Willpower. Is that what we need to stop overeating?



Willpower


I just looked it up in my online dictionary and here’s what it says:


“Control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one’s own impulses : a stupendous effort of will.”

What’s wrong with that? Why would it not be helpful to deliberately make an effort to restrain an impulse that we have decided is ultimately not good for us? Sounds like exactly what we need - by the bucket load - if we want to stop overeating.


Well, I think not and I think the reason lies with the word stupendous. More on that in a moment.

Have you ever heard the expression “she has an iron will”? What image does that metaphor conjure up in your mind?


Iron Will: what’s the body talk?


If I imagine I can see before me a woman with an iron will, I see someone strong, braced, rigid, eyes fixed, jaw set, muscles tense and tight, her breathing is shallow, almost imperceptible. She may even have her fists clenched. She’s making herself impenetrable, immovable, so solid nothing will push her off course, she’s ready for a fight if necessary….


Are you willing to humour me for a moment? Stand up and try that posture. Imagine yourself summoning all the will you have while you stand in that posture. I imagine that if you really put stupendous effort into it you’d resist just about anything right now. If you stayed as focused as this, if you maintained this stance, your will truly would be as iron, able to withstand almost anything it comes up against.


Powerful. Strong. ‘NO’ is on the tip of your tongue. Nothing will topple you.


So, isn’t this ability to summon our will and create a body that knows how to say no, stay solid and unmovable, resist… a good thing? Isn’t learning how to use our willpower the answer? Then we could summon the power of our will whenever we needed it and, with stupendous effort, to say NO to overeating?


Stay with this for a moment longer.


How do you feel? What are you aware of in your body? What are you thinking? How much effort does it take to stay this strong and focu