How man times have you heard the word “willpower” when referring to a weight loss program. We speak of it as if it is a condition some have and some don’t. When someone refrains from eating a piece of cake or pizza at a party they say, “wow, you sure have willpower!” I can’t tell you how many folks with the best intentions tell me they wish they had my willpower. But the truth is, I don’t have much willpower. Put me in a room with an Italian Buffet and I would surely cave. If I didn’t I would be “white knuckling” it the whole time. If I had to white knuckle every time I was in front of  temptation, I could not lose an ounce.

Dr Phil speaks of “Setting yourself up for success”. I remember watching his show a few years back and a woman was wanting to lose quite a bit of weight so the producers went to her home and went through her cupboards. One of her favorites foods was Doritos. She had bags and bags of it in her cupboards. I love Doritoes too. I could never have a big bag of Doritoes in my house, they would be gone with just one visit. No need for Chip Clips here! He told her if she wanted success, the best thing for her to do is not have them in her home. I can’t have ice cream here either, even of its sugar free or in the form of sugar free ice cream bars. I have been known to eat the whole box.

There are some foods that I simply can’t have access to. I can say I could resist, and maybe I could for a while, but eventually I would cave. I’m still working through this. Some of my weight loss friends eat no refined sugar, what-so-ever! I have the utmost respect for them. And I am willing to do the same if the day comes where I find that sugar is a problem for me. Not that I have my own demons. My trigger foods are chips, really good cheese, pasta, crackers, and any starchy carbohydrate. I have been trying to limit the amount of these things in my house and kitchen, and I’m having pretty good luck, but I think maybe my list of non-negotionable foods maybe growing in the near future. I attempted to buy my Doritoes in small 1 ounce bags, but I am still finding them tempting. So far I have resisted, but seriously, why toy with it? They may need to be removed real soon.

I don’t think I would have brought this up a few months ago. When you tattle on yourself, you have to become accountable. My little stash of Doritoes was my dirty little secret. There are some foods, no matter how carefully I weight and measure, I struggle staying true. I started weighting my pasta uncooked for that reason. I can shove way more than a cup of spaghetti in a measuring cup so tight, that when I take my chubby little hand away from the cup, they pop out like this trick snakes in a can! Same with a tablespoon of peanut butter. I now have a measuring spoon that has a slide over it that keeps you from mounting it up. A mounding tablespoon of peanut butter can easily turn into 2 or even 3. Some of what I refer to as yellow light foods, or food I can have but have to monitor very closely, goes into the freezer in my garage. I think at this point, it’s time to clear out the yellow light food as well. There is so much more peace when we just eliminate it from our lives. I can understand why most people do this gradually, it would be a lot to think about all at once.

We foodies are good at being sneaky. I was so sneaky that I did not even realize I was being sneaky. I still struggle with the BLT’s. (bites, licks and tastes) while I cook. A person can consume hundreds of calories in a very short time by tasting everything while cooking. I learned this at a very early age. When I was a kid, both of my folks worked, it was my job, to get supper going before my parents came home. We often had loose meats. (if you are not from the midwest and don’t know what a loose meat, tavern, or maid-rite is, it’s ground meat with seasonings, (not tomatoey or saucy  like Sloppy Joe’s), eaten on a hamburger bun. Rosanne Bar ran a loose meat restaurant on her show at one time) anyway, I would nibble on that ground beef spoon by spoon that by the time my folks were home half was eaten and when noticed, I would blame the meat counter of the little grocery store in my town for skimming on his ground beef. My folks never bought into it. I am learning to do less cooking complex recipes as well, it’s just easier if I eat simple food, that does not need a lot of fussing. Most of those kinds of foods are clean, fresh and simpler. Much healthier.

So, you ask, How have I lose so much weight without willpower? I’ve done it by tattling on myself and being accountable to a friend. I’ve quit buying and eating foods that I think about too much or can’t control the portions. I avoid toying with temptation. I’m not 100%, but when I see a challenge or a struggle with something, I think about it, and consult the army of people around me that I trust and are accountable to. I could never do this alone.

Yesterday I went to a late Christmas party. They were serving pizza from one of my very favorite pizza places, and I knew one of the guests would bring goodie trays. She owns a suscessful catering business and makes the most awesome truffles. I brought my own salad from Wendy’s and did not even go in the room to look at the food table. I knew if I planned on eating one piece, I would not stop. I don’t have the off button in my head that others have who don’t struggle with food like I do. It was so much easier than white knuckling it. Why torture myself.

