Will power is a word you hear a lot around dieting.
We’ve all heard people casually saying things like: “All fat people need is more will power” or “they just need to stop eating”.
In theory, yes.
In practice, it takes an enormous amount of will power to stay fat and keep eating.
If you take a moment to really look at how embarrassed, uncomfortable and unhappy obese people generally are, then the only conclusion is that there is an element of unwillingness to change.
If weight loss were merely about will power, there are a tremendous number of fat people out there who’d be size zero Nobel winning astronauts if they’d put half the energy into their lives as they do sabotaging their own weight loss.
So if not will power, then what?
Well perhaps the question should be why are you putting so much effort into keeping the weight on?
Yes, it’s important to take into account the addictive nature of food. There is astounding evidence to suggest that sugar is one of the most addictive substances available to human kind. Not to mention the moreish effects of fat and carbohydrates when combined with that sugar.
This however, does not go the whole way to answering the problem. Of course there are people who self medicate with all sorts of substances but such gross obesity as we have begun to witness on a global scale is a fairly recent development.
Yes, many people have been poorly educated about nutrition, something the food industry plays a role in.
But placing the blame on external influences rather than stepping up and taking responsibility for what goes in our own mouths is disingenuous.
Why, when things go wrong, is it necessary to reach for a chocolate bar rather than engage in a healthy activity , say working out or mindfulness or a manicure?
If it was as simple as food being cheap, plentiful and easily accessible then we’d be a nation of tap water enthusiasts.
Part of the problem, I believe, is social, something I will write about tomorrow.
But looking inward, I am certain that the issue for many people who are over weight, is the need to create a literal wall between themselves and the outside world.
Let’s face it, living is hard. Some days even getting out of bed is too much to bear, let alone getting dressed and having to step outside your front door.
We all have days when the duvet, a takeaway and a boxed set of DVDs is a far preferable choice than rising to the exhausting task of pretending to adult.
So how do we step out of this cycle of ‘another day, another dollar’ and make time to really access the reason we’ve built a wall and need to find other ways to deal with the stress of living?
I think the first step is to recognise that for some, the weight wont begin to shift until the underlying reason for their need to be so self protective is revealed.