Will power and weight loss.


Is will power all it takes to loss weight?  Can you lose weight without being a strong willed person?  Mommymeepa thought a post about will power would be cool, so today I am posting on will power and weight loss.

Is will power all I need to lose weight and keep it off?  I don’t think so. I suppose that I could label those little choices I make right off the bat in the face of temptation as will power though.  Will power is some un-seen force that people believe that they either have or don’t have.  I just don’t believe this.  I feel that everyone has the same chance at losing weight and getting healthy.  I also feel like it has more to do with changing the way we think and the way we organize our environment.  Here are some thoughts on why I think that the battle is not won or lost on will power alone.

Eating is a biological need

First off, I and you and everyone on earth has a biological NEED to eat.  I can’t escape this.  If I do a diet that is to restrictive and my biological NEED is constantly kicking in, no amount of “will power” will keep me away from food.  This is like saying that I can hold my breath long enough to kill myself because I have enough will power.  It is just automatic to do what it takes to live and we need to eat to live.  However, we don’t need to live to eat. HAHAHA. 

Our thinking prompts our behavior

A lot of how I act towards food has to do with the way I am thinking inside about it.  Let’s say a temptation comes up and I am actually not even hungry at all because I just ate but now I want some donuts.  My thoughts like, “Eating donuts will make me feel better.”  “I want to binge because I have had a bad day”  “I deserve donuts because I have been soo good”.  All of these thoughts are what is prompting me to eat wrong and they are all based on lies.  All of those thoughts are me giving credence to a lie.  Donuts won’t make me feel better no matter how many I eat and they are counter-productive as a reward.  When I change my thinking it takes a lot of the power out of these situations.  Have you ever known a lier.  Someone who is constantly lying to you about even the stuff that they don’t need to lie about?  You just blow them off because you can’t trust what they say.  So goes it with the thoughts.  You blow them off because you know they are not true or reliable. 

Strategy and planning make a huge difference

This little category of why I think it is not done on will power alone is very crucial.  Strategy and planning to me, separate those how will lose weight at all costs and those who will end up watching from the outside of the journey. I would never have lost all my weight and kept it off thus far without strategy and planning.  I mean I cut off at the roots many situations that could make me stumble as part of my strategy.  For me this battle was life or death basically and if I was going to succeed I needed to really make changes.  I set up a strategy on how I was going to increase my activity, how I was going to slowly add healthier food in over time, how I was going to monitor my weight and running, and I how I would avoid situations that would lead me away from goal.  I did this all ahead of time.  I stopped driving on certain roads with the restaurants that I liked.  I stopped buying my boss lunch so that I could be safe from that tempting situation.  I told every single invite no if it was going to be during my WW meeting.  Sure, these decisions weren’t always easy but it made my journey easier and that is what I needed.  I think strategy and planning removes a lot of the need to have “will power”.

So those are my  couple of thoughts on the subject of will power and weight loss.  Here are some links to on topic articles that will also be of help to us all.

Does will power matter?

Want power v s. Will power


14 Responses to “Will power and weight loss.”

  1. 1 cj
    March 2, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Hey Jason, great post. I haven’t been doing well, diet wise (and health wise) and have been lax on the healthy eating. I realize its my doing, not my health. My choices. I keep letting life get in my way instead of forcing it to do my will. That’s what I need to do. I do well if I plan ahead, quit making excuses….but, I play these stupid little mind games like you talked about saying I deserve this because I’ve been good, or I’ve done extra exercise, or because “one won’t hurt me”. The hardest part for me is that I know all of this. I am a pretty smart person and not one to let others push me around, but I do let this little unhealthy, diet-sabotaging, alter-ego tell me what I am going to do. Time to stand up to myself I guess! LOL

    Thanks for the post! IT got me thinking!

    • 2 run4change
      March 2, 2009 at 7:00 am

      No problem CJ. I am glad that this post could help you out some. I know when meepa brought the topic up to me it sure made me think also

  2. March 2, 2009 at 7:05 am

    Excellent post! I especially love your point about everyone having the same chance to succeed at weight loss and being healthy. I like encouraging people and letting them know that – just like you have done here. Awesome. Hey, are you going to be a leader when you hit Lifetime? You’d make a great one, you know. Very inspirational and smart.

