A myth we need to bust is that you need more willpower in order to resolve your emotional eating. A big myth inside of the emotional eating space is that we need more willpower.
“If only I had more willpower, I’d finally be able to stop emotional eating. If only I had enough willpower during a binge, I could stop. If only I could just stick to my plan, I would stop.”
This is so far from the truth, and I also get it.
When I was on my own emotional eating journey, I thought I needed more willpower. I kept thinking “Why can’t I do this? Why don’t I just do this thing? Why is it so difficult for me?”
What I didn’t realize was that I was already a committed and disciplined person, and I needed so much more than willpower to move through my emotional eating.
What is willpower?
I want to share something with you to help you see what willpower really is. If we think of our mind as 100%, 5% of our mind is conscious and 95% is subconscious.
Our conscious mind is what we are presently aware of. It is saying, I want to do this, I want to do that. It’s very in the moment.
Our subconscious mind is very automatic, and it’s running all of our patterns. A great way to think about this is to think about when you learn to drive. At first, you’re really conscious of everything you’re doing. You’re really aware.
Eventually it becomes so automatic that you get in your car and you go from point A to point B and you didn’t even realize how you got there. So that becomes an automatic pattern. It becomes subconscious. So our subconscious mind is really efficient. It loves to save our brain energy.
So an automatic pattern is going to get us from point A to point B without us having that constant focus, which takes a lot of energy.
The same thing happens with our emotional eating pattern. It’s a coping mechanism, and it lives in our subconscious. It’s an automatic pattern. So when it’s triggered, it has a lot of power.
We can look at this at the force each has, our conscious mind is 5% power and our subconscious has 95% power over our actions. So consciously, 5% of the time we can willpower away, and 95% of the time, or 95% of the power is in our subconscious.
We can’t consciously stop our heart beating. It’s a subconscious process. It’s an automatic process.
With our emotional eating, it is 95% subconscious. It’s in the body. It’s such an ingrained pattern.
How do we change this then?
So in order to change this, we have to be smart about it.
So consciously we don’t want to be emotionally eating. We want to be doing something different that is empowering. We can’t just willpower our way. It’s not going to work. We need to use that willpower, that consciousness, in a smart way to access the bigger part of us.
This is all to say that your willpower is not going to be the only thing that will help you emotional eating. You just standing there, gritting your teeth, white knuckling it is not a smart use of your willpower. We need to direct your willpower into a process to help us get to these deeper layers.
I’m not saying that all willpower is bad or if we consciously want to change something in our life, something’s bad. The reason this doesn’t work is that the willpower is only 5% and it’s going against 95% resistance which is our coping mechanism.
If we consciously wanted to implement a new behaviour, yes, we need to repeat that and we can put it in our calendar and we every day repeat that pattern and over time it becomes automatic because there’s no resistance in the way.
But when we already have a coping mechanism that is a huge block, it’s a huge resistance to what we’re actually trying to create in our life. So we have to be smart about the pattern.
We want to do the deeper work to get into that coping mechanism, especially for emotional eating, and resolving that pattern, then creating a new way forward.
We have to do this somatically in the body and get ourselves into a certain state in order to really work with that on a body level, to really transform it. So we use our willpower consciously to recognize there’s a new way forward.
How to use focused willpower…
We don’t use our willpower to try to white knuckle our way through a binge or white knuckle our way through a diet change or white knuckle our way into the gym. We want to change what’s running the show, what pattern is running the show, what limiting beliefs are running the show, what perspectives are running the show on this deeper level. Because when we change on this level it becomes the new automatic which is effortless.
You’re going to get into your car, into your body, into your eating habits at point A and end up at point B and you won’t be expending so much energy and effort.
When we do things the quick way, the willpower way, the instant fixes, the magic diets, the pills we are taking a shortcut thinking we’re going to get the result we want, but on the long term we’re constantly will-powering and putting in energy and effort and we don’t actually get to where we want to go in the beginning.
If you decide you’re going to work deeper, focus your energy into these deeper layers and make that deeper decision, take that deeper plunge of change, you’re going to have more effortless change in the long run.
And so we have to decide do we want to spend the rest of our lives doing quick fixed tactics that in the moment give us a quick result that in the long term don’t give us a sustainable change? Or do we want to devote our energy into a deeper process so that long term we have effortless change and effortless sustainability.
Inside of The Emotional Eating Evolution Program, that is what we are working towards. We are getting to the deeper root. When we shift things at the root, it ripples through the branches, into our behaviours, into our thoughts and we have sustainable change without efforting. If we do the quick fixes, we’re trying to cut off the leaves and the branches and create change from that level without pulling out the root and creating something new.
We doing this in the 3 main areas in the program.
FOOD=> So how do we relate to food? We’re transforming that relationship from the quick fixed diets to deeply nourishing ourselves from our body
BODY=> From the body shame and pushing ourselves to look a certain way at the gym, to actually understanding and appreciating our body and having that acceptance at a deeper layer which creates that internal motivation to move our body.
EMOTIONS=> Shifting from bypassing our emotions or thinking something’s wrong with us and avoiding the root cause of things, to actually processing and integrating at a body level, transforming, limiting beliefs and self sabotage at this deeper root level somatically in the body, so we can move forward powerfully.
These three areas combined are what gets to all the layers of our emotional eating pattern and resolves it at the the root. So if you are ready to move past willpower or to really focus your willpower in the right areas to get to this pattern at the root. If this is resonating, I would love to invite you to find out more about the Emotional Eating Evolution Program HERE and apply to work with us.
To true change,
Certified Holistic Nutritionist Specializing in Emotional Eating