugar or would you find a way to get rid of your sugar addiction?
Or let’s say you are on a reality tv show and they offered you a million dollars to give up sugar for a month, and that million dollars would change your family’s life forever, would you still turn around and say, “I don’t have the will power?”
Yeah, I didn’t think so. We make time and put in an effort for what matters to us. Period.
In an attempt to blame something for our inner resistance, we tell ourselves all kinds of stories that turn into beliefs. These beliefs become stronger over the years and eventually become the chains that hold us back from succeeding.
Humans around the world have defied the odds and done the impossible over and over again. You may have heard of Ernestine Shepherd, the woman who decided to compete as a bodybuilder at the age of 71 and became the oldest bodybuilder in the world.
Or Artis Thompson III who challenged our excuses as he competed in the American Ninja Warrior show with one prosthetic leg.
Let’s not forget about the oldest yoga teacher and oldest ballroom dance competitor Tao Porchon-Lynch
They didn’t do it because they had willpower, they did it because they had a strong reason behind their desire to achieve those results, and that strong reason drove them to put in the work to get there.
So before you hear yourself saying that you need willpower to get in shape, I challenge you to ask yourself 3 questions:
- Where did that belief originate from?
- How can I check myself every time I hear it coming out of my mouth?
- Who do I need to be to breakthrough that belief?
For me personally, I realized I was so bored and unfulfilled that I was subconsciously looking for joy and my go-to source for dopamine was food. It was always around and it made me feel good instantly.
I answered the 3 questions above and realized that my old belief came from my Mom telling me that wasting food was bad, so I felt bad throwing out food from my children’s plate. I checked the belief and realized that if I didn’t want to waste food, I should give them smaller quantities and not treat my belly as a garbage can.
Then, I enlisted the help of my children to breakthrough those beliefs. I told them to throw out any leftovers as soon as they were done and I made sure I had a healthy, satisfying snack before they got home from school.
Finally, I made a list of 3- 5 things that brought me joy that were not food:
- Meeting a friend for coffee
- Going for a walk
- Playing a board game with my kids or
- Putting on a fun playlist and dancing to it
If you find yourself seeking joy through food, you don’t need willpower to resist it, you just need to challenge your old beliefs, find out where they originated, create new ones and reach out for support and accountability to keep you consistent.
What are some non-food sources of joy in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers and transform through Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement.
We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have accepted that I am a sensitive person. This was one thing I looked at as a flaw before, but now I embrace it and hold it with pride like a badge of honor as it is my sensitivity that makes me hyper-aware of the needs of my clients and everyone I am around.
2. Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I appreciate my body and will never say negative things about it ever again. It took me a long time to see my body as more than its appearance on the outside. I have learned to be grateful for everything my body does for me and see it as a powerhouse as opposed to just a size or shape or number on the scale.
3. Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
I’m proud of myself for losing 80 lbs but more importantly, I’m proud of taking my passion for helping others and turning it into a full time income producing business. Running a business is not something I knew how to do, but I have learnt to put all the pieces together and watch it grow and my goal is to make a positive impact on as many people as I can in this lifetime.