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Struggling with will power...anyone else have this issue?

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  • Struggling with will power...anyone else have this issue?

    I don't want to be one of those people who needs to be told they just had a heart attack in order to actually start taking care of themselves but I'm struggling at the moment. I went to eat dinner at a restaurant earlier today and told myself in the parking lot that I would order a nice tuna salad. As soon as the menu was put in front of me I found myself ordering a pizza and a beer. This is a pretty typical experience for me. I think part of it has to do with being generally unhappy with other things in life and finding temporary solace the junk food I've conditioned myself to think equates to feeling good. This is more to vent than anything but any advice, success stories, or other struggles of this nature you wish to share are more than welcome.

  • #2
    I guess I should add that I was able to "go primal" last summer with pretty good success for about 2 months. I lost the weight I was looking to lose and felt good about the way I looked but eventually over time fell back into old habits. haven't really been able to get back since.


    • #3
      Personally, when I find myself depending on "will-power" it is a sign that I need to increase my fat intake. If I am eating plenty of good quality fat and protein, my desire to eat non-primal foods drops way, way down. When my diet starts to get a little light on fat and heavy on fruits I find I'm fighting the urge to eat other foods.

      I do understand the food as a reward concept. I have to substitute in "I deserve to feel good" instead of "I deserve to eat this". You DO deserve amazing food - just keep it primal When I decide to have non-primal food, I enjoy it guilt free. But I do have a very strict rule that I never eat two non-primal meals in a row. That way I don't risk a spiral into bad eating.
      Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )


      • #4
        Thanks for the response. I definitely know what you mean about the increased fat intake. My problem with eating really fatty meals is that I feel incredible mental fatigue afterwards. I would refer to it as a "foggy" brain. For instance if I eat some beef and add in another source of fat (coconut oil, egg, avocado, or something) to the meal I will not be able to think straight for a few hours afterwards so I usually try to keep the fat to one item in a meal. Ever had this happen to you? I suppose I could try adding a small amount of more fat spread out amongst each meal maybe rather than loading up on a single meal though. I'll give adding some fat a shot. Thanks for sharing.


        • #5
          One thing I heard recently is that willpower is a lot like a muscle. It can get stronger with use and practice over time, but it can also get fatigued. According to this particular scientist, all of our willpower comes from the same general reserve, so resisting a chocolate-chip cookie will draw from the same reserve as not chewing-out a co-worker that really deserves it.

          The take away on this is that the more you can do to decrease your need for willpower, the more you'll have available to you. Also it can improve, but it takes time. Personally, I accept that I have limited willpower and that I'm human. If I'm exhausted, really hungry, and there's a pizza in front of me, it's going to be very hard to resist a slice. The trick is to set yourself up for success instead of failure.

          I would suggest trying to figure out how to drain your willpower less each day so you have the reserves to resist the junk food. Get a good night's sleep and take time to de-stress. Also, try to really fill yourself up with primal fare, plenty of fat and protein, so you're not hungry when the junk food rears it's ugly head. Keeping things out of sight really seems to help too. This is why I keep any extra 85% dark chocolate bars so far back in the drawer that I can't see them. Even though I know they're there, simply not seeing them makes it easier to resist any temptation, thus leaving me with more willpower reserves for other challenges.

          I hope that helps a bit.


          • #6
            So the way I work it when I'm having bouts of crap eating is to take it one day at a time.

            If I eat crap one day, the next day I make sure that I do the right thing. When I no longer find that it's tough to get through a whole day without eating badly I go for 2 days. When that's a cinch I go for 3 days. Until I can make it a week inbetween bad days. When a week is easy I go for 2 weeks. Then 3. Then a month. After a month of good eating I find it's not so hard to just keep eating well, and that the "cheats" are no longer as rewarding or interesting to me. Also every day I delay eating crap is another day where I'm limiting the damage I'm doing. It snow balls, and becomes exponential, and eventually I am in such a great place that "pizza and a beer" sounds absurd. And "meatzza" and some green tea sounds way better.

            Good luck dude.


            • #7
              " I found myself ordering a pizza and a beer."

              No, you didn't find yourself ordering it. You were there before, and during the ording process.

              Look in the mirror and say "I'm the one that orders/eats the crap food. And I'm the one that can stop it."

              No, it's not easy. Yes, you can do it. OF all the other things that mightnot be going well, this is one that's in your control.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dave RN View Post
                y. Yes, you can do it. OF all the other things that mightnot be going well, this is one that's in your control.
                Yes to all of that.


