Sometimes when people see that I’m eating salad for lunch instead of pizza, they make remarks like, “I wish I had your will power.” Or when we talk about weight loss and eating healthy, I hear, “I just don’t have any will power.”
I don’t buy it. You heard me. Baloney. Hog wash. That’s a load of…
You do so have will power. But I get it. I used to think the same thing. Somehow, I just could not seem to say “no” to whatever it was I was craving at the moment. It was like I had no choice but to eat whatever I was thinking about. Food controlled me, or so it seemed. It called; I answered. And it led me all the way to a whopping 180 pounds of feeling worthless, powerless, and hopeless.
But sometime during my 21 day Daniel fast , I had an epiphany. Here I was hungry, thinking about all the things I’d love to be eating at the moment, but I was saying “no” and saying “no” successfully. It dawned on me that food has NO power over me. What do you know? I DO have will power. It’s ME that controls what and how much goes in my mouth. Food is an inanimate object. It can’t make me do anything.
It’s like what I learned about dealing with difficult people. In my line of work (nurse), I see all kinds of people who are under tremendous stress and certainly not having the best of days. Sometimes someone will curse at me, yell at me, demand that I do things that would not be safe to do, threaten to sue me. Sometimes I feel like I must have blood running down my chin from biting my tongue so hard. Because what I realized is that I have no control over how other people act, but I do have complete control over how I respond. They can act like a horse’s behind, but that doesn’t mean I have to respond in kind. Is it easy? NO WAY! I can think of dozens of things I’d like to say, but I practice self-control and try to find the kindest, gentlest, most professional way to respond to this rant.
It’s the same idea with food. Ok, it’s not cursing at and threatening to sue us, but it certainly drives us mad with the constant taunts and temptations. But you CAN say NO! You don’t have to eat it! Food cannot make you eat what you know would not be good for you or more than you need.
I know. Believe me, I know saying “no” to a favorite snack is so incredibly hard. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes. This little girl has saying “no” down to an art!
Here are a couple of tricks I learned that helped me take back the will power I allowed food to steal:
- Am I really hungry? I know I’ve said this a million times already, but being able to identify triggers for eating is so important. When you get that urge to eat, is it really hunger or is there something else going on that’s making you want to eat?
- Drink a glass of water. If you think you really might be hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry, have a snack but make it a healthy one.
- Keep the foods that tempt me the most out of the house. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Well, not necessarily, but if it’s not available to me, I can’t eat it.
- Chew gum. Sometimes, just keeping my mouth busy calms a craving.
- Find a distraction. There are times still when I’m just totally stuck on a craving. I can’t think of anything else, but I’m not hungry, so I don’t need to eat. So I try to distract myself with another activity. Sometimes I go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie or a TV show, play games on my iPad…anything you enjoy that will take your mind off food.
- Pray. Yes, I would pray during times of intense craving, wanting to give in, but knowing I would hate myself for eating again. So I’d pray that God would give me strength to say “no” to that craving, to that delectable brownie or yummy chocolate chip cookie.
Taking back your power is not easy, and there’s nothing fun about it. It causes a quite intense inner struggle. But believe me, you DO have will power! You just need to exercise it. It’s like any other muscle. If you don’t use it, it’s just weak and unable to do the work. But the more you exercise that weak muscle, the stronger it gets, and eventually, you’ll be doing things you had no idea you could do.
YOU HAVE THE POWER!
Talk to me:
What food do you have a hard time saying “no” to?