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Willpower Is A Myth

Written by: Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


For many people, the key to eating well and exercising seems to be willpower. Well, willpower is largely a myth. You can’t will yourself thin. Willpower doesn’t last. It’s usually great for a short time and can help people on diet plans like keto or Weight Watchers release weight but only temporarily. What researchers have found is that people usually gain all the weight they lost on a diet, often with a few extra pounds on top.


Now, I myself have experienced the myth of willpower. For many years, I thought if I could just stay on a diet plan, then I could do what I wanted after I lost the weight. That’s a self-defeating fallacy and one that saw my weight creep up to over 400 lbs. Yes, I used to weigh over 400 lbs. I learned many things on my weight-releasing journey, not the least of which is that willpower is a myth. You can absolutely have discipline and need it to exercise daily and choose health-promoting foods over processed and ‘junk’ foods. I still would like to release a bit of weight, but I am so much healthier than I used to be.

My secret – there is none. I have to move more, eat more healthfully and really be diligent about keeping myself on the right track. I will admit that during the COVID lockdown, I indulged in more processed foods than normal. I increased my exercise to try and counteract it, but that did not work. Now, I am back to drinking more water, working out even more and watching what I put into my body.

I do not deprive myself. I find that an intuitive eating approach is best for me. Intuitive eating is NOT, contrary to popular belief, the ability to eat anything you want whenever you want to. Intuitive eating is about eating when you’re physiologically hungry and stopping when you’re physically full.


I once had a client who definitely misconstrued intuitive eating. She complained that she had put on 11 lbs. between sessions. When I asked what went wrong, she told me that she was eating a full pie a day. I was flabbergasted, especially when she blamed my ‘intuitive eating’ concept was the reason she had gained that much weight. I tried to right the ship, but she was not ready to give up on the antiquated ideas of willpower and dieting that hadn’t gotten her to a place where she was happy with her body or her life.


Now, many people seem to think that if they just lose weight they will be happy. It’s as if they believe all their problems are related to their being overweight. That’s another myth. What I’ve found from my own personal journey is that you can lose all the weight you want, but if you are not right with yourself, the weight loss doesn’t take away your problems. You are still you regardless of what the scale says, and you’ve got to do the personal development work just as much as you do the ‘dieting’ and weight loss work.


Getting right with yourself is to learn how to not emotionally overeat. So much of our eating patterns are based in emotion. We, as a nation, are taught to eat when we’re happy. Eat when we’re sad. Eat in good times and bad. Holidays are resplendent with high-calorie treats. Heck, we even invent holidays like Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo to indulge in calorie-dense foods.


It’s difficult to not get sucked into the mixed messages of ‘eat a certain way’ but ‘look another’. To say that society’s messages related to food and weight are problematic is an understatement. Many times, when I’m working with clients on releasing weight, we discuss this concept. When they begin to see the cultural significance of food and the mixed messages about how we should look, they get understandably upset.

I’m not saying that society is entirely to blame for our obesity epidemic, but it could do a better job at making food less of a force in our day-to-day lives. Food is not for comfort; it’s for nourishment. Eating health promoting foods helps us be healthy and, in many cases, happier. Many processed foods are built using a formula of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, fat and salt that makes these foods so craveable.


Truth be told, there is no one secret to releasing weight. Everyone is different and requires different dietary needs. Creating an eating plan and working out for at least 150 minutes a week (3 hours) will go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals. You can’t will weight loss. Will power only lasts for so long.

Discipline is the key, and you can do it. You can achieve your weight loss goals.

Let me help you. I’d love the opportunity to do so.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Deanna!


Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Deanna Goodson is a professional life and mental health coach, nutritional counselor, and writer. She received her coach training at Rhodes Wellness College in Canada and received an ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation in May of 2019, which was recently renewed. As a mental health coach, Deanna is well-versed in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, aka Tapping. Deanna is also a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and has a certificate in Emotional Eating Psychology (EEP). She follows an intuitive eating approach for her clients and helps them repair their relationship with food.



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