The belief that the reason you are struggling with your weight and body is because you don’t have enough will-power and self-discipline is one of the biggest myths out there and sadly, one of the most common ones.
When it came to food and my body, I used to be the biggest control-freak ever. I would count my calories religiously, exercise for 90 minutes every day, eat super-clean, always be ‘on top of it’. I would check my body meticulously in the mirror every morning, and if I noticed that I’d gained half an inch -or if I thought I had-, I would diet harder, exercise longer, until it was dropped. Until I was ‘in control’, again.
Needless to say, I felt so good about myself, SO proud. And it seemed to work. For some time.
Until that day would come, when my ‘will-power’ wasn’t that strong anymore, when my desire became bigger that my control, and all that energy that I’d suppressed, through pure force, would bounce back up and take over.
Like a pressure-cooker that you leave on for too long, the trapped steam would just explode, and I’d give in and give up completely, eating anything and everything I hadn’t had for so long…
Needless to say, I felt so ashamed, guilty and furious with myself.
My interpretation? My will-power was not strong enough.
After years spent in this vicious circle, it finally dawned on me:
It was not my lack of self-discipline that was my problem. It was the deprivation that I imposed on myself, through my harsh self-discipline, that was causing me so much trouble.
Better late than never, I realized this simple truth: CONTROL FOSTERS REBELLION.
When you say ‘no’ to something, it becomes more desirable. The longer you keep saying ‘no’, just because you ‘shouldn’t’, the more your desire will build up, and the harder it will be to contain it, when your control loosens for just a moment.
Wanna know how I broke out of this cycle?
I gave up control. Not all at once. Gradually. But, eventually, altogether.
What I replaced it with? Listening, Understanding, Trust and Pleasure.
:: I learnt to listen to my body and recognize its signals in terms of when, what and how much to eat (hint: they are always there, even if you find it hard to hear them at the moment).
:: I decided to trust those signals. I gave up the belief that my appetite was ‘too much’, that my body was ‘greedy’, and cultivated my faith in my body’s intelligence (it never betrayed me).
:: I embraced the fact that THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON my body’s asking for what it does. And that this reason isn’t that my body is ‘bad’ and wants to sabotage me..
:: I learnt how to recognize the real reason behind my hunger, desire or craving. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to do with food at all. Sometimes it does. Whatever it was related to though, I stopped criticizing or fearing
it. Instead, I made it my top goal and priority to understand it.
:: Finally, I learnt how to respond to that reason and give myself and my body exactly what they wanted, in the best, most caring way, with NO GUILT and a LOT OF PLEASURE. Whether I really desired a chocolate muffin, or someone to listen to me and give me a hug, I would give myself full permission to reach out for either, and fully take in every single bite, every single moment, every single touch.
So, trust me when I say: You don’t need more Control, Will-Power or Self-Discipline. At all.
Your body is there to guide you. It’s your greatest teacher and closest friend. And it’s just waiting for you to open up, let go and trust it.