Many people believe they could improve their lives if only they had more of that mysterious thing called willpower. With more self-control we would all eat better, exercise regularly, avoid drugs and alcohol, stop procrastinating, and achieve all sorts of noble goals.
But To Tell The Truth, Will power is a Weak Mental Force.
Will power might sound like the super hero of resolve, but it’s actually a fallible contender. “When you’re trying to stick to a New Year’s Resolution, you can forget about relying on willpower,” says Alex Lickerman, assistant vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services at the University of Chicago, and author of The Undefeated Mind (HCI, 2012). “The more you use it, the more fatigued it becomes.”
Take my life for example…….. I had a deep conversation with my doctor regarding my lack of self control.
What’s Up Doc?
[Doc] Your tests results came back normal. Everything. Your blood pressure, sugar, Isn’t that great?!
[Me] Well, Not Really
[Doc] Why’d you say that?
[Me] Because I’m still thick in some areas, and I don’t like it lol.
[Doc] Well like I always say, you have to eat your fruits and vegetables, and cut back on the processed foods.
[Me] That’s the thing, I eat fruits and vegetables everyday. I juice, I make smoothies, and I drink fruit waters.
[Doc] Juicing is not good. Smoothies are not good. You need to eat your fruits whole.
[Me] I understand that doc. The first option is to eat my fruits whole, but when some of my produce is going bad, juicing and smoothies are the second option. And some fruits I just can’t eat whole. I can’t eat an apple by itself. I can only eat a half of an apple with almond butter, but with the other half, I’ll juice it with some greens. If my bananas are overripe, I would never throw them away. I’ll either put them in a smoothie, or freeze them to make a smoothie another day.
As soon as my doctor was about to ask the next question, her assistant interrupted the conversation. She was this young little asian woman. She curiously asked, “Is that what’s in that mason jar you have? Fruit Water?
[The Assistant] Wow, so how do you make these fruit waters?
[Me] You just cut up some fruit such as tangerines, grapefruit, apples, pineapples, or mangos. Add some vegetables and herbs such as cucumbers, or mint leaves. Add a little ginger, some plain organic or manuka honey, a few tablespoons of lemon or lime juice (if it’s citrus water). Next, pour spring or distilled water into the jar (I prefer distilled). Let it infuse for 24-48 hours before drinking it, and there you have it; Fruit Water. You can always get creative with it in your own way!
[Assistant] So, why would I drink the fruit water when I can just eat the fruit whole?
[Me] Well, maybe some of your produce is going bad, and you don’t have time to eat all of it. This can prevent you from throwing it away and wasting money. Also, there was this study I read about recently. It stated that 90% of the antioxidants were found in the juice of some fruits and vegetables, rather than the fiber. Fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, pineapples, apples, and also carrots and cucumbers. They’re all great for fruit waters and juicing.
[Doc] So, are you eating a lot of junk food? Cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc.
[Me] Yes (I slowly answered, shaking my head), and I can explain why.
[Me] Because Grandmothers Make You Fat.
Her Assistant Started Laughing
[Me] To be honest Doc, I eat like a buddhist a majority of the day. People actually think I’m weird because of the stuff I eat and drink. Don’t get me wrong, I may buy some Cinnamon Toast or Cap’n Crunch Berries once or twice a year. I may eat out a few times a month using my own money, But I only buy healthy food at the grocery store. Buying unhealthy food is a waste of money, in my opinion. I look at bad food as a treat to buy on occasions. But I’ll take bad food if someone offers it, and that’s my problem.
[Doc] I see
[Me] And to break it down, I have three grandmothers. I’ve lived with two of my grandmothers most of my life. Since I was born, they’ve all spoiled me with food. And they still do to this day! I live in a multi family home with one of my grandmothers. When you come into my part of the house and see my kitchen area, you’ll notice fruits vegetables, etc…..PURE health food heaven! You go into her part of the house, she has cookies, pies, macaroni and cheese, chips, waffles, chicken, ice-cream! I mean, I can’t even name everything! It’s very hard for me to not grab something!
[Her Assistant] Wow, maybe I need to visit grandma. (laughing)
[Me] I know my godsons and nephews love to come over simply for my grandmother’s part of the house. I give them fruit, smoothies, juices, and other healthy things to eat, but as soon as they’re done, they’ll look at me like dogs waiting to get a gravy with meat meal. They’ll have this look like, “Ooooo-k, we get it! Fruit and vegetables are healthy for us. When are going to grandma’s part of the house and get some real food?
