October 28, 2011

Dieting is not about willpower

Willpower has limits.

All too often, the unsuccessful dieter blames their own "lack of willpower." Why did they give in to that treat, those choices at dinner, the late night doughnut drive-through?

Why can't they dine upon a single lettuce leaf drizzled with fat free dressing?

Because such eating won't keep them alive, that's why.

demotivational posters - DETERMINATIONWe can think our problem is lack of willpower... but we would be wrong.

Our problem is that we are told we must starve ourselves to lose weight.

Then, when our bodies rebel against low intake, when we struggle against starving ourselves... it's our fault we can't do
see more Very Demotivational it!

If we thought about it, we would see how ridiculous that is. But we don't get a chance to think about it; we are so overwhelmed with judgmental messages about how piggy, undisciplined, and hedonistic we are.

My own liberation came about when I realized how unfounded such charges were in my own case.

I have discipline. I have lots of discipline. I couldn't have developed my binge/starve cycle without it!

I've gone as long as five days without eating. I've kept myself to 1200 calories for weeks on end; until I stopped losing weight. Once the scale stopped dropping (and it was never as low as I wanted it to be) I stopped finding the will to starve myself.

Fact is, every overweight person in the land has proven themselves able to discipline themselves... only, not indefinitely. We cannot struggle, and win, against our own instincts, indefinitely.

The problem is that starving ourselves doesn't work. Or, you know, it would work.

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