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To think once your willpower is gone, there is no way to get it back?

(18 Posts)
SnoopySassySue Fri 31-Jul-15 14:07:19

In my 20s I seemed to have plenty of willpower...I ate ok, drank lots and exercised a bit, but was always slim without any effort. Now after three kids and in late 30s I don't seem to have an ounce of willpower left. Obviously getting older and having had kids and less time to look after myself has helped me to go up two sizes...but every time I decide, that's it, no more cake etc I seem to give up after hours or even minutes! How on earth can I retrieve willpower? I thought about a slimming club but I live in a fairly small village where everyone knows me so I don't feel comfortable going, and I don't have a car so hard to get elsewhere (plus mind the kids almost every evening). It is not just the weight, I feel old and knackered. Do you have any suggestions about what my give my ass the kick it needs please? Thank you!

Theycallmemellowjello Fri 31-Jul-15 14:12:51

I think that it is definitely true that will power is finite. So as a carefree young thing it is easy to be strict with yourself but when you're older and have a hundred things to worry about and have to make sacrifices all the time for children then you have less energy left over for other things. I think a solution is to recognise that you have a limited amount of emotional and physical energy and dieting ad so on costs energy. So if you want to do that it's worth seeing how you can save energy elsewhere - delegating tasks, reducing stress, being easy on yourself in areas where you might not be currently, making sure you have enough time to relax and rewind, giving yourself a recovery period if you're burnt out. Nt saying it's easy to do this (depends on your circs) but I definitely think accepting that things have an energy cost and you only have so much energy is better than blaming yourself for a failure of willpower. Good luck!

Theycallmemellowjello Fri 31-Jul-15 14:14:50

And on a practical level - don't have junk food in the house but keep lots of fruit/carrots/yogurt for snacks.

PosterEh Fri 31-Jul-15 14:19:26

I model the same way OP. I think when I was younger I felt more pressure to "look good" than I do now and that helped me stay motivated.

Zillie77 Fri 31-Jul-15 14:20:40

Pardon me for asking, but why would it be uncomfortable for you to have people know that you are in a slimming group?

SerialBox Fri 31-Jul-15 14:26:06

I'm doing weight watchers online, not attending any classes and it's working.

I have my points I'm allowed to use daily and then weekly points. I like a wee drink to myself so I used my daily points and no more. The weekly points are used of a Fri or Sat or split over both depending on what I've got on.

It's giving me a good balance of strict days and blow out days - except they aren't really blow out days because I'm allowed them.

I find that actually tracking what I'm eating has helped enormously. I'm embarrassed by what I could consume calorie wise when I'm just sitting bored in the evening.

DownWithThisTypeOfThing Fri 31-Jul-15 14:31:06

I've been "changing my lifestyle" dieting for a few months now and although my weight had been creeping up for a while (culminating in a massive weight gain when I had an injury and was on a cocktail of painkillers), I was always very happy and I think I lacked any impetus to change anything because I was so happy - great kids, loving husband, good job, nice house... Possibly a factor was I generally carried my weight well so never felt ugly or unattractive. One day, something clicked into place and I thought "need to change this" and even though if half- heartedly thought for ages "oh I'll start next week", I knew that day was different.

As far as willpower goes, I see it as taking control. I've got various goals I want to get to, and I think to myself "ok I can have takeaway, but that's a week longer until I reach my goal" or "no, I've slacked this week and it stops now as I'm not undoing what I've achieved so far".

But reframing my thinking helped. It's only food. It doesn't control me. I choose what I do. Once I stopped blaming my metabolism/comfort eating/mum issues/whatever and took responsibility, it became so much easier to do.

RonaldosAbs Fri 31-Jul-15 14:44:23

Rubbish. Willpower is like a muscle, exercise it and it gets stronger. Start very small and build up slowly, just as you wouldn't try and lift 100lbs if you were out of shape, you would start with 5 or 10 lbs.

