During the past several years that I have been attending the Weigh to Go weight loss support group, I have learned things that make a lot of sense. The certified nutritionist who leads the group stresses that we don’t need willpower, we need skillpower. If an individual doesn’t have the tools with which to create a new mindset and lifestyle, very little will change. Then I read about wantpower. Oh, that’s my top issue right there.
Of course, I want to be at a healthy weight, live a long life with my husband, maybe get to see a grandchild someday, and do all the things I want to do with this life. But I also want dessert and mashed potatoes and cheese sauce and chocolate and carrot cake and malts and things dipped in butter. That want is a lot more powerful than the healthy want.
Understanding willpower is the first step, probably. This article says that there are three types of willpower: Will, Won’t, Want. Also, that willpower is like a muscle that can be strained from overuse but also strengthened by appropriate exercises. I know how it is to think a muscle is in good shape. I tried adding in a few exercises to my daily walk with the dog. Nothing like dead-lifting 100 pounds. I did 10 stands from a sitting position without using my hands, and 10 steps up on a curb. My hips have not let me forget that I don’t do that enough. And that sciatic nerve has had a few words to say on the subject.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, The Powers that Be. Or Will Be, Won’t Be, and Want to Be. More words about strengthening your willpower. A key phrase is that temptation and stress hijack the brain’s system of self-control. I am surprised there is supposed to be a system here! I need to take my brain back to the shop and have that looked at.
The problem is much deeper than that, however. And doctors have been taking the easy way of pointing fingers at fat people. HuffPost published an article last September titles Everything You Know About Obesity is Wrong. It’s a hard bit of reporting to read. Nearly half of 3 to 6-year-olds say they worry about being fat. When did that become okay? The stories in there are real and touch on a lot of what I have experienced in my life. In grade school, boys would treat me like I was the dodge ball and run away screaming. In high school, boys would spit on me. I constantly heard that I had a pretty face and a great personality. I’m sure the only reason I survived any of that is that I held on to a tiny part of my brain that told me I mattered.
Meeting my husband proved that I mattered. Helping to raise his children proved that I mattered. Becoming a writer and having fans who like my stories is what my life has been all about. As a writer, I take my health seriously and urge all creative people to accept themselves and take moments as often as possible to want to walk a little, eat fruit and vegetables instead of cookies, and think of a daily affirmation for your own path.
I got the healthy and wise going for me. The wealthy will follow in time. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.