People who want to lose weight have to do this on their own terms. There have been many times I have spoke up, or wanted to, but when I do, they get very defensive. Keeping the special treats for their husband, or children, or claiming to be able to eat it a little at a time. I remember the defensive things I said when anyone would call me on something. It’s important to let people make self discoveries at their own pace. Or, not at all. Saying something never helps. I avoided or hid when I was called out. Some of the friends who bite their lips and reserved their judgement, were the soft place I could run to when I was ready. I’m so thankful for those friends. I don’t know if I could have watched myself destruct and abuse myself without judgement like they did. That does not mean we should enable them either.

January is a good time to go through your pantry and cupboards and really see what might be tripping you up on your weight loss efforts. I am going to do this as well. It seems as I get further and further into this weight loss effort, I add to my long list of non-negotiables. I have a feeling I’ll be weeding through a lot of stuff real soon. As always. I will keep you posted. Blessings!



Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog. I am a Baby Boomer from Nebraska blogging my way to good health. I am single, with no children, I have a little white maltese dog named Lily. Follow my journey to lose 1 pound 300 times.

10 thoughts on “Willpower

  1. Joyce Brawner

    Kathy, I read, with interest, your every entry. I admire your perseverance. This entry, about trigger foods, really “hit home” with me.

    I’ve been “working out” three times a week for seven months with a group of eight women and a trainer. Because of back issues, I sit on a stability ball and do modified exercises of the routine. My back is so much better, my core is tighter and I am stronger than I have been in my adult life. However, I haven’t lost any weight and realize this is due to bad food choices and lack of portion control. I’m going to get rid of my “trigger foods” and put your suggestions into practice. I have 60 to 70 pounds to lose.

    Thanks for the inspiration and good luck with your continuing journey. I look forward to more of your posts. Joyce

    • Kathleen

      Good for you Joyce! I am very impressed! One step at a time, that’s how we get there, always refining our plan. Please keep me posted. We are in this together! This is going to be a great year! Wishing you peace and good health!

  2. Excellent post. So very true, for me, too. You’re setting yourself up for success. Your awareness, tempered with a level of self honesty rarely achieved by anyone (because it’s difficult to be “bare,’ without the buffers of rationalizations and convenient outs designed to relieve us), is bringing you to a place where you’re not only setting yourself up for success–you’re also able to honestly recognize, identify and handle potential pitfalls.
    We have so much food behavior in common, it’s remarkable really. I’m reading your post here and constantly saying to myself, “me too–yep–me too—uh huh, that too.”)
    I love it how you’re allowing yourself what I call “a gradual evolution of choices” based on your likes, dislikes and the most critical–the things you’re learning about what you can and can’t handle in moderation.
    I’ve never been a proponent of “clear it all out and install just the best stuff possible,” because it forces us to immediately become something we’re not or haven’t been–and it’s not that we’re incapable of change, because we are–it’s just–in my experience, the most powerful and lasting change doesn’t happen overnight–it’s a gradual evolution at a pace we can process in positive ways.
    I’m excited for you and where you’re headed. I hope you have some nice shades. 🙂

    • Kathleen

      Sean, I’m learning. But sometimes I want the suscess right now, when the road gets long. Thank you for being a caring and patient teacher. You are teaching me how to save my own life. To me, that’s the best kind of hero I could have ever asked for. Blessings to you, my friend!

  3. Rose

    So point on about NOT having the trigger foods in the house. Mine is brownies. I can not even smell them. I would bake them and eat them hot from the pan. Bad, bad , bad.
    So no more…..
    Will power … such a powerful word for everyone. I hate it! I don’t hate much but that word is poison to me. See, once you are on the road to success and people start to see it then that word comes into play. And then if you DON’T have it .. the word comes into play….attached to failure. .. Ugh.

    But I’ve started back on track…and down 1 more lb!

    What are your thoughts on the scale? Once a day or once a week or just a 2 times a month?
    I was a once a day weigh-er.
    That got to be to much. Beating myself up and so on.
    Then I went a few times a week and slower gave it up.
    I’m really trying to just do it every so often so I can stay on the positive side of things.

    Rosie 🙂

    • Kathleen

      A pound is 4 sticks of butter! That’s a lot! I was weighing every Tuesday but I’ve changed it to once every 2 weeks. If you depend solely on willpower odds are not to good. We can plan to make good choices but it’s important for me to not have any options except good choices! Thanks for reading and the suport! Blessings!

  4. Raqual

    As we head into the New Year in a few hours down under I wish you the best of success in every aspect for 2016. I am so glad I found your blog and hope you keep sharing. 🙂

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