They both began to laugh…
I Went on to Say……
Besides Finances, health has always been one of my greatest challenges. You might as well call me Olivia Pope because I’m ALWAYS trying to solve the issue. I ALWAYS play detective. Since 5th grade, I have been studying health. I’ve read hundreds of books, and tried so many fad diets, but the whole time, my grandmothers were the problem. I was so in denial. Many nights, I would sit in bed with the same epiphany. I said, “My grandmothers make me fat!” Then I’d like, “No, No, No. My grandmothers would never do such a thing. They love me!” I figured maybe it’s my hormones, maybe it’s my cortisol levels, maybe it could be my thyroid problem. I was so in denial.
[Doc] Well Tiearra, you’re not obese. You just have to tone up a bit. Exercise more.
[Me] I understand I need to do more resistance training because I’m active with cardio everyday, and I’m still not seeing any results. My grandmothers are the main problem. Let me tell you how I know it’s my grandmothers for sure. When I moved into my first apartment, I lost 30 pounds the first couple of months. When my grandmother stopped buying all that junk food summer 2012, I lost 40 pounds. It’s definitely them. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my thickness, but I want to reach the weight that’s appropriate for my height. It’s more so about health. I don’t want any complications in the future.
[Doc] Why don’t you just stay in your part of the house.
[Me] Ha! And be charged for neglect? I’m not even going to try to have self-control by avoiding my grandmother (Trust me, I tried). I have to go to my grandmother’s part of the house and talk to her at least 20 mins everyday. I mean, I just can’t ignore her. And I won’t ignore her. It’s funny because while we’re conversing, she’ll come out of nowhere and say, “I see you haven’t touched the pie yet!” I see you haven’t touched those cookies yet?” I must admit, I have self-control when it comes to most things, but when someone I know offers me food, I have no self-control. I’m just being honest. I have a great appetite, and people spoil me with food. If someone cooks for me, or offers me some cake or cookies, I’m going to eat it! I am the cookie monster!! I am the cake queen!
It’s crazy because I can eat healthy and unhealthy food. I can even eat hospital food. It actually tastes good to me. Sometimes, I’ll be like, “Am I worse than a fat person who just eats bad food?
I remember when I was seven years old. One of my grandmothers served me a whole chicken for dinner. It was a baby chicken, but it was still a whole chicken! I thought she was serving the meal family style that night, but she placed it directly in front of me, and I was the only one at the table. It definitely felt like medieval times at the moment, but I faced the chicken challenge because I really didn’t want to waste her food and disappoint her. I know that may sound crazy, but I never liked to disappoint adults as a child. So, instead of Man vs. Food, it was Tee Tee vs. Food that night. It was the longest two hours of my life!
They both were in tears at this point…
[Me] I’m sorry, this is starting to sound like a food addict counseling session, instead of a follow-up appointment. I just wanted to explain to you my thick girl situation. If you’re my doctor, you need to know these things. To make a long story short, my grandmothers show their love by giving me food, and I show my gratitude of their love by eating it lol.
[Doc] Hey, you’ll figure it out!
[Me] It’s already figured out. I need to move lol. If I continue to live with any of my grandmothers, I will never reach a healthy weight.
What I’ve Learned:
- None of us have 100% willpower: Doesn’t it seem like people with ironclad willpower are born with some kind of innate gift. They ignore tasty food and drink, never miss their workouts, and get great results in the gym, their career, and pretty much almost every aspect of their life. They are the people who most of us roll our eyes at and think, “It must be nice to be born with that kind of discipline.” But that’s not necessarily true. Some individuals may have willpower when it comes to food, but they may not have willpower when it comes to spending more money than they could afford, gossiping about others, or controlling their internet addiction.
- We Tend To Suffer: Because none of us have 100% willpower, we tend to suffer because of it. But there are always ways to manage it.
- Be a private investigator: Try to solve the problem. The first step to achieving your goal is to identify the cue, the behavior, and the rewards that are preventing you from crossing the finish line.
- Why Are You In The Environment? If you don’t have self-control when it comes to certain things, you don’t need to be in the environment. Why would you go to a bar as an alcoholic? Like I said, I’m not going to avoid my grandmother, and I can’t tell her to hide junk food in her own house, but what I can do is move once I become financially independent.
- Willpower Isn’t The Answer to Curing Bad Habits.
40-45% of the tasks we perform every day are just habits. If we had to think about every action, every thing we did every day, we would get little done and would more than likely feel a little nuts. Most habits are not an issue. They enable us to get to work, to take care of our families, and generally live life. However, there are just some habits that may be keeping us from realizing some of our weight loss, fitness, and financial goals. It’s a habit for me to eat healthy half the day, then go into my grandmother’s part of the house, converse with her, and eat bad.
If this isn’t the perfect example of “Grandmothers Make You Fat” I don’t know what is. I actually took this pic before I went in to see my doctor. She probably buys them Happy Meals and Everything. Look, they’re still drinking bottles. My grandmothers did the same thing with me lol.
(This was me facing the chicken challenge)
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