I’m not sure how it happens, but it seems as though I frequently fall into conversations about weight loss with random strangers. I’m sitting or standing there minding my own business (or pretending to), and suddenly this person I’ve never met before knows I lost 100 pounds. It’s not like I’m wearing a sign or running into buildings shouting it at the top of lungs. Not since the first month at goal, anyway.
Whatever creates this discussion and the subsequent disclosure on my part, the response is almost always the same, some variation of: “I’d love to lose some weight, but I just don’t have any will power.”
My response to my BFF-of-the-moment is almost always the same, too. Something along these lines: “I thought I didn’t have any willpower either, but what I learned is that I had it; I just didn’t understand it. It took some work, but I finally figured it out.”
That’s the point at which their eyes glaze over, and they scoot their chairs away or notice that there’s a big sale on shoe laces in the next aisle. Note to self: Find an alternate word for “work.”
Willpower isn’t some inborn talent we’re gifted with at birth. It’s more a skill that we can develop and grow, and that does require some work. To a large extent, though, it’s not hard work and well worth the effort. And the payback is ENORMOUS!
So why do we find this Mr. Will Power to be so elusive? Maybe because we don’t understand it?
In days gone by, if you had asked me to draw a picture of willpower, I would have sketched my round self standing in front of a mountain of chocolate with my arms crossed and a little cartoon balloon saying, “NO! I DON’T WANT IT!” Title: Willpower=self-denial!
Cut to a 100 pounds later, and my drawing would show my thinner, fitter self walking away from that mountain of chocolate with a tiny piece of yummy goodness clutched in her fingers. The cartoon balloon would say, “I’ll come back some other time. This is enough for now.” Title?
It only took me 15 years or so (maybe longer) to figure out the self-denial vs. self-control distinction for myself, and it may make zero sense to anyone else but me. That’s A-OK by me; I’m not known for making a whole lot of sense. But in the event you’re interested in how I moved from point A (failed self-denial) to point B (somewhat successful self-control, if I do say so myself), I’ll cover it in my next post.
Meanwhile, your thoughts so far are welcome and appreciated. Agree? Disagree? Just trying to distract yourself from a snack attack?