If you’ve ever uttered the words, “I will not eat [insert yummy food you have deemed evil here] anymore,” then you’re no stranger to using the concept of willpower to modify your eating habits. Sure, you can stick to it for a few days, maybe even weeks or months — but eventually, you’re going to get fixated on how much you miss that food and it will be all you can think about. Or you’re going to encounter it at a party and have a weak moment and stuff a dozen of them in your mouth.
“The concept of getting thin by willpower is tough and doesn’t work,” says Felicia Romero, who has more than 15 years of experience as a fitness entrepreneur and trainer and who joined her sister, Antonia, on season two of Fit to Fat to Fit on Lifetime. “Our brain sometimes lets us down because food restrictions, deprivation diets and imbalances with blood sugar can leave our willpower powerless.”
In reality, our environment — such as social factors, our workplace, the treats your significant other brings home from the grocery store — helps shape our eating habits and greatly contributes to our ability to lose weight. Social gatherings or dinners out can lead to overeating and overconsumption of alcohol, which can throw us off our routine and make us forget about our goals. We are surrounded by influencers every day, whether we recognize them or not.
“Willpower alone doesn’t give you the tools necessary to achieve your fitness goals,” says Romero, who hosts the Felicia Romero Classic, which is an NPC national qualifier each November, and holds five pro wins herself. “Having a plan, setting goals and having accountability go far beyond sheer willpower.
Romero names some of her favorite kitchen hacks for ensuring your environment helps — not hinders — your goals:
“Preparation is key in anything we do in life, but consistency is king,” Romero says. “Without consistency, we will never be able to truly change our lives. The details really come from the day-to-day routine and habits, so make sure they are healthy ones.”