- Emma Nuttall
How can I increase my willpower?
Behaviour change (not willpower) is the key to healthy weight loss
Most people who want to lose weight, rely on willpower to help them stick to a diet.
They use willpower to stop themselves from eating the foods they believe will cause weight gain.
Have you ever tried to lose weight using the willpower method?
This is what it looked like for me:
→ I’d wake up hangry and uninspired to get out of bed, not yet ready to face another
day of grapefruit and cottage cheese, served with a slice of misery.
→ The days were long, uninspiring and uncomfortable. I’d constantly crave the ‘bad’ or
→ I’d usually cave in around day 3 due to such unsustainable restriction.
→ I’d inevitably overeat. Then the shame spiral would begin.
→ I’d spend the next few days engaged in self-loathing and come Monday, the cycle
would start all over again.
I know I’m not alone because studies show that 95% of dieters regain the weight.
What if I told you the way you've been thinking about willpower is all wrong!
Research shows that the people who are most effective at achieving their goals don’t rely on willpower in order to resist temptations.
Instead, they have healthy self-beliefs, a set of daily healthy habits and they understand their ‘why’. That is, they are connected to their core values and know why they want to achieve a certain goal. As a result, they focus on goals that are realistic and authentic.
They know that the best way to reach a goal is not to resist temptation but to avoid the temptation before it arrives, so they remove the triggers and barriers that could hold them back.
Lasting change takes patience, consistency and commitment. You don't need more willpower. You need to implement small, daily habits and modify your environment to maintain the behaviour change.
Behaviour change theory
According to theoretical models, there are five key steps to behaviour change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. Each stage builds upon the next one. Many people manage to get to the action stage however they struggle to maintain the new behaviour long term.
Have you ever joined a gym or fitness program, bought all the gear and started with great enthusiasm but after a late night or change to your routine, struggled to drag yourself out of bed the next few mornings?
Or started a new healthy eating plan but on day three, you end up working late and succumb to fast food on the drive home. Pretty soon you find yourself back to your old eating habits
Don't worry, you're not alone! I've certainly be there and there are a number of reasons for this. Unrealistic goals, short timelines, a myriad of distractions, all-or-nothing thinking and a lack of self-compassion are just some of the factors standing in your way.
Behaviour change program
There are research-based steps you can follow to overcome resistance, stay motivated and achieve your wellness goals. The good news is that I teach these steps in my behaviour change course: 'You Don't Need More Willpower'.
I would love to support you with your wellness journey x (You can read more about me here)