Jan 272016
 

“When the will is ready the feet are light.” 
–  Proverb

When I was trying to lose 100 pounds, or when I had lost the weight and was trying to keep it off, I can’t tell you how many times someone told me “I just don’t have the willpower that you do.” There was something negative about that statement to me. Not just the negative self-talk where the person was saying “I Can’t” without even trying, but also the implication that willpower is something you have to struggle for.

What is the difference between dedication and willpower?

willpower1

Recently Michael gave me a compliment about my pregnancy. He said he admired my “dedication.” He said he was impressed with how dedicated I have been at eating well for me and the baby, still working out, not slacking on my gym schedule (but also taking days here and there when I did need rest). My comment was that overall I was really happy with my pregnancy and I felt like I had done things “right” for ME. My diet didn’t change all that much, just ate a little bit more. The one thing I regretted was not cutting out the sugar. I voiced my concern about giving my kid a sweet tooth before he’s even here…but I just didn’t have the willpower to completely cut out sugar from diet.

Again, that word. Willpower. It feels so negative. “I didn’t have the willpower to cut out sugar” = I am weak and dependent and addicted to sugar. That’s what I think when I hear myself saying that. Then I feel deflated and think, why am I so weak? Why CAN’T I cut out sugar from diet entirely?? What’s wrong with me.

“Using willpower is exhausting: I had to put myself in the mindset of “I’m gonna do this.” Which is a hard mindset to get into. But now that it’s a habit, it feels natural. I don’t use any willpower on it, and I have willpower leftover for dealing with other occurrences and forming more habits. I’m less exhausted when I use less willpower and rely on habits I’ve built instead. Who doesn’t want to be less exhausted? (source)”

It really is. The concept of willpower is overwhelming and exhausting and feels unattainable. It feels very “all or nothing” to me. Sure, when I was trying to lose 100 pounds I did have an all or nothing attitude about my diet because I had to. I was trying to overcome my food addictions that had lead me to weigh over 250 pounds. I couldn’t eat trigger foods (pizza, ice cream, candy) at ALL because once I started, I couldn’t stop. BUT once some time had passed and I had focus and dedication and was seeing results…it was a lot easier to make exceptions once in awhile because I COULD control it. I knew that having some pizza would not mean I’d eat the entire thing. I had formed a new habit and I was dedicated to my new lifestyle. THAT made it easy.

Some tips:

Stop making excuses – saying “I don’t have the willpower” is a cop-out. Sorry, but it is. Okay, so maybe you don’t have the willpower to try something different in order to lose weight, but do you have the dedication to yourself to at least try? Dedication sounds so much more positive to me.

If-it-is-important-to-you-you-will-find-a-way.-If-not-you-will-find-excuses.

Make it a habit – Instead of looking at weight loss goals as a willpower thing (or lack of willpower thing) I found it easier to think of losing weight as a good habit I was forming. Exercise is part of my routine now. It’s a habit. It’s scheduled on my calendar like everything else in my life and I don’t even think about it. That makes it easy. “Oh, it’s Tuesday– a gym day.” Just like going to work Monday through Friday, or doing grocery shopping every Sunday…whatever it is, it’s part of my routine and schedule now and it’s so much easier just doing it then NOT doing it.

Check in with your goal – I liked to have a spreadsheet with my weekly weigh ins when I was losing weight. It was a visual thing for me, I could track it and see patterns and it was nice seeing those numbers go down.

Make sure that goal is realistic – setting out to lose 100 pounds in 6 months is just setting yourself up for failure. Trust me. You’ll feel overwhelmed and desperate and honestly, losing that much weight in such a short time isn’t the healthiest thing either. Making smaller goals not only gets you to the finish line in  a healthy way but it also gives you something to celebrate when you reach each landmark. Maybe once you lose 25 you get a pedicure, when you lose 50 you buy yourself some new clothes. Whatever it is that helps you stay focused on the end game will make it easier to make small sacrifices when times are tough and you REALLY really want to eat five donuts. 😉

Five Truths of Weight Loss

Psychology of Weight Loss

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
–  Henry Ford

And of course, even doing some of those things above, you’ll stall out. Plateaus happen. We get discouraged. We stop seeing results. Then it’s time to change things up. Maybe running at the same speed and incline on the treadmill week in and week out isn’t getting you the same results. So try intervals. Run outside. Try something else to shake things up.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Break Your Bad Workout Habits

Married to My Workout

Weight Loss Plateaus

How to Stay Motivated

19026592e9848f097f2b46a227031e87

I feel like taking “willpower” out of the equation alleviates some of the pressure. Instead of feeling like one slip-up means absolute failure, changing your thinking to “I am dedicated to losing this weight and tomorrow is a new day to try again” makes us more likely to be successful in reaching that goal. None of us are perfect. There will be slip-ups. But they don’t have to send us back to the starting line every single time.

So be dedicated to your goal. Dedicated to yourself. Ditch the willpower and focus on being determined instead.

What do you think? Is willpower an easy concept for you? Or does something else help keep you motivated to lose weight?

 

Share

Looking to 2016

 Uncategorized  14 Responses »
Jan 052016
 

SNOWMAGEDDEN!

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 11.21.42 AM

Sunday morning we awoke to snow in Portland! And not just a light dusting of white, but actual snow! However, it was not a “blizzard”. The above news article is pretty hilarious because people tend to freak out when it snows here. Which doesn’t happen a lot. But it was kind a nice start to 2016!

