This is probably going to come off as being a little controversial – shocking! But that’s what we do around here. Myth bust. Call out bullshit. Speak truth. And today I want to talk about willpower when it comes to dieting. And why it’s bullshit.
How many times have you said to yourself, “OMG if I just had more willpower!!!!” “My willpower sucks!” “I could lose weight if I just wanted it more, but apparently I don’t because I keep f*cking up!”
Ugh, if only. If only it was willpower making you suck at dieting.
Let’s talk about calories for just a minute. You know I love talking about calories.
Let’s talk calories for a sec.
It’s so easy to buy into the calories in, calories out theory. Eat less, exercise more = weight loss. Why? Because it’s seemingly SO SIMPLE. It’s just a basic math equation, right? And we like simple. We love a quick fix. And really, if all you have to do all day is use a calculator or My Fitness Pal to keep track of one number, I mean, who COULDN’T do that and lose weight? It’s so easy.
Except that it’s not. It’s not because we are not math equations, we are biology projects.
When you reduce the amount of food you’re eating and you get into that zone where you’re eating less than your body needs to function optimally, for a while, it’s great. You lose weight. Of course you do. Shocking yourself into starvation mode will work for a while and that’s why the diet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Diets WORK – for a short period of time.
And then you get hungry.
You get REALLY hungry. You start to crave things that you normally wouldn’t crave. Sugar cravings, potato chip cravings. I mean, anything. You just wanna eat. So you do, and when you do, you binge. Oh yeah, you go all out.
Yeah, I’ll have the pizza. The whole thing. Ice cream for dessert? Yeah, absolutely. And let’s wash it all down with a few gin and tonics while we’re at – at this point, why not? And then you blame yourself. “If ONLY I had more willpower!! Why do I suck so much?!”
Sound familiar? Good. Because I can fix that for you. But we’ll get to that in a minute. What if I told you all those times you’ve “failed” a diet, it wasn’t your fault?
Your body doesn’t give a shit about your diet.
When you deprive yourself of the food your body needs to function, it goes into survival mode. Your metabolism starts to slow down (you get tired) and you begin holding on to fat because your body feels like it needs to ‘preserve’ – it doesn’t know you’re on a diet. For all it knows, you’re in a desperate situation where you’re not being allowed enough food. And the only thing your body cares about is keeping you alive.
When your blood sugar starts dipping over and over again because you’re hungry and you’re not eating enough, there are signals that go straight to your brain that say, “OK, ya’ll!! We need some sugar in here!! Trigger the sugar cravings!!”
And suddenly, all you can think about is those processed frosted sugar cookies from Target’s bakery (I know you know what I’m talking about!!). And it’s not because your willpower sucks – it’s because your diet sucks. It’s literally biology that is causing you to have those cravings and if you think you can outsmart your body that is literally wired to keep you alive, you’re crazy.
If you want to lose weight – or even if you just want to maintain weight or tighten up or have more energy – you’ve gotta focus on repairing your metabolism (you know, the thing that controls whether you’re burning or storing fat), NOT starving yourself (because it clearly doesn’t work long term).
Eating PHFF is key.
Eating PHFF balanced (Protein-Healthy Fat-Fiber-rich carbs) at every meal, smart snacking, and slashing refined carbs from your diet are my top food-related tips to getting your metabolism working in tip top shape AND these are the things that are going to prevent those “I’m starving” signals from going to the brain.
When I work with clients, it’s so much fun to make tweaks to their diet and lifestyle and hear them talk about how their cravings and desire to overeat and just eat shitty food in general just disappears. If you read this and you’re like, ‘Yeah, Megan, I feel you”, and you want to get on this train of feeling better, looking better and getting over your diet mentality, I have the program for you.
Or – if you’re just popping over and you’re new to my site, find out more about what The Nutrition Addiction is all about by starting here: