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Dr. Mark Hyman

Physician, author and co-founder of Canyon Ranch Resort and...

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Joy Bauer

Registered dietician and best-selling author

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Dr. Arthur Agatston

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Just read day 11's article about "willpower" and want to put in my two cents.

I don't think it's about "willpower" and I think using the word with dieters is a bad idea.

The better word is "discipline." Losing weight requires "discipline" which is different from "willpower".

One definition of discipline: "Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement."

I think THAT is a better characterization of a weight-loss method than "willpower".

In a weight-loss discipline, the dieter would say to herself, "My diet now consists of X, Y and Z. I will eat reasonable portions of healthy, whole foods. I will avoid hunger and temptation by eating small portions of healthy foods when I am hungry."

Instead of: "ooooh, I wish I wish I wish I could have another piece of pizza! I hate this diet I'm on!"

An example of a discipline is the piano, which I used to play fairly seriously. Learning/perfecting a musical instrument is a discipline.  It is something that you do every day with purpose and rigor. It is something that you do despite the fact that you'd rather nap or read. It becomes habit and becomes part of your mindset.

The discipline is practiced even when sick, to the greatest extent possible. It is practiced when circumstances change - vacation, new babies, etc. It is practiced despite what the world, the culture, friends and family are telling you is "normal" and what they need or want from you.

Thin people don't go around feeling hungry. They don't go around feeling deprived. They manage their food and activity differently from overweight people. What dieters need to do is learn to manage their food and activity and hunger like thin people do. Overweight people don't need to go around feeling deprived and hungry, and defeated when they mess up.

Shared by manitou on 5/23/08