How can I increase my willpower?

Will Power Volition Concept
Lacking willpower is frequently given as a reason for failing to lose weight.

“I have no willpower”

If you think like this, you probably see willpower as a stable personality characteristic that you’re stuck with. Recent research challenges this view of willpower.

In their 2011 book “Willpower”, Baumeister and Tierney summarised research on what builds and what reduces willpower. They concluded that willpower can be seen as a form of mental energy. Modern life faces us with continual temptations of all kinds, not just food, so we are using willpower frequently during the course of a normal day just to keep focused on what we need to do.

What depletes willpower?

As you resist successive temptations your willpower gets depleted. This means that the more willpower you use up, the more likely you are to yield to the next temptation. It is as though we have a finite amount of willpower (like a tank of petrol) which gets depleted as we use it.

What replenishes willpower?

Willpower is replenished during sleep and by glucose. Eating helps. This puts dieters in a bind as they are trying not to eat what they want when they want.

Is this why I’m good in the mornings but hopeless in the evenings, when I can’t resist eating?


As you can see from Baumeister and Tierney’s work, the problem you have here is not that you lack willpower altogether, but that you are using your willpower up too fast each day. A satisfying and delicious breakfast can be the start to the day which fuels your willpower. With Appetite Retraining you do not skip breakfast or lunch, because skipping meals leads to more pressure to eat.

This moves right away from dietary restriction and from using external measures of what you should be eating. It teaches you to use your body’s natural signals to tell you what to eat and when and how much.

How do I resist temptation?

The widespread availability of tempting foods is what makes eating in the 21st century so different from any previous period in history. Now that we live in an environment saturated with food and food advertising, we are tempted to eat numerous times a day, whether we are hungry or not. Resisting temptation is made easier by having a regular routine for meals so that our energy supply is re-stocked and with it, our willpower. These meals don’t need to be large. In fact a small meal of food you love will do the trick.

How does Appetite Retraining help with willpower?

Appetite Retraining works on tuning in to your body to tell you when it needs to eat, what it desires to eat and when it has had enough. This minimises the willpower you will need to use for the rest of your life around eating. It offers real liberation from the grind of daily self-denial. To get there, you tune in to your body’s hunger and appetite.

With Appetite Retraining, you learn to tune in to your gut to know whether to eat the food that is tempting you right now or not. Using the Appetite Pendulum, you learn to tell whether you are hungry or not, instead of automatically reaching for the tempting food. If you are definitely hungry, you will be able to eat and enjoy the food and if not you will be able to leave it for now.

Turning away from tempting food when you’re not hungry may cause unease or slight anxiety. If it does, use one of the techniques in the free download, “Anxiety and how to Manage it”. With practice, choosing not to eat when you’re not hungry becomes much easier.

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