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Harnessing Willpower in the Fight to Control Your Diet

  May 28th, 2013

Control Your DietAs we were driving home from a visit to my parents’ house this past Saturday my wife mentioned how she has been struggling to eat healthy foods – and eat them in portions that will allow her to maintain the caloric deficit required for her to continue progressing toward her goals.


I gave her a rather generic, but oh-so-truthful response, that controlling the diet is a battle of the wills.


In the blue corner you have the crafty, brazen, battle-hardened, fearless warrior.


He is unrelenting and untiring, ready to pound at your conscience until you’re convinced that eating a buffalo chicken pizza and washing it down with a banana split is completely harmless.


In the red corner you have the image of a better you, your unlocked potential that can only be realized through consistent training and nutritional discipline.


This lean, confident, strident, in-control version of your current self is far more powerful than the opponent, but this power doesn’t reside on the surface, making it difficult to harness.


It’s a power that acts as an open loop control system; the more you feed it, the more potent it becomes.


But how do you feed this metaphorical powerhouse that is the image of your physical potential and send that pansy in the blue corner packing?


My wife’s struggles to control her diet are not exceptional. We all deal with them.


Do you think just because I take my health and physical appearance seriously that I don’t struggle with nutritional discipline? Of course I struggle.


Last time I checked I was human just like everyone else.


Not only do I struggle…I sometimes fail to control my diet. Yes, there are days when I plan on eating well and a change of plans or lack of motivation leads me to an eating binge.


But I’ll tell you what I don’t do…


I don’t use that as an excuse not to train. I don’t use that as an excuse to continue eating poorly for the rest of the week. And I sure as heck don’t let it become commonplace in my life.


To be honest, it’s actually really easy for me to get back on track when I falter. It’s easy for a few reasons:


1. I feel like crap (physically and mentally) after a day of bad eating and I know the only way to feel better is to eat whole, nutritious foods (and not overeat them)


2. I remind myself that not controlling my diet and eating with reckless abandon packed 60lbs of fat on my body (I also remember how hard and long I worked to get rid of it)


3. I think of the damage to my health eating processed foods loaded with saturated fats, artificial ingredients, antibiotics, and the like, can lead to


There are others I could list, but this gives you an idea of how I feed my potential and give it power. These “power pills” are somewhat unique to me.


My advice: Find your own and ingest them as often as you need.


This power is constantly in flux, shifting between your food threatening to enslave you and you controlling your diet and harnessing the power of your food to produce a better, longer-living, version of you.


Whether you plan to or not, you’re going to stumble from time to time. Like my wife did this past weekend, the proper response is to identify the struggle, remind yourself why victory is the only option, and take the steps necessary to achieve it.


Plan your meals, cook a few healthy foods in bulk, throw out junk foods that tempt you, stop worrying about eating every 3 hours, whatever.


You are in control and the power you need to live the life you desire is available to you. But you may need to take it by force.


So throw a few stinging right jabs, follow it up with a bone-crushing left hook to the body and finish it off with a teeth-shattering uppercut that sends that sucker from the blue corner flying into the ropes and onto the canvas for a ten-count.


He may come back for a rematch. He may even land a few solid blows, breaking a few ribs in the process.


But don’t let it faze you. Take it like a champ and keep pressing forward!


“You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!”  – Rocky Balboa



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