How many of you have ever wished for more hours in the day? I think most of us at one time or another have felt the pressure of too much to do and too little time. There are only 24 hours in each day. What if you could use all 24 . . . every single day? Just think about how much more you could accomplish! Of course, you have to train yourself to function without any sleep. You have to eliminate that wasteful use of 8 hours each day. One third of your day . . . unnecessarily spent with your eyes closed.
What? You don’t think you can do that? You don’t think it’s healthy or the right thing to do? Well, how else are you going to achieve your goal of getting more accomplished in your 24 hour day? Just decide you are going to do it and summon up every ounce of willpower you can muster!
Of course, we all know how the above scenario will turn out. Your willpower may get you through one day without sleep, but the true needs of your body will soon take over and you will fall asleep. And it was NOT the fault of a wimpy willpower!!! In fact, it had nothing to do with your willpower whatsoever.
The definition of “will” is “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.” Willpower, then, would be the control of that decision making process. Obviously, the main emphasis in that definition would be on the word, “control.” And herein lies the answer to the universal complaint of all dieters: “I just didn’t have the willpower to continue.” “I fell off of the truck. It’s all my fault.”
Let me make it very clear right here that I strongly believe in personal responsibility. One needs to understand that actions have consequences and we reap what we sow. That being said, however, we need to examine the control factor with willpower and diets.
Most diets are designed with deprivation in mind. The HCG diet, for example, is built on severe calorie deprivation where the dieter must eat only 500 calories each day. Since most adult basal metabolic rates (BMR) are above 1200 calories, this is destined to fail. Your BMR tells you the amount of energy (calories) your body NEEDS just to function. That means sitting on the couch all day, breathing, but not moving. So if you are providing your body less than half of what it needs to function, what do you think will be the result? Do you think your body, which desperately wants to survive, knows that you are simply trying to make your gut smaller by consuming only 500 calories? NO!! Your body knows that in order to keep functioning, it
MUST find nourishment quickly. So it sends the appropriate hormonal cascade into action that signals hunger. Starvation, in fact. Ignoring that signal becomes impossible. It has nothing to do with your decision to lose weight. It has everything to do with the control of the hormones and the central nervous system that environment.is hard-wired for survival. It is not the dieter’s “fault” that they “fell off of the truck.” The fault lies with the diet that is completely counter to supporting the body
in a healthy way.
Think back to my ludicrous suggestion that you could “will” yourself to stay awake 24/7, without any sleep. You, of course, rejected that idea as a valid solution to getting more done each day. You knew that not getting sleep is harmful to your body and to your productivity levels. The only ending to that scenario is one in which the body takes over and controls the situation. Your willpower means nothing at that point, right?
So why do we insist on diets that are just as ludicrous, just as harmful to our bodies . . . and believe that we can “will” them to work for us? Restricting calories severely, eliminating an essential food group, or even excessive exercising in order to “purge” are all misinformed ways to approach weight and fat loss. They are destined to fail and will not provide the long term result of a healthy body that really is what we are all seeking when we go on a diet.
Consider my opening example again. What would be a better approach to accomplishing more in each day? We might focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness throughout the day instead of just adding hours. Who is in control in that situation? We are. We can decide to write a chapter in our new book instead of watching that mediocre sitcom on TV. We can meet by webinar at work instead of traveling to each different location. Making choices and utilizing our decisions to “initiate actions” give us the opportunity to work on our willpower because control is appropriately ours to exercise in each situation.
Now translate this same idea to losing weight. What is in your power to control? How can you use your willpower to help? Instead of working against your body by depriving it of certain macronutrients and consuming too little, work with your body to help it function at a higher metabolic rate and encourage it to release its stores of fat. When you eat quality ingredients and include a lean protein, a complex carbohydrate and a good fat with every meal, you send a signal to your body that it can have confidence it will receive what it needs and it won’t starve. In an atmosphere of abundance, your body will willingly release fat and not feel the need to store more. You can then use your willpower to focus on eating quality and not giving in to overly processed, sugar-filled, non-nutritive food. And your body will support you in this pursuit instead of taking over control because it feels threatened. There is no need to “fall off of the truck” because you, your willpower and your body are all working towards the same goal of being healthy !
Read the original in our Holiday issue; http://joom.ag/rZkb
Email your fitness questions to Dianne at: DBailey@TheConditioningClassroom.com
Dianne has been providing professional weight management and sports conditioning training for individuals since 2002 and opened The Conditioning Classroom, a private personal training studio, in 2006.