Where did your willpower go?

I would like to share a story that touched me deeply.

One of my patients is a young adult who had an incident during childhood that resulted in damage to his brain. With exercise, diet, an appetite suppressant and mind-body medicine, he is maintaining a 20-25 lb weight loss for 2-3 years.

But he has regained 20 lbs of a 42 pound weight loss.

We got to talking recently and he said this, “I need willpower and discipline. But I have a temper and it takes all my willpower to control my temper. So all I am left with is discipline to control my eating.”

And then he started sharing about the event that resulted in the brain damage. He talked about the doctors, tests, treatments, etc. He shared his understandable frustration. He is able to recognize that he has some feelings including anger directed at the event.

Perhaps his “temper” is nothing more than those unappreciated feelings that get stirred up when something happens that reminds him how his life was forever changed. And so, I gave him some space to allow for some of those feelings. Maybe that will free up some of his willpower that he has used to hold the feelings inside. Maybe the equation that every pound is a feeling has some truth to it.

This is another story that illustrates that we eat over what’s eating us, we face our stuff so we don’t stuff our face and peace of mind protects from piece of cake. Another take away from this story is how wisdom may come from the least expected sources.