We had plans to take maternity photos Sunday morning and what’s funny is that our friend, Christi, who did our engagement pictures, originally wanted to go up to Mount Hood to take the baby bump pictures in the snow. Instead I found a nearby park that had covered areas because we were all sure it would be raining when we planned on doing the photos…So it’s pretty funny that she got her wish in Portland–snow. We were going to cancel the photos and reschedule but…it seemed a shame not to take advantage of snowy Portland for our photos. So we did it. :) I’m happy we were able to do them (and get snow photos!) and I can’t wait to see them.

IMG_5288

Since the new year is off to a pretty good start, I’d like to make some goals for 2016 even if I’m a little wary of doing so. I mean, I have no idea what it’s going to be like suddenly being a family of three. I don’t want to set myself up with unrealistic expectations, or feel like I’ve somehow been lax in my goals. Really, my big goal for 2016 is to give birth to a healthy baby, recover and learn how to be a mom.

635845200979031950-1693487873_2016yay

But in the spirit of goal making, feeling nostalgic for past New Year’s Eves and wanting to have something on my radar for 2016 I will make a small list.

Run a 5k.

5k’s are a good distance for me. My body doesn’t seem to rebel against it and I can train for a 5k without injuring myself. In 2015 I ran two 5k races (both while pregnant!) and would LOVE to run another one this year. Obviously that will depend on how my body heals and how the training goes but it’s my goal. I like doing the Portland Parks and Rec 5k series so I will probably pick one of those and I’ll do one at the end of summer or early Fall. That seems to give me an adequate amount of time to train. Wish me luck!

Lose the baby weight.

I’ve talked about this a lot throughout my pregnancy–I dislike the pressure that is put on women to lose the baby weight IMMEDIATELY (and to also not gain very much weight while pregnant). I hate it. I hate the pressure, the expectation; I hate the judgment, the side-eye you often get from other people. I do NOT expect the baby weight to melt off the second I give birth.

During my pregnancy I still counted my calories. I was definitely eating more calories but I did my best to be reasonable about it. I was NOT “eating for two”. I was eating for ME and for the baby, who only needed like 300 extra calories a day. I followed my doctor’s instructions and counted my calories (without beating myself up if I did go over once in awhile) and I tried to make good choices about the food I was eating. Which was a lot easier once I got out of the first trimester. I still worked out (even during the worst of the morning sickness). I listened to my body and did what I could. Sure I modified a lot of things and wasn’t going at the same intensity but I was still very active. Overall I am happy with how I’ve maintained my health while cooking this little bug.

Now that I’m in the last few months, I’m trying to enjoy my changing body. I’m looking forward to the “after” too, because honestly, the biggest adjustment being pregnant for me was my body was no longer my own. I’m looking forward to getting that back–in whatever shape it ends up being in.

All that being said, I do want to lose weight because I am healthier and happier at a lower weight. I lost 110 pounds, kept it off for 7 years and would like to get back somewhat close to what I was at before getting pregnant. I’m not going to be crazy or restrictive about it. I’m simply going to go back to doing what I did before: continue exercising and reduce my calories in a reasonable way.

I know it will take time. I’m willing to do the work. The hardest part will be the mental aspect of it. My body shape being different. The weight coming off slowly. Clothes not fitting quite right. I hope I can adjust ok.

This goal won’t start for awhile. I’ll be following my doctor’s advice, listening to my body and not rushing back into anything until the time is right. My goal is to breastfeed and I know that trying to lose weight while that is happening is not wise, so this goal might be for later in the year. I know *I* won’t be the focus for a long time–but at the same time, I think it’s important for mom and dad to be healthy and take care of themselves, too. So I won’t just be letting things go–taking care of myself is important just like taking care of the baby. I will try and find balance.

Don’t forget about my fur-babies when the real baby gets here!

I really really want to give them all attention and love. I know it may not be the same or the same amount of attention but I’m going to try my best. Bella, Fat Kitty and Maya are family and they will still be family.

IMG_5305

I’m really looking forward to getting back into hiking. Bella loves it. I want our baby to be exposed to nature and grow up loving tromping through the woods. I am inspired by the blogger at Trail Snail, who hiked throughout her pregnancy and has THE most adorable little girl who has been going into the woods with them since birth! Love it! I think getting back to hiking will be a good goal for us as a family and a good way to give Bella attention.

IMG_5284

Focus on Slowing Down.

I saw this article:  Healthy Habit Forming Gifts to Give Yourself that suggested practicing things like awareness, forgiveness, focus, patience (I need this one!) and community. Those are good categories to build resolutions around as well!

One thing I want to focus more on in the new year is making time for myself and SLOWING DOWN. I tend to overbook my life, over-schedule activities and then when I do get downtime I am burned out and just want to sit in front of the TV and watch Netflix for hours, totally checked out. It’s not a good cycle. But I find that I struggle with just sitting and doing nothing, so I tend to fill my time. ALL my time. I can’t remember the last time Michael and I decided to forgo a scheduled activity and do something on the spur of the moment. It’s time to learn how to stop and smell the roses.

Learn my new camera.

I love the new features of my camera! Michael got me the Canon 760D camera for Christmas and I’ve been slowly experimenting with the new features. I love the photos I’m getting but I need a lot of practice. I have two months to figure out my camera before baby gets here and I’ll take a zillion pictures. 😉

IMG_5296

Read 80 books in 2016.

I’m sure all the parents out there reading my goal are laughing at me…but…I have to have a goal, right? I may not get there with a new baby but we’ll see. It feels odd to have such a low goal set for myself after last year’s monster goal! 2015 I read 150 out of 140 books. 2014 I read 139 out of 125. Each year I’ve read roughly 10-20 books more than whatever goal I set for myself. Last year was the biggest goal I had and I met it. Friend me on Goodreads! And send me your favorite book recommendations. :)

imgres

What about you? Any goals for the new year?

Share