Where did someone come up with using the word “willpower” for dieting?  For me, it isn’t about what I will eat, it is about what I won’t eat.  I looked up the definition just to be clear on this.  Willpower means “control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control.”  Exactly my point!  I am controlling my diet by what I WON”T eat.

Sure, I get it.  I am exerting my will.  I guess that’s what it means.  But in reality, it always comes down to the same thing for me… what I won’t eat.  Or don’t eat.  Or try my hardest not to eat.  Won’t power.  Won’t, won’t, won’t.  I won’t eat cookies.  I won’t eat bagels.  I won’t eat ice cream.  I won’t.  (Fingers crossed behind my back.)

WILLpower should be about those things I need to do, “will do,” not the things I need to avoid.  I will eat more vegetables.  I will drink more water.  I will stick to my dinner plan.  Willpower.

Maybe ‘will’ sounds more positive than ‘won’t.’  And ‘do’ sounds better than ‘don’t.’  But for me, the reality of dieting is really more about the things I need to avoid putting in my mouth than anything else.  Because if I just stopped eating the stuff that I know I should stop eating, the rest would fall into place.  And even when I do all the ‘will’ stuff like the veggies and water and lean protein, I can still manage to overeat other stuff.  The ‘won’t’ stuff.

So I am trying to decide if I need to change my thinking or just my terminology.  I guess I could say “I will eliminate junk from my diet,” and “I will stop eating too much bread at night,” and “I will walk away from the cookies on the counter.”  But really it is just semantics.  Will or won’t.  Either way it still comes back to what I won’t put into my mouth.  Because if I do, I won’t lose weight, and I won’t be healthy, and I won’t off my weight roller coaster once and for all.

Or maybe, as I read this back to myself, I just need to focus on the power part of the word.  Power to eat what I should eat and power to avoid what I should avoid and power to exercise and power to be optimistic and power to like myself more.  Power.  I’m kinda liking it.



Filed under dieting, weight issues

43 responses to “WON'Tpower

  1. Oooooh. Power! Yes. I’m stealing that thought for myself today. Sometimes when I run I listen to a 60’s oldies mix. I was going up a long hill one time, thinking about walking when Lady Willpower came on. I used that to get myself to the top.

    .-= Tish´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday, WI =-.

  2. Great idea! I hope it works excellently.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..Getting Educated =-.

    • Karen

      Unfortunately it is more of an observation than an idea at this point. I need to put my money where my mouth is and feel it!

  3. I find that I have a LOT more will at the grocery store than I do at home. I don’t know if it’s an option but you might try cutting down on the ‘won’t’ foods in the house.

    That way if you really want ’em you gotta drive to find ’em.

    Good luck!!
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga WOOT WOOT =-.

    • Karen

      I am great at the store right now too. Sadly, I can overeat all sorts of healthy foods that are in my house. Some I’d like to get rid of but my husband eats them. Sigh.

  4. Great post, Karen! I love thinking about words like that. And I actually make up words all the time to fit a specific situation. For example, I call myself “intrataining” (as opposed to entertaining) because I make myself laugh all the time, even when nobody else thinks I’m funny!
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Weigh In: Week 5 =-.

  5. I think this is so smart of you to think of willpower from the other direction!
    .-= Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog ..Summer Recipes You Can Take =-.

    • Karen

      There are many words associated with weight and dieting that I am starting to think about differently. I suspect you will read more about this in future posts.

  6. sunnydaze

    I agree to focus on the positive – healthy is what you WILL become, you WILL do this, you WILL exercise, you WILL eat the right foods…this is what gives us the POWER.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. What an excellent way to look at it! I also heard someone once refer to it as “wantpower”, as in I want the good life more than the results of wrong choices.

    I’m liking the power thing better. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..A Hungry Girl Meets THE Hungry Girl (Giveaway) =-.

  8. Genie

    Another excellent observation, in a George Carlin-y kind of way. Much to be said about changing our language to describe the weight control experience.

    I think that’s kind of punny. How about you?

  9. I appreciate your framing about will/won’t-power when it comes to choices. This rings true in a way I completely had forgotten about. My father taught us (I’m old but early lessons die hard) that life/religion/relationships, etc. are made up of “do’s” not “don’ts” and one is defined by what what she chooses “to do”. Unfortunately, he was the biggest feeder in the family – eating soothed every negative emotion – and all of 4 of his kids have major food issues.

