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The Reason We Lose Our Willpower to Lose Weight

Most of us will admit to having been on a diet at some point. And most of us will probably have failed at dieting at some point, too. It’s normal, but the problem is, dieting is often a continual cycle that ends in little weight loss – especially in the long-run. So why is that and how can we make lasting changes so that we lose weight and keep it off? Well part of it is understanding the psychology behind one of the biggest motivators, and problems, with weight loss: willpower.

Where there’s a will…

There’s a way. But not for long. Unfortunately willpower doesn’t have a switch that we can just turn on and off when we’re in front of the tray of appetizers, or staring into a bowl of ice cream. Instead it works more like a muscle that gets tired when overused, no matter how strong you think it may be. The continual mental refusal you make at the snack stand or lunch with friends drains a bit of your willpower every time. So when you’re dieting and every potential bite makes you flex that willpower muscle, you are more likely to break your diet and overeat. And not to mention, it also steals the willpower you need to be successful in other parts of life.

Hey look over there!

So if you’re trying to lose weight, the best thing to do is understand that willpower isn’t the only thing that’s gonna get you through! You’ve got to employ some other tactics, and one of the most powerful is distraction. Using distraction as a way to stay on track with your weight loss goals is more effective than using willpower alone. Distract yourself with something else you find enjoyable: listening to music, watching a movie, or something that you find pleasurable will take your mind off of what you’re giving up. Studies show that even just thinking about this other pleasurable activity is better than nothing!

If you don’t plan…

Then plan to fail. The people who are most successful at dieting and lasting weight loss are the people who make a plan and stick with it. They plan what they are going to eat instead of their normal cravings, they make a list of what to buy at the grocery store, and they plan when they are going to exercise. Taking it a step further, these planners are optimistic about what is possible, but are realistic about the setbacks that might occur. A successful dieter plans ahead if they know they’ll be in a diet danger zone, like the office pizza party, or the girlfriends brunch on Saturday afternoon, and they eat a healthy snack before heading out to a world full of temptations.

Out of sight…

Out of mind! Instead of just using willpower, you’ll need to avoid your temptations altogether. So if you’re trying to give up carbs, the best way to avoid eating carbs is to minimize the likelihood that they’ll cross your path in the first place. Don’t buy your tempting foods at the market and make sure to shop when you’re not hungry so you don’t bring home these “diet sabotagers” to tempt you when you are hungry.

Healthy habits

So now that you know that willpower can’t stand a chance alone, try using some of these other tactics to help you stay on track. One of the best ways to make a healthy lifestyle change for good instead of just a temporary diet is to create some healthy habits. Don’t do everything at once; try eliminating just one temptation food and when you’re able to successfully stay away from it, try giving up another unhealthy food, like the potato chips at lunch. Replace them with veggie sticks for a week, and then work up to two weeks until it’s a habit. Make small, lasting healthy habit changes that you can enjoy, and you’ll find that by looking after your body and mind, you’ll be able to make these changes permanent.

Losing weight doesn’t have to be all about finding a quick-fix diet to drop the pounds overnight – that simply doesn’t work. Depending on willpower to get you through a lifestyle change isn’t enough. Use some of these tricks and figure out where your temptations are and create a long-term change in your eating habits!

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at :)

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