Why A Lack of Willpower Isn’t The Problem

ice cream cone being held in a hand. showing how a lack of willpower isn't the problem

Does this sound familiar?

“If only I had more willpower, I wouldn’t have failed that diet. If I had more self control around food I probably would’ve been at my goal weight by now.”

Have you been longing to have a little more willpower because you can’t seem to stick with that “healthy diet” you’ve always wanted?

There’s actually an innate part of humans that shows willpower is not our problem, diets are. Let’s dive into it!

Let’s start off with the definition of willpower.

Definition of Willpower:

“the ability to control one’s own actions, emotions, or urges”


This definition seems harmless. But, I have a slight issue with it.

Controlling our actions, that’s fine we need that to be a decent human in society. Controlling our emotions also is okay, but I am a big believer in feeling your emotions and not suppressing them. Lastly, controlling our urges. Sometimes, yes of course this makes sense. Like when you’re on a long road trip and you really have an urge to pee. You’re not going to pee in the car, but you will as soon as you get to your destination!

Controlling urges to eat food is where I have a problem with willpower.

You do not have a lack of willpower for wanting to eat a certain food, there are physiological, biological and psychological mechanisms that are making you want that food! Your body is trying to tell you something.

Hand holding an ice cream cone, talking about a lack of willpower.

Not a Lack of Willpower

You actually don’t have a lack of willpower problem, the problem is the dieting itself. Dieting suppresses our natural biological cues by telling you what, when, and how to eat. These strict food rules are a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and were not made for your body.

The reason you feel the resistance when dieting and can’t stick to the diet is because your body is screaming “help me!”

When you restrict your food intake, or certain food groups, you’re likely lacking some energy and nutrients that are essential for your body’s survival and optimal functioning. Your body doesn’t know the difference between a diet and starvation. Once you deprive the body of food, it will try to compensate by giving you intense cravings to eat – to survive!

Then – cue the binge eating, emotional eating, out of control eating, and feelings of failure. Yet another diet down the drain, might as well give up right? Wrong! The answer to this “lack of willpower” problem is to ditch dieting.

Leave Willpower and Dieting in the Past

I know, I know, it’s very hard to let go of the idea of dieting. Or that the next diet will “really work this time.” But trust me girl, you will be much better off without it!

With intuitive eating, you can learn how to listen to the biological hunger and fullness cues your body is so desperately trying to tell you. While intuitive eating is so much more than that, I do know that it will set you free from the stress and exhaustion of dieting.

You won’t have a “lack of willpower” problem with intuitive eating. Willpower isn’t needed with intuitive eating because you honour those mechanisms in your body that drive how much, when, and what you eat. Instead of listening to some strict meal plan that wasn’t made for you and your body!

I used to think I had a willpower problem. I couldn’t “control” myself around chocolate covered almonds. Turns out that since I was trying to follow a calorie-restricted meal plan, my body was screaming for energy and that turned into feeling out of control and overeating. After finding intuitive eating, I am no longer am afraid of chocolate covered almonds and I can confidently say I no longer need willpower!

To Sum it Up:

  • You don’t have a problem with willpower, dieting itself is the problem
  • Dieting makes your body go into survival mode
  • When restricting food, your body will compensate by giving you intense cravings to eat
  • Stop ignoring your hunger and fullness cues (this act is disguised as “willpower”)
  • Intuitive eating teaches you how to honour your body and break up with dieting

Ps. If you have a goal to become a more mindful eater – check out my free guide to mindful eating and practice some of my best mindful eating tips today!

xo, jenn


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