    Thanks for helping some part of me rethink that urge “to do” when it comes to food. Seriously.
    .-= Sskar´s last blog ..FDA Warning on Diet Drug =-.

    • Karen

      I read a book that said we should approach everything as something to choose. I “choose” to eat this or not eat that. I need to think more about applying that and how it would work for me. Maybe that will be a post someday.

  10. You’re fun! I loved this blog. This is the kinda thing that I do all the time. I like that you are trying to figure out absolutely everything to help your succeed!!! OOOOOHHHH YYYEEEAA!
    .-= Corletta´s last blog ..Broken….STILL….YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME 😦 =-.

  11. Will power was the big thing when I was young – so I like the idea of focusing on the power part of it, giving it a new twist!
    .-= Brightside-Susan´s last blog ..HEY! THAT HELPED! =-.

    • Karen

      I’m glad you liked it. I sure do hate when I hear someone else talk about a dieter’s willpower… like “she just needs a little willpower.” Ugh.

  12. Power…yes indeed that I was I need to reach in and find. As of late….I don’t seem to have any will or won’t power. None. Zilch. Maybe I need check out my breaker box….get that power up and running again!!

  13. Oh I love that concept! WON’TPOWER! 🙂

    I agree- today I looked longingly at the M&Ms that were brought in but I didn’t have ANY. 🙂

    Have a good weekend! GIRLPOWER! 😉
    .-= beerab´s last blog ..TGIF TGIF TGIF =-.

  14. Maybe a compromise would work. You could say something like this to yourself, “I won’t eat extra cheese pizza with pepperoni, but I will make my own with a whole wheat thin crust, lots of grilled veggies and a little low-fat cheese.”
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..If It Doesn’t Excite You, Move On =-.

    • Karen

      I read a really eloquent description of the grey shades of dieting. Wish I could remember who blogged about it. I am a very black and white person. I like compromise, but am not sure it is something I can handle yet with my eating. Maybe:)

  15. That is a good play on the word! I focus on all the incredible things I do want to eat that I love and that are good for me! It is working for me!

    • Karen

      I suspect if I ate nine servings of fruits and veggies a day (which I think is the recommendation) I wouldn’t be hungry for all the things I shouldn’t eat!

  16. Mia Jones

    Love the reframing. I’ve been working on “I am” phrasing, like “I am a person who puts food that is good for me in my body”, “I am a person who exercises 5-6 times per week” rather than the willpower phrase. “Willpower” automatically seems to tell me I have to muster something up, “I am” tells me I am already there…to one extent or another. Great post, thanks! I’m going for a nice long walk!

  17. language is incredibly powerful.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest.
    .-= M @ Betty Crapper´s last blog ..Homemade Ground Beef Tacos =-.

  18. GREAT post! I love how you got me thinking a little differently! And oh YES! Power is a dang good thing!
    .-= Bringing Pretty Back´s last blog ..I’m a slow learner and Coco would NOT be proud of me. =-.

  19. Queen Karen, her greatness, with power over all the food in her realm AND exercise AND everything! Ha! Don’t you just love that thought?! Will-won’t-schmon’t… all about power! All of us Queens, all of us with power over everything in our realms… Oooooh! Queens, but not queen sized any more…
    .-= Peacefulbird´s last blog ..365.242199 Days?????? =-.

  20. I like the idea of won’t power. I wish I would have used more of it when someone came to my house this weekend with a homemade cheesecake. However, even after eating way too much of it, several servings ove the course of the evening, I refused to throw in the tail – I won’t give up….not an option! And, today was a much better day.
    .-= Melissa Fast´s last blog ..Strawberry Daiquiri or Margarita =-.

    • Karen

      I think that is how it is supposed to work:) We can splurge over something as great as homemade cheesecake and the next day get right back on track.

  21. Karen, I liked this post!! I just need to suggest to you that you look for practical, concrete ways to help yourself. For example, the message is not to say, I won’t eat cookies. The message is there will not be cookies or any of the other food weaknesses I have in the house to be on the counter!

    • Karen

      Thanks for reading this Dr. J:) I would love not to have the stuff around at all. That is the topic of another whole post about how much easier it would be if I didn’t live with a husband and boys who were not watching their weight. I have already warned my husband then when our next empties next year, there is no excuse for any junk anymore in the house.

  22. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » Sitting on my Thumbs

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