I couldn’t understand why after less than a week on a new eating program, I’d lose control and overeat to the point of physical discomfort. Then I’d feel guilty and resolve to start again the next day.

This was my second mistake.

With the beginning of every new diet I’d start my days strong and stick to my strict food plans for breakfast and lunch… but come late afternoon I’d start thinking about what snacks were in the pantry.

I’d power through by having an afternoon coffee (anything to quiet that pesky growling, empty stomach!), but by dinner time, I had a really hard time saying no to second helpings. And trying to turn down dessert?? Forget it!

By bedtime I’d blown my diet and I was disappointed in myself. I’d feel like a total failure. I was so frustrated.

I lived that day so many times. Over and over. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just stick to the plan! It seemed simple enough!

Here’s what I learned: willpower is a finite resource that renews daily. This means you have a lot of willpower in the morning, less by lunchtime, and by dinnertime it’s pretty much gone.

So if you are finding that it’s hard to resist temptation in the evenings, it’s not your fault. *Especially* if you’ve been on a restrictive diet!

Psychologically, we’re more inclined to overeat or binge if we’ve been restricting ourselves. Our bodies are designed to survive, so when you go too long without eating your body is sending you strong biological signals to take in energy at the next possible opportunity.

You may know this as having cravings. These cravings are your body’s way of trying to keep you from starving and you’re trying to fight them to lose weight. At some point, you just can’t fight it anymore and you give in.

It wasn’t my fault.

Our bodies have built in hunger and fullness cues that we can tune into and they naturally tell us when we have eaten enough. That is, if we haven’t silenced them with years of restrictive diet behavior.

Instead of depending on willpower, understand your current eating habits. Do you have a habit of mindlessly snacking? Do you reach for food when you’re sad… or bored? Being aware of the ways you’re currently using food to comfort yourself that has nothing to do with fueling your body is the first step to tuning into your body’s natural signals.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.