On the surface, it seems food addiction is the hardest addiction of all to break, because unlike smoking or gambling, you can’t exactly refrain from eating for the rest of your life.
People who can’t seem to stop themselves from overeating everyday often say things like:
“If only I had more discipline!”
“How do I become more disciplined?”
“I need more discipline, damnit!”
Stop looking for discipline. It’s not discipline, or “willpower,” that’s going to solve your problem. It’s more love. Or more specifically, more love for your alleged ultimate goal: To stop over eating!
Strength Sensei Charles Poliquin—often considered the most successful strength coach in history—has a theory about discipline that can be applied nicely to food addicts. He says this:
“You either love finely etched muscular abs more than donuts, or you love donuts more than washboard abs you could do your laundry on. It is as simple as that. Don’t beat yourself up that you have no discipline or further drown yourself in a sea of refined carbs out of guilt. Admit that you like crappy food more than you love strength.”
Poliquin goes so far as to suggest the idea of discipline is a myth: In other words, if you love the idea of being lean more than you love fully loaded pizza, then choosing to eat an appropriate amount of healthy food won’t require discipline. Choosing to refrain from eating pizza will become a relatively painless choice because eating quality foods is more in line with your true values and desires, so that’s what you will do.
“Accept that all your choices are reflections of what you truly love,” Poliquin said.
This is why I believe it’s so important to figure out what your goals REALLY are. The other day, I went around in a class and asked everyone to list a gym goal they had for the year. 80 percent of the answers seemed to lack any kind of believable passion. Replies like:
“Um, I guess I want a pull-up.”
Or, “I’d like to be able to do a 300 lb. clean in an ideal world.
It couldn’t have been more clear that most people in the class were just trying to humor me with a reply, as opposed to actually giving me legitimate goals. And I can guarantee you most of the athletes there that day won’t achieve their stated goal because, well, they were made up goals.
So before you set a random goal for the sake of setting a goal, really think about it. What do you really want? When there’s something you really want more than anything, it will be much easier to align your actions with your goals, and much more likely you will achieve that goal. And, the best part is, pursuing this goal won’t feel like you’re mustering the discipline to sacrifice other things you want, as your want for this one thing will trump everything else. Even donuts. You won’t even want donuts anymore.
One exercise I have found helpful is to close my eyes and picture my ideal life. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What do I look like? What do I feel like? What would I have more of, and less of, in my life, to achieve this life? Really paint a picture and figure out what is is you REALLY want. Not what you kind of, sort of, maybe, in an ideal world would be happy to achieve. What is your heart really burning for?
Now I’m not suggesting that it’ll be easy once you figure this out. But it will certainly be easier to achieve what you want when you realize what you actually really want, instead of spewing rhetoric in hopes of getting a pull-up or losing weight. And I’m certainly not suggesting there will won’t be struggles along the way. Of course there will be. But once again, showing yourself LOVE, not searching for more discipline, is the answer.
Poliquin says this: “Whenever you make a truly loving choice, say to yourself ‘Thank you for taking care of me in a loving way”. The more you talk to yourself like a loving parent, the faster you will grow. …”
Moral of the story: Figure out what you really want, and accept and love yourself for it!
So, if you are a member of our gym, set up a meeting with your coach to go figure out a goal for the year. If you are in the Vernon BC, area and want to start achieving your goals then come in and talk to us!
Until next time