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Willpower Has Nothing to Do with It: Medical Weight Loss with Semaglutide & Tirzepatide

Honesty time: Have you ever looked at someone who is obese and thought to yourself, "That person lacks the willpower to eat less and exercise." Almost declaring them less than or deserving of their condition? You are not alone in this thought, but let me be very clear: you are wrong.

What is Willpower?

According to the American Psychological Association, willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. (APA, 2012). We can further define this as overriding unwanted thoughts, feelings, or impulses. In this regard, it seems reasonable to connect an inability to overcome the temptation of overeating to a person's willpower. But willpower depletes when conditions diminish. Studies show that if a person feels persistently bombarded with choices and stress, they will eventually break down and succumb to temptation. So yes, your mother was right when she warned you about hanging out with those friends she saw as bad influences.

If willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations and impulses in order to achieve long-term goals, it involves the capacity to override an unwanted thought, feeling, or impulse, and is often likened to a muscle that can be strengthened with use but also fatigured. While willpower can play a role in many aspects of life like diet and exercise, it's important to understand that it is not the sole factor determining body weight.

Understanding Factors of Willpower

  • Mental Resource: Willpower is often conceptualized as a mental resource that can be depleted. When one exerts self control in one area, you might temporarily have less of it for other tasks — a phenomenon known as "ego depletion."
  • Influence of External Factors: External factors such as stress, lack of sleep, or even the presence of temptations can affect the strength of willpower.
  • Variability: Individual levels of willpower can vary based on personality, upbringing, or even genetic factors.

Willpower & Weight Loss

  • Complexity of Weight Management: Weight management is influence by a complex mix of genetics, metabolism, hormonal controls, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. Willpower is just one piece of this intricate puzzle.
  • Biological Factors: Biological mechanisms, like hormones that regulate hunger and satiety (e.g., leptin and ghrelin) can overpower willpower. For instance, if someone is biologically driven to feel extremely hungry, resisting the urge to eat requires more than just willpower.
  • Environmental Influences: The food environment, including availability of and access to different types of food, advertising, and social eating norms, plays a significant role. These environmental factors can make healthy eating choices more challenging, regardless of an individual's strength of will.
  • Psychological Aspects: Emotional states and psychological conditions can affect eating habits. Stress, anxiety, and emotional distress can lead to eating behaviors that are difficult to control through willpower alone.
  • Socioeconomic Factors: Factors like income, education, and neighborhood characteristics can influence dietary choices and opportunities for physical activity, often independent of an individual's willpower.
  • Misconception of Simplicity: The oversimplification of weight issues as merely a lack of self control ignores the multifaceted nature of obesity and weight gain. This perspective can lead to stigma and misunderstanding.

In summary, while sheer will can contribute to making healthier choices, it's not even close to the sole determinant of an individual's weight. Acknowledging the broader range of factors involved in weight management is crucial for developing more effective and compassionate approaches to addressing obesity and promoting overall health.

It's More Than Just Willpower

When willpower is overcome by all the factors discussed above, some people experience shame for the inability to control their cravings, hunger, and weight. Shame is the single most destructive experience for those who struggle with the idea that they are not their ideal weight. With the help of a holistic medically managed weight program, GLP-1 medications, and integrated mental health programming, millions of people can now achieve their ideal, healthy weight. More importantly, they can now maintain it throughout their life.

If you or someone close to you struggles with their weight, call 801-851-5554 today or email to set up a free consultation with a healthcare professional and discuss the right treatment plan for you.

By Courtney Lipscomb
Marketing Manager at
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