Feeling like you need more willpower for weight loss? What if you already have a boatload of willpower, but you’re using it on the wrong skill? What if you actually have your psychology backwards?
We all know what the research says: willpower is a limited resource. When we use it up, it’s done for the day. This explains why binge eating at night (or “night eating”) is a common problem — or so we thought.
We actually have the willpower concept backwards, in my opinion. Most people that struggle with overeating actually have TONS of willpower, but they’re just using it the wrong way.
You’re about to learn what the “wrong way” is, and how to use the willpower you already have to reach your natural weight. If you’re new, this is Psycho-Spiritual Wellness: a purely psychological and spiritual approach to stop compulsive eating and feel normal around food. Let’s hop to it!
How We Misuse Willpower for Weight Loss
Here’s one of my favorite videos that explains how we are misusing our willpower for weight loss:
Want written guidance instead? Read on!
Normally, if you want to lose weight, it’s natural to think about dieting. You’ve probably heard before that one pound is 3,500 calories. So basic math means, less calories equals more weight loss.
So we turn to restrictive dieting and obsessive calorie counting in the noble attempt to lose weight. It’s what all the experts and scientists tell us to do, so we keep trying.
But the problem is that caloric deprivation goes against your biology. And you aren’t using your psychology to your advantage. That’s why I firmly believe that diets don’t work.
Because for every restriction, there is an equal and opposite binge. That’s why we end up “yo-yo dieting” without intending to yo-yo diet.
We use up all our willpower trying to “eat well” during the day, only to binge eat at night. Or, if we last through the night, we most certainly binge once Friday night rolls around.
And then we get frustrated with ourselves for our seeming “lack of willpower,” when we actually have tons of it.
Quick summary: Dieting goes against your biology. Willpower goes a longer way when you focus on your psychology.
How to Get Willpower to Lose Weight
Society’s obsession with dieting is the reason why willpower is misunderstood and misused.
Dietary restriction is one of the biggest psychological causes of overeating. That’s why I advocate giving up dieting in order to reach your natural weight — and more importantly, feel normal around food.
Giving up dieting might seem like weight gain instead of weight loss — that’s certainly how I felt before I did it! — but it works when you do it in conjunction with the other principles of Psycho-Spiritual Wellness.
I firmly believe that overeating was never a food-problem or exercise-problem for most people. Sure, there are some people that can adjust their diet and exercise and see results, but those are the people that can do it in one shot and be done.
The rest of us feel like there’s something wrong with us. We actually feel crazy, and for good reason! We keep doing the same thing over and over (dieting) while expecting different results, only to keep losing and gaining the same 15 pounds. And we do this for years. It sucks! But hope is not lost.
If you’re engaged in yo-yo dieting in the attempt to lose weight, then you’re probably focusing your willpower on the wrong skill.
Now, enough chit chat about the problem. What’s the fix?
Quick summary: You already have all the willpower you need to reach your natural weight. You just need to redirect it.
Redirecting Your Willpower to Stop Overeating
If you want to find balance, you need to redirect your willpower away from dieting and use it on developing emotional tolerance.
Emotional tolerance directly addresses the psychology of weight loss. It’s the #1 skill you need to master my Psycho-Spiritual approach to stop compulsive eating. And emotional tolerance simply means being willing to be uncomfortable.
One of the top psychological causes of overeating is resistance to being uncomfortable. There are icky feelings floating around (like depression, anxiety, rejection, embarrassment) that we don’t want to feel.
Therefore, by training in being uncomfortable, you’ll get better at feeling uncomfortable without being swept away by it.
This is why dieting robs you of your willpower. You spend all your energy depriving your body, but unfortunately, NO ONE has enough willpower to go against their biology. And once you starve yourself enough, your biology kicks in to save you.
My recommendation is to redirect your willpower away from dieting and channel it on your emotional tolerance. How, exactly? I’m so glad you asked!
You can develop emotional tolerance by using my #1 tool to stop binge eating: the Stop, Drop, and Feel.
Quick summary: Emotional tolerance is our willingness to be uncomfortable, and this is a better way to use the willpower you already have.
My Best Tool to Stop Overeating
The Stop, Drop, and Feel is my popular tool to stop a binge in its tracks. And if you can’t get there at first, you can get there with practice.
Best of all, when you use your willpower on this tool, you’ll build a skill that actually helps (unlike dieting).
To do the SDF, you stop yourself before the binge (my video has tips on how to do that, since it’s the hard part!), drop into your body, and ask yourself, “What am I feeling?”
Nine times out of 10, uncomfortable feelings will bubble up that you had no idea were even there. When I first started using the SDF, I was shocked at how many uncomfortable feelings were floating around that I didn’t even know existed. I was compulsively reaching for food so often that I became numb to my emotions.
Here’s my video on the Stop, Drop, and Feel (it’s my most-watched video):
It might sound weird, but don’t knock it until you try it. This is how you can get your psychological and spiritual house in order and let your weight figure itself out naturally.
Quick summary: The Stop, Drop, and Feel might sound weird, but it successfully helped me stop binge eating, and I hope it helps you, too.
Using the Willpower You Already Have
If you feel like you need more willpower to lose weight, start by giving up dieting. Deprivation goes against your biology, and NO ONE has enough willpower to deny their biology.
This is where you can use your psychology to your advantage. By developing your emotional tolerance with the Stop, Drop, and Feel, you can build a skill that actually helps you stop overeating long-term.
You can use the willpower you already have to reach your natural weight.
If you want to learn more about Psycho-Spiritual Wellness, grab the free ebook below: