Fitness Dream Myth: Willpower Is All You Need

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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Fitness dream takes more than willpower

Are you under the impression that if you only had the willpower to overcome that need for chocolate in the midst of PMS, that your life fitness dream would be perfect?

Your fitness dream may be more influenced by the reality that willpower is like fairy dust – just because I want it, doesn’t mean it really exists.

Willpower is not a magic wand

How many times have you heard a fellow dieter mention the need for “stronger willpower” to stay away from the refrigerator, or get up at an ungodly hour to head to the gym.

Guess what? You’ve already got it.

You used it this morning when you picked the shirt you are wearing. You used willpower when zoned out all the conversations around you at work. Any form of self control is your use of willpower.

The trick is when to use it. Apparently we have a limited amount to call upon daily, and it’s stronger in the morning. For those of us who enjoy a late night snack, this is not a surprise.

Willpower depends on your body’s energy supply which general peaks in the morning
– Roy F. Baumeister, Ph.D.
[source: Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength]

How do you help your fitness dream keep going?

During my weight loss I had several conversations with people who saw me slowly shrink. The one recurring theme in their responses? “How did you stay away from (insert favorite snack here)? I couldn’t do that!”

Only now, after losing 80 pounds this question is easy for me to answer.

Love the energy

Feeling lethargic, tired, wishing it was time for a nap is not the definition of living a full life. Sitting for a living is normal for me, so moving for even short periods of time were exhausting.

Have you ever felt worn out after having the “do I or don’t I” debate with yourself about working out?

Fitness dream solution: Schedule it.

Make exercise automatic. Work it onto your calendar, but more importantly, work it into your life. Is your gym on the way to work? Pack your work clothes and get your workout in before you start your day… and before you talk yourself out of it.

When that reminder to WORK OUT pops up on your calendar, treat it like an important meeting, or your child’s sporting event. You wouldn’t miss those important meetings, so don’t shortchange yourself and miss a scheduled workout.

Love feeling strong

Shocking your teenage son with the ability to pick him up is really amazing! The look on my son’s face when I told him I do burpees as part of my workout was priceless. Yes, he still wins in the “6-pack abs” department but that’s just fine.

Inner strength has a way of growing when you feel physically strong. No need to pick up a car, or drag a tractor to prove your strength. I love the strength of hauling groceries in fewer trips, picking up boxes when men point at it and say “I’ll get that.”, and feeling grounded when footing is unstable on a hike.

Fitness dream solution: Strength training.

You can do so much to build muscle tone with just your body – no additional weights needed! Strength training is so important no matter what your age to keep you moving.

Want more? I’ll be adding videos of simple ways to add strength training to your life starting next week. Your feedback is needed so keep reading.

Love the challenge

We dreamers tend to think big and having that continual challenge makes it interesting and keeps us focused. I know that I would not have been where I am today if I didn’t challenge myself to walking, then running, then strength training, then leaving the house to take a fitness class.

Fitness dream solution: Create a milestone.

A great piece of advice I read this week about training for triathlons is to use smaller events every 4-12 weeks as milestones for training. If you focus on the “BIG event” chances are you will get bored or over-train.

Your fitness dream will thank you for creating small and easy to attain milestones. To keep up with my post last week Avoid These Weight Loss New Year Resolutions, do NOT put this on your calendar 4 weeks in the future:

I will lose 40 pounds, run a marathon, and re-roof my house in a month.

Milestone planning can be very rewarding when based in reality. What’s better than being able to finish a task and give yourself a pat on the back?

Fitness dream in progress

After reading a few of my fellow dreamers posts in the last few weeks I know I am repeating a theme with this next statement: Dreams will always be in progress.

My weight loss led to my fitness addiction, which led to my need to compete, which is leading me in new directions for 2013. That’s where you come in… What body parts do you want to strengthen? Let me know in the comments and I’ll make a video with some easy exercises to get you going!

Go get your fit on – Heather

  • remy

    arms. I never wear sleeveless anything because I cant stand how not strong my arms are.  :) See you Wednesday? xoR

  • maria

    beautiful.  wonderful inspiration for me. thank you.  xoxoxoxo

    • You got it sweets! If I wasn’t such a cold weather wimp I would drag us both out for a walk around Anadel – should bundle up an do it soon anyway :)