When Willpower Isn’t Enough…

Saturday night, the hubs and I went out for our Valentines date. He’s the best, he let me pick where we were going to eat. I like to think it’s because he adores me so much that he chooses to let me make these kind of important decisions (insert winking emoji here). But in reality, it’s probably because he knows that he can go eat out wherever and whenever he wants without being tied to strategic eating rules, and I’m choosing not to go out except on indulgence meals. Since it was my decision, can you guess where I chose? CAVA! (What can I say, I like what I like!). It was such a treat, based on our current covid guidelines, we were even able to eat in the restaurant!


While we were out on our date, we got a FaceTime call from Progeny #1 telling us not to pick up any dessert because Grammy and Poppa had Crumbl cookies delivered to us as a surprise Valentines present! Are you kidding me!?!? This night could not get any better! If you’ve been on this journey with me long, you might be starting to comprehend how much I LOVE COOKIES. And oh my goodness! Grammy and Poppa were GENEROUS! They even had us sent the BIG BOX of cookies! When we buy them for ourselves, we only buy the box that fits four cookies in it! They spoiled us!

And, if you have been following this blog for any amount of time, you also know how there are certain aspects of this weight loss journey that I have a real battle with. Namely binge eating. For the most part, over the last 6.5 weeks, I’ve been able to eat “with my head”. I’ve been able to make logical decisions on which foods have gone in my mouth. I’ve been able to talk myself out of most emotional eating, or excessive eating… until this weekend.

Maybe it was the idea of “letting loose” with the two holidays in a long weekend.

I already knew that I was going to give myself a break from any studying of my Nutrition Coach certification. I was going to let myself have the full long weekend off from any blog writing (mental breaks are critical to ones health, and ability to sustain their goals). So aside from a few client sessions, I was going to just take a break to focus on family.

With all of that, I also found myself letting loose with my nutrition. I really did make some concerted effort on Sunday to resist the leftover cookies. There were at least 30 times throughout the day that I found myself looking in the direction of the giant pink cookie box. Each time, willing myself away by screaming the thought in my mind “DON’T EVEN OPEN THE BOX!” That worked all day long, until it didn’t anymore. My will power just wasn’t strong enough. The last thing I ate on Sunday was a half of the Nutella Sea Salt cookie. (I know, I know, it could have been worse… but I still gave in)!

Then Monday happened, and the “DON’T EVEN OPEN THE BOX” was a much weaker thought in my head. I didn’t even make it until mid-afternoon before I had eaten just as many cookies as I did on Saturday night indulgence night, when my cookie consumption was perfectly acceptable. That was when I practically ordered my husband to come to the kitchen and hide the remaining cookies from me so that I could no longer self-sabotage (Why didn’t I think to do that right after the indulgence meal was over on Saturday night!?!? Lesson learned!)

At this point, the cookies were no longer the culprit to my demise. It was the weakened willpower toward my weight loss goals, which has extended even into today with some Oreos and Kroger Maple Creme cookies (Maybe I need the hubs to put a padlock on the pantry, too….).

Willpower vs. Definitive Decisions

Today I’ve been contemplating on the role that willpower plays in success. It’s an excellent starting point, but our wills are malleable. I have been battling two separate wills, this weekend. Namely, the will to eat all the cookies, and the will to eat none of the cookies so that I could cling to my nutrition strategy. Since the old me is still so much a part of me, the game of tug of war ended in favor of the old me. We can want one thing one minute, and then be easily distracted by something shiny, and want that the next moment.

Since I preach the principle of being kind to yourself through all the ups and downs of the weight loss journey, I’m choosing to look at this weekend as a learning experience. In hindsight, I recognize that I was missing a very key element which would have helped me to be more successful against the cat calls from the cookie box. I was indecisive!

If you’re a quote person, you’ll absolutely love this article by Benjamin Hardy, PhD. He lists a bunch of motivational quotes by some wise famous people, and then inserts his own really profound interpretations of those quotes. This, below, is his own words. It’s exactly the message that I want you to take from my blog post today:

“The more you desire specific things, the more you have to say “no” to nearly everything else. True decisions mean you cut off all alternative options. Decision is the opposite of willpower, because willpower means you never actually decided and you never shaped an environment to facilitate that choice. Willpower means you never trained your desires and you never reshaped your brain and identity to match those desires. In other words, if you have willpower in your life, it means you’re still battling your old self, and you haven’t made a true decision about what you are and what you’re about. It becomes much easier to say “no” when you’ve made a real decision.”

Benjamin Hardy, PhD

During a client personal training session, this morning, we were talking about willpower.

This client, of mine, has a gift for helping me to put things in the right perspective. He suggested to me that maybe my problem was that I was trying to rely on my own, mortal and weak willpower. I need to call on God to ask Him to lend me His willpower to strengthen me against the distractions which are hell-bent on derailing my efforts.

I’m not sure where you stand in your religious beliefs, but for me, religion is EVERYTHING! This client and I have different religious backgrounds from each other. And that’s 1000% okay! We share enough belief to know that we are nothing without our God and His divine guidance in our lives.

So after the Oreo and Maple Creme cookie incident, this afternoon, I remembered our conversation from this morning. I turned to prayer, asking for God to lend me some of His will as I embrace a definitive decision to stop my non-strategic behaviors in its tracks.

From A definitive decision by a court of law is one that will not be changed.

My conversation in prayer, with God, was really powerful! As I was making commitments to Him on the course of my actions, and asking for His strength to accomplish these goals, I had some really cool imagery come to mind. In my mind, I saw a secure knot formed from a rope and then turn to metal. To me, this symbolized a uniting between Him and I. As I am completely unwavering in my intentions, actions and decisions, He will lend me the strength that I need to continue to be unwavering. This gives me greater courage to ensure that my decisions toward my strategy go unchanged as I move forward!

Looking back over my nutrition intake over the weekend, my macronutrient ranges differed greatly from my goals. I’ve nurtured my sugar addiction, and that needs to be stopped in its tracks. A longer intermittent fast has always succeeded in helping me to overcome sugar addiction and reset my focus. So I’m going to go ahead and take that on over the next couple days. After my extended fast, I’m re-embracing a high protein (35%), higher fat (45%), low carb (20%) macronutrient plan (Except at the indulgence meal, because that is also part of the plan).

Come back tomorrow and I’ll talk you through intermittent fasting, why it’s beneficial, and different approaches (including the exact approach I’m going to be taking).

Talk to you soon!

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Amy Bellamy

What's up everyone?! My name is Amy Bellamy and I am a wife, a mom to three boys, and a certified personal trainer and nutritionist. I am an avid distance runner and love lifting weights. As someone who has struggled with being overweight in the past, I know how hard it can be to find the right process that works for you to lose weight. The frustration of starting and stopping and starting again, wears on you mentally and physically. That's why I want to share with you what I have found to be a game changer for me in my weight loss journey. Through experience and study, I’ve learned the tools required for losing weight permanently. I have the education and experience to help you overcome any insecurities you have, from that worry of everyone looking at you because you don't know how to use the exercise equipment in a gym environment, or simply not knowing how to use what you have at home. I also have the training to help you stay focused on your goals when that plate full of cookies is staring you down and you find yourself saying "Well, I will allow myself to eat just one" and end up eating the whole plate (oh, the number of times I have been there). I’m excited to help you find the right approach to your food consumption, give you the template on how to build a strategy that works specifically for you and then help you stick with it. On top of that, I will show you how to help you increase your flexibility, strength, muscle growth, cardiorespiratory abilities and achieve your fitness goals. Let me help you in your commitment to living your healthiest lifestyle and lose those last 15 pounds for good!

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