The Willpower Myth

Let’s talk about willpower real quick.

Around this time of year food and body comments run rampant.

“It can't believe I’m eating these ____. It’s like I can’t stop!”
“You have so much self control! I can’t be around _____ without losing my sh*t.”
“Don’t judge me, but I’m going to eat ____.”
“If I can just make through these 30 days without ______ I’ll be golden.”

We rely on the idea of willpower, hoping it’ll help us follow restrictive diets. That it’ll help up control ourselves around food and lose those last ____ pounds this new year.

We’re taught that if we have enough of it, we’ll be alright. We’ll finally achieve the body we’ve been grinding away for.

With enough willpower, we’ll finally achieve “health”.

But, willpower is elusive.

Especially when it comes to dieting.

Think about it this way… eating and hunger are natural instincts.

So is peeing.

If willpower worked to suppress a natural instinct, a built in mechanism of our body, we could apply it to having to pee.

Can you imagine it?

Talking yourself out of going to the bathroom because you’d be “so bad” if you did? That if you could make it through the next 30 days with pee’ing a little less, you’d finally have the body of your dreams?

Sounds ridiculous, right?

→And pretty uncomfortable! (see the carryover with dieting!?)

So, why then, do we apply the concept of willpower to what we put in our bodies?

Ladies, I know that you know that it just doesn’t work.

But it can be really hard to acknowledge that doing what you’ve always done might not be the solution.

→You know the routine. You’re able to white-knuckle it through your diet until sh*t hits the fan, and then all bets are off.

And then you feel ALL the feelings because willpower has done it again! Duped you into believing that with enough of it, you’ll be alright.

But willpower is elusive.

When we deprive ourselves and deny our built-in, natural needs, we’re simply setting ourselves up to overindulge. And to continue to look outside of ourselves for a solution.

Willpower isn’t the solution. The idea of willpower is the problem.

And, the solution doesn't come from outside noise and plans. It’s an inside job.

Instead of micromanaging your built in body signals, try embracing them, honoring them and learning from them.

→That’s what leads to long term health and behavior change.

→That’s what'll help you re-learn how to eat in a way that honors your unique body and being.

→That’s self-care right there!

→Want to learn how to give up the dieting madness and how to stop feeling so out of control around food?

The Dieter’s Rebellion Support Group is now enrolling! Head to here for more info!


Body Image Coach Philadelphia, PA

I'm a self-love, body image and eating disorder therapist in Horsham, PA.

I help people make peace with their minds, bodies and food and learn how to see, appreciate and love all that they are. 

I specialize in treating anxiety, binge eating and helping women learn how to stop dieting and really start living.

Questions? Get in touch here!