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Losing Weight and Gaining Willpower

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Everyone has weakness. When it comes to food, we all have a hard time resisting our fattening favorites. For me, fresh bread with real butter, all kinds of cheeses, wine and doughnuts are weaknesses. If you savor the taste of a glazed, Krispy Kreme doughnut warm from the oven melting in your mouth after every scrumptious bite, then doughnuts may be your weakness too. Today, I resisted a doughnut.

After taking my oldest son to school, my middle son looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “Please mommy, please can we have a special day and go for a doughnut?” I hesitated for a few seconds and tried to think of a good answer to why we couldn’t go. Would a good answer be because I didn’t want to be tempted? I have been eating right and working hard to make changes to my body, surely I could buy him a doughnut without getting myself anything. I told him we could go. I could be strong.

We parked the car and walked hand in hand as the alluring smell of fresh doughnuts escaped from the store doorway and drifted up my nose. My mouth began to water as we made our way to the counter. I held my son up so he could see the selection and make his choice. I was facing true willpower head on as I stared at a wall of frosted, sugar and glazed circular temptation. This is when my internal negotiating kicked in. “I’ll work out later to burn it off.” “I have been working hard and I deserve it.” “I rarely come here, just one couldn’t hurt.” Then I started to feel deprived, like I really wanted something but felt like I just couldn’t have it. Normally, this is the time I cave.

One of my friends gave me the best piece of advice that changed my perspective. Her advice: give yourself three “cheat meals” a week. Eat healthy most of the time to fuel your body with nutrients and three times a week, treat yourself. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling deprived. I knew that I could have it, but did I really want to use a cheat meal on a doughnut? When I gave myself the choice, I decided to wait to use my cheat meal on a date night with my husband, a taco night with the kids, or lunch with a friend.

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EmpowHER Guest

Funny how we play mind games with our selves. In the past I would workout and then use it to justify treating myself to a chocolate or rich dessert. Now that I have kids it takes a huge effort just to get a good workout (usually sacrificing personal time, sleeping in or keeping up with the house) it's easier to resist. I simply ask myself if the treat is worth erasing that day's workout. Nine times out of 10 the answer is no.

I also don't believe in feeling guilty so for that one time out of 10 that I do indulge I enjoy it then move on.

January 26, 2010 - 9:27pm


Wow! Wow! What a great moment. I went all the way with you -- hearing your son's request, walking into the donut shop, the smells, the sights, and the temptations. I imagined how I'd have caved, probably sooner than you say you would have. (Hot Krispy Kremes? And you resisted!) And you even threw out what your son didn't finish! What a victory.

You gave yourself a way to have what you wanted, and then figured out that it didn't mean that much to you after all. What a great gift. Your friend's suggestion is inspired.

Thanks so much for writing about it.

January 21, 2010 - 8:38am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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