I lost a VAST amount of weight in the past (9 bloody stone...eep) and have kept it off for years and years so some tips there:

- Get myfitnesspal, I didn't have it then as it didn't exist but you put in your stats and it gives you a calorie allowance for your food, you fill it in with what you eat and drink until your limit. You can adjust this accordingly so it's more gentle at first, weight loss is calories in, calories out, no need to complicate it.

- Don't say "Omg, I need to loose sooo much weight", say "I need to lose 5lbs", break it into small chunks. Then again and again until you're at goal.

- Start your exercise small, little walk here, 10 mins of a 30 min DVD there, build it slowly and it will fall into place.

Other tips:

- Delay that gratification. If you want a glass of wine, or to watch some shit tv or go on fb or do something like that, do something else first, something small like wipe the kitchen down or open and sort your post. Build these things up until your unhealthy and unproductive habits become occasional things.

- Have a good clear out, always makes you feel better, I particularly recommend the KonMari method (google it). This is a good willpower and focus exercise as well.

- Take good care of yourself in general, get a nice haircut, look after yourself, be positive as much as you can, laugh as much as you can etc productive people have good self esteem.


You can do this OP, remember, willpower is like a muscle, you can make it as strong as you choose to over time. Good luck!

RonaldosAbs Fri 31-Jul-15 14:46:06

Also, myfitnesspal is free in both online and app form.

SnoopySassySue Fri 31-Jul-15 17:19:09

Thanks for all of the great advice! I think the idea of taking small steps is sensible, going to get that app and try to get in gear smile really appreciate the help and support

Fatmomma99 Fri 31-Jul-15 17:26:47

I know lots of people who've done the Couch to 5k and it's worked for them. (It didn't for me, but my DH is now a runner, which he never thought possible). Free except for a pair of trainers and can fit into any part of your day.

I lost a stone in the first year we got our dog.

Spartans Fri 31-Jul-15 17:43:59

Yabu. 3 years ago I was twenty stone, never exercised, smoked and was miserable.

I am now a 10/12, exercise daily, fit, don't smoke and am happy.

I had zero willpower 3 years ago. I was so fed up I made small changes and they added up. Now I have tons of will power. It's kind of like a muscle I suppose. If you don't use it it disappears.

Eva50 Fri 31-Jul-15 18:03:12

OP have you had a look at the weight loss threads on here? There is a weight loss chat topic and some of it is pretty inspiring.

Spartans that's awesome. You give me hope!

ApplesTheHare Fri 31-Jul-15 18:30:29

YABU. All you need to do is make a decision to act, even to do something small like go for a walk, and then follow through. Then keep doing that. Bam, willpower back! smile

Purplepoodle Fri 31-Jul-15 18:36:12

Mine disappears with tiredness which is pretty hard to avoid with three small dc. And comfort eating. That awful habit of having a chocolate treat/cake once kids are in bed as my me time.

Only way iv turned it around is going to slimming club. My willpower is pretty rubbish. I have to go and stand on the scales each week.

OuchLegoHurts Fri 31-Jul-15 18:36:31

I wouldn't be embarrassed going to a slimming club, everyone is there for the same reason! Some will be bigger than you and some will be smaller...but people will either be trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss, and nobody sees or hears your weight, they just share tips!

SnoopySassySue Fri 31-Jul-15 20:38:10

Thanks all, and that is an amazing story Spartans!

PenelopeChipShop Fri 31-Jul-15 21:00:17

I know what you mean. I found it quite easy in my twenties too, I just used to say no to most unhealthy stuff and had the time and energy for the gym!

Since having DS I have slipped into worse habits, partly because I use food as a treat now that I don't drink as much. Am not actually overweight but nowhere near the shape I was in before.

What I do these days when I feel like I've taken my eye off the ball is eating mindfully. You can get books about it. It's not dieting but becoming aware of when and why you might be eating things you don't need or aren't good for you. I find when I do this I naturally eat better because I'm thinking about vitamins, protein etc rather than being driven by cravings. It's also a way of being nice to yourself rather than having the potential to 'fail' like a diet could.

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