food recovery / life

willpower

willpower \ˈwil-ˌpau(-ə)r\

energetic determination

I hate the word willpower.

I was thinking about that word today when I was watching DanceMom’s on the couch cuddling with my new foster kitty, Delilah.

I need willpower to lose weight
If I only had willpower then I would stop bingeing
I need willpower to make it through this party
I’d exercise, but I just can’t seem to find my willpower
The ONLY way to lose weight is to have willpower against food.

Willpower, in the dieting/fitness/food context has only led my energy being consumed with having willpower against life’s ‘temptations’. This focus on ‘willpower’ led to the anxiety, exhaustion, and emotional pre-occupation that becomes all too much. When I couldn’t handle it any more, I would always end up in the same place of why not just ‘have willpower tomorrow..I promise’.

I remember going to parties and trying to pysch myself up so I wouldn’t binge. For the first 30 minutes I could ‘be good’. What that really meant was me totally focusing on the food, not being able to enjoy the party, the people, the fun, or relax. I was consumed with trying to constantly tap into my ‘energetic determination’ to not binge, go over my points, shove my face, or start tomorrow. Ultimately, it boiled down to the self-engrained ‘truth’ that: I just ‘didn’t have enough willpower’. Thus, the tape of ‘i’ll start tomorrow when I have more willpower’ commenced, as well as the shoving of my face with food. I wanted to eat as much food that I ‘shouldn’t have’, so I could start over tomorrow.

I think that often times willpower is rooted in the idea of the ‘Voice’.

The Voice-induced decisions–those made from shame and force, guilt or deprivation, cannot be trusted. They do not last because they are based on fear of consequences instead of longing for truth. ~Geneen Roth

I do think that the true idea of being determined to overcome your own struggles, battles, and woes with ‘energetic determination’ is a great thing. For.the.right.reasons.

However, I do NOT think that willpower is used in that context when applied to the majority of usage in the dieting, fitness, or food contexts for the right reasons. I think that willpower is a very negative word that either is based upon the idea that people can’t trust themselves if they don’t have sort of need to have willpower for.

I don’t have willpower. I never had. What I’m learning instead, is that I have trust in my own character to make the right decisions, work through my ‘willpower’ induced tapes and the knowledge that I can do anything I want. To silence the voice, stop controlling my everything and surrender to the fact that I can do this without guilt, shame or willpower.

~Mish

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