                • #9
                  "finding temporary solace the junk food I've conditioned myself to think equates to feeling good."

                  Bingo, dude. This is the association you need to break for yourself. Keeping a food diary where you can record not just what you eat but how you feel about it and what's going on with you helps you recognize patterns of behavior that can trip you up. If you can afford it, get a few session with a cognitive therapist who can teach you techniques to help you create new associations, new thoughts, new behaviors around specific food items or situations. You can't use food to substitute for a good relationship with yourself or other people.


                  • #10
                    It's really helpful to not go to those restaurants in the first place. Good luck. :-)


                    • #11
                      If you rely on 'willpower,' you will fail more often than not. If you're satisfied with weight loss rather than good health, you can be successful with your pizza and beer in moderation.

                      What you 'need' if you want to take care of yourself (i.e., be kind to yourself) is to develop the 'mental attitude' that junk food is poison for your system, it's only attractive because you've been brainwashed by advertising and U.S. culture, and primal eating will provide optimum health benefits for you. Get the word 'cheat' out of your mind because you're only cheating yourself when you start to entertain thoughts of eating junk for pleasure.

                      Yes, there's pleasure involved in junk food--how else can they hook you into desiring it? But you can obtain pleasure from eating primal, too, if you ignore the signals from the dominant culture and learn to trust your own experience.

                      I admit that I arrived at primal eating through pain--so it was easier for me. I have severe osteoarthritis, and I was determined to manage my pain with diet and exercise rather than Rx meds. By eliminating foods that caused inflammation and pain, I was eating almost totally primal before I discovered Blueprint, having already ditched grains, sugar, and dairy. So it's easy for me to see junk food as poison--it will bring on pain within a few hours anytime I indulge.

                      If you don't have that kind of experience, it may be more difficult to understand how good for your overall health this WOE is for you--but it is.


                      • #12
                        If I find myself having to use willpower that just means I haven't eaten enough fat. Sometimes I'll eat a teaspoon or 2 of coconut oil to top me up after a meal.

                        Aside from the first 2 weeks where I'd have these vivid dreams about gorging on M & m's I've not had any serious cravings since going primal.

                        Good luck and grok on.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by jkr View Post
                          It's really helpful to not go to those restaurants in the first place. Good luck. :-)
                          This. I went through a summer of overeating and drinking this year. The summer was terribly stressful, I was very unhappy and I love chicken wings. You can do the math. To get myself back on track, I have to remove the temptation completely. Don't go to a pizza place thinking you'll order the tuna salad. That is cruel. Either pick healthier restaurants, or stop eating out for a while.


                          • #14
                            I agree with trying to avoid restaurants. I also had a lot of problems with cravings and binging (maybe I'm not through it yet either). What really helped me was to do lots of reading- MDA, Robb Wolfe, etc, I listened to podcasts, I have a huge list of paleo recipe blogs which I love to peruse, I learned to cook and now I love it. I did some reading on sugar addiction, which totally changed my perspective on my behaviors. After a while I started to realize that junk food is NOT food and it doesn't have some sort of weird power over me either.
                            It's like there's two parts in your brain, one that wants the crap food and one that wants to be more healthy, more thin, or whatever your motivation may be for changing your lifestyle. You just have to build up that second part of you until it is stronger than the first. Why do you want to eat better? I guarantee that the things you will gain in your health from excluding pizza from your diet VASTLY outweigh the momentary taste of that pizza.
                            It's a slow process. I know a lot of people on here say they decided to drop sugar/wheat one day and never looked back but that was definitely not my experience. It gets easier with time, just remember why you're doing it in the first place.


                            • #15
                              I think it may be helpful to avoid restaurants for a while until you really find you don't miss grains too much. However, I think that being too restrictive can be a problem as well. Perhaps a nice compromise is to find places to eat that have delicious primal options. I find that now, even when I go out to eat, I rarely order completely non-primal food. I love to order a juicy burger on a bed a lightly dressed salad greens, or steak with roasted sweet potatoes - these things are so much more delicious than pizza. You don't have to be all or nothing. Order something that is delicious and inviting, but still on the primal end of the spectrum.

                              I recently ate somewhere with a friend and there were no primal options at all. I got an amazing pastrami sandwich on crusty sourdough bread and chocolate bottomed coconut creamed pie. All home made from scratch. I did enjoy them, but I genuinely wished i could have had the pastrami on lettuce instead or a bed of sauteed cabbage instead. The pie was perfect just as it was
                              Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )