I think just about every client I have ever coached has used their “lack of willpower” as an excuse or a fear that comes up about sticking to a program.
Willpower isn’t the problem.
Listen, my friend, willpower is a word we use to make ourselves feel better about our choices. Like it’s out of our hands and there’s nothing you can do. Willpower is simply your decision to care, or not to care. We also throw the word around to explain other things that might be going on — and sometimes those are more difficult to identify and control. But, your lack of compliance is not because you lack willpower.
As a society, we like to blame our lack of willpower to provide a seemingly logical explanation for why we finished an entire bag of chips. Giving into your cravings is not a character flaw. It’s stress related, it’s sugar addiction, it’s hormonal imbalance, it’s nutrient deficiencies, it’s influenced by other lifestyle choices. If you’ve had too much to drink, it’s not your willpower that’s failing you when you order late night pizza… it’s the sugar and alcohol that is driving this craving and impaired decision making. It’s not your willpower that makes a pregnant women crave pickles and ice cream – these are chemical and hormonal imbalances sending signals that the body needs certain nutrients.
The signals can get misread or misunderstood by the brain and instead of eating nutrients the body needs (read: craves), we reach for relief in the way of comfort food. Regular and strong cravings can give us insight into deficiencies that may be occurring in your body. So instead of berating yourself, we need to get quiet and listen.
Your body is much more intelligent than you probably give her credit.
Let’s stop talking about “getting willpower” and start making decisions that support our mind and body to send better signals.