    • 4 run4change
      March 2, 2009 at 7:07 am

      I have been lifetime actually now for over a year. I got lifetime in Dec. 2007 and have maintained since then. I would love to be a leader but my work schedule would not allow for it. I sure would like it though

  3. March 2, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Howdy Jason. I have been reading your blog, as usual, but have been traveling again, and havent been able to leave you messages ~ wanted to say thanks for this post…your help a few weeks ago in regards to me “planning” has really helped me. I have been traveling for my business a lot more this year, and planning is allowing me to be successful. Having the food that I know is good for me on hand, is the only way for me to stay on track. I love knowing that I can travel, grow my business and shrink my body. Thanks for your help! Smile, SAM

  4. 7 Teresa
    March 2, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Very timely post for me today, friend. Thanks. I got on the scale this morning and realized that I have gained…quite a bit. I am frustrated with myself to say the least. So I’ve been thinking about the times that I’ve been successful in comparison with the past several weeks. What is the difference? I think strategy and planning have been huge factors when I’ve been successful. I’ve been most successful when I’ve been participating in a weight loss challenge at the gym. I think the main reason is that my exercise is structured, I’m responsible to pull my weight as part of a team, and I have a beginning and end date in mind.

    I realize there won’t always be one to participate in and that I need to find a way to pull that structure into my normal life. Why is it that when I’m in a challenge at the gym and my participation is expected (and often the challenges are structured such that my attendance affects the overall standing of the team) it is easy for me to make it a priority and to tell the others in my life “I’m sorry, I can’t do XYZ tonight. I have a prior commitment.” But when the prior commitment is with myself only I find it all too easy to superimpose other people’s priorities on my time or adjust my priorities on the fly to accommodate thing of less importance?

    I am so good with my food choices when I know that I have to go get on a scale in front of other people and that my outcome will be posted on a website for the world to see. Why then do I find it acceptable to eat things off my food plan, knowing full-well that if I don’t reign it in, the results will be posted on my body for all the world to see 🙂

    And, why is it that I can stick with something when there is a finite timetable of a challenge, when what I really want is to be healthy my whole life and I want that to be a very long and active one. Why, knowing that, do I make such poor choices?

    Sorry for the rant. I’m just struggling right now. I obviously have the answer and am just having a difficult time making it a part of my life. I appreciate your posts–they keep me thinking about this and help me to not give up completely.

    • 8 run4change
      March 2, 2009 at 9:07 am

      You hit on what I think the reason that it is easier for me to lose than it is for me to maintain. There is an end, there is a goal that can be attained. Like you say, “a timetable”. It gives more substance to what I am doing or something like that. The challenges are a perfect example of me making goals that are fitness orientated rather than weight loss. Your challenge may be for weight loss, but the meaning behind it is the same. You participate in this “thing” trying to win, or for me it is trying to finish a marathon or ultra. The by-product of trying to win and attain that goal is weight loss/maintenance. I really need that extra goal to participate in just like you do. So this is one of the main reasons why I try to do a marathon every month or two because I know that I have to keep on running in order to at least be in good enough shape to finish the race without feeling miserable. You are not alone my friend. I share much of the same feelings and stuggles as you just wrote in this comment. I thank you for sharing.


  5. 9 Kim
    March 2, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Fantastic post Jason and I cannot agree with you more and I would add this. By saying it is because I have no will power, I am giving my power and control away to “something” that can then determine my success or failure. It lets me not own it, either my successes or my failures. THe reality is…I am losing the weight (or not), I CHOOSE to go to the gym (or not) and I CHOOSE every bite of food that goes in my mouth (or not). With it being about choices and planning, I get to own all of teh results….all of teh GOOD and all of thenot so good. When you OWN the good, fully, it makes me want more of it…creates a new craving inside me. When I OWN the not so good, ironically it creates teh same craving as when I own teh good. I want something different adn better and am then willing to make teh hard choices to make it happen!

    • 10 run4change
      March 2, 2009 at 9:33 am

      Right on Kim. Right on. You make so much sense in this comment. I love it. Thanks for your great contribution. 🙂

  6. 11 Candice
    March 2, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Hi Jason. Why did ww work for you? I believe that I read that when you first started ww, at least the first day, you went and had fast food, but then at some point, you took ww very seriously and then never even went over your daily points for an entire year I think. Why did you end up following ww so well when you had been struggling with your weight for so long? Thanks.

    • 12 run4change
      March 2, 2009 at 5:14 pm

      I did go eat a bunch of fast food right after my first meeting. The program just made sense and I never felt deprived ever on the plan. I started out with 44 points and that is a lot of food. I tend to feel deprived sometimes now but not that bad. It is usually when I am in a rebellious mood.

      I don’t think I can really say although I would like to be able too. It just clicked with me and I started to feed off of the support and the weight loss and it snow balled into more success which lead to more people enocuraging me. I thought of it as life or death also. That helped. I was at the end of myself and wanted to lose the weight sooooooo bad that I would have done anything. I am also an extreme person who does things all the way and not half way.

  7. 13 lili47
    March 2, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Wow great post Jason. I’ve often thought alcoholics can stop drinking and choose to never be around booze again. Overeaters on the other hand, are still around food and they of course need to be. 🙂

    I like your points about those bad thoughts being LIES that lead to overeating. And some lies can be so sneaky and deceiving that we don’t even see them as lies at first.

    Now I’m off to read the links you so kindly shared with us. THANK you !

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