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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
" 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.
Yes to all of that.
Originally Posted by Dave RN
"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.
It's really helpful to not go to those restaurants in the first place. Good luck. :-)