What do you think when you hear of the subject "will power?"
Think about it.
When I pondered this topic, I closed my eyes and let my mind go, and I came up with this illustration.
So I'm a bit visual. This is what I picture when I think of will power.
A strong person who is standing conqueror over her bad habits. She is using all of her strength to lift her willpower above her head. The thing that is helping her to raise her will power is her mind. To me, this represents mind over matter. She is able to do it, because she knows, or believes that she can. Yet, with the motion marks and sweat, it shows that it is taking her a great deal of effort to push that will power up. All the while, she is smiling, because she is happy that her bad habits are beneath her in all sense of the meaning. She is victorious.
When it comes to will power, I am my own worst enemy. I have talked about this briefly in previous posts, but I have never really jumped into the topic very deep. In my near 28 years of life, I have come to realize that I stand in my own way the majority of the time...especially when it comes to weight loss and health.
When I wake up, I mentally place before me choices for the day. I usually have the desire to work out. I love it, really. However, when I get to bed at a late hour, I am less motivated to get myself out there. When someone brings over a treat, say a piece of cake, or some candy (last night, a secret "ghost" left us a bag of candy at our door), I have to really engage myself in making a decision to eat only one piece of candy, or to get rid of the rest. Even if I don't get rid of it, I still have to consciously make the decision to not eat piece after piece throughout the day (after all, it was meant for my daughters).
Another time that I need to place my will power over my bad habits is when I am hungry and looking for something to eat. Often times, for me, the quick and easy snacks are usually low in nutrients, and high in calories.
So how do we do it? How do we use our will power to make better choices for our lives? Because, ultimately, we can choose whatever we want... we don't HAVE to eat healthy, and we don't HAVE to work out, but we do know that those are the things that are going to help us get to a healthy weight.
I can't give you a definite answer on this. Every person is different. But one thing that I do know, we need to determine what our weaknesses are. We need to analyze our choices, food and activities, and we have to determine where our problem lies. What are our bad habits? In any addiction program, we have to take the step away from denial, and accept that we need to change.
This is Honest Weight Loss after all, so I will start. I am addicted to sugar. I crave it daily. I am a bored snacker, meaning I root through the cupboards when I am bored. This plays a close hand to me being a depressed eater. I eat when I am feeling down. Lastly, I am a rebellious eater. I eat to spite someone else. It is my coping mechanism when I cannot retaliate. All in all, I am an emotional eater. I abuse food, for my own pleasure, and for my relief of strong emotion.
Wow. I have never come to that conclusion. I mean, some of these things I have known, but I never noticed that I use food to cope with my emotional problems. As I was typing this out, the words just came to my head.
I USE FOOD TO COPE WITH MY PROBLEMS.
That is really a giant pill to swallow. I had no idea that my weight problem was rooted to my emotions.
So, let's talk about how to cope with this. I hope that you are thinking about why you eat, or what keeps your will power at bay.
From the therapy experience that I have had, I know that each of us have our issues. We have our triggers and we have our coping mechanisms, and these two things usually move in cycles. For example, I get bored and go looking for something to eat when I am not necessarily hungry. That usually leads to me feeling icky, and in turn feeling bad about myself. When I begin feeling bad about myself, I begin to self-loath and begin to feel depressed. When I begin to feel depressed, I eat. When I get upset, angry, frustrated, and impatient, I eat.
My triggers are negative emotions and negative self-talk. Those all lead to the consumption of unhealthy or too much food.
I found these two awesome diagrams on this website Chocolate is My Kryptonite. They give a visual of the cycle.
It is never a perfect science, because like the title says, I am my own worst enemy. Its time to step out of my own way, and change the bad habits. One habit at a time, I can slowly build up my self will... and by then, I just might not need to exert my self will, because my habits will be good ones. Its just like a runner or athlete. He or she has to train in order to be able to perform in excellent shape. I can't go and run a marathon right now. I have to train for it. One day at a time, one mile at a time.
So REMEMBER, we can't change over night! We just have to change the little things bit by bit and eat the elephant one bite at a time.... PUN COMPLETELY INTENDED!
Now get out of your own way, because NOTHING is impossible!