Free will and eating are not necessarily incompatible even when they seem to be. For the most part, the amount we eat, when we get hungry, are beyond our normal control. It is only when we are trying to "lose weight" that how much we eat and when becomes an issue and we try to bring this instinct under our direct control that we experience this difficulty, long term. The regulation of eating is an instinct, always has been and likely always will be. It is outside of our control, outside of free will, and in that zone that we can only influence. There in lies the problem. And yet we may think we can control it, yet few with a weight issue can control it. Many people say we should be able to control it, but that is a fiction, a collective fiction.
Is there any doubt about the human's inability to control our intake of food? Just look around at all the overweight people. I doubt that anyone wants to be overweight. They are eating beyond there needs, but do not have the ability to control their eating. This can occur by desiring a specific food, or enjoy the feeling that sugar, insulin, or something else brings, just as the alcoholic enjoys the feeling that alcohol brings, at least in the early days of drinking. There was something in our early days of overeating that we liked about overeating. We may no longer enjoy it the same way, or we do, but the weight is a problem. Many of us still enjoy the food, it may be our only enjoyment left, but we need to give up the food for health reasons. We may just enjoy food. In fact, it may be our only enjoyment.
So we have arrived at this point in time, and need to understand that we have pull toward food as it does something for us physiologically that we like psychologically, that we want, and at the same time adds weight to us. So now what about that free will? we have one factor pulling us toward the food, and reason against. Instinct vs reason, which is going to win long term? This instinct lies outside of our free will zone, outside of our absolute control and only in the zone that we have influence. Our epigenetic switch has been flicked to eating to much. We need to learn to live with that.
For some of us, food is and was our only pleasure. Movement is just not comfortable, and we do not enjoy movement. The exercise fanatics think that it will become enjoyable, but that may happen to them but not to all. They may not get the pleasure from food that we do, they get pleasure from exercise, which I (we) do not. Is it that simple. Was the source of pleasure trained in, in our youth? I expect so.
So now we obese and overweight inclined people need to give up food as a source of pleasure, and get some exercise, and hopefully find a new source of pleasure within our control. Knowing that the rational mind is all we control, and we have an instinct to learn, perhaps we can utilize this as a source of pleasure. Our free will and that which we have absolute control over seam to be the same zones. Very small, and very specific. But not as big as many think, nor as sure of control. If we have no control, we can have no free will, for these two are directly related. Once we get beyond making the decision to move, we progress beyond the area that we have free will over, beyond the are that we have control over.
Three frogs are sitting on a log. One frog decides to jump off. How many frogs are left on the log? 3 Decision is not action. We have free will to the decision, not of the action of jumping. That depends on the body cooperating with our will to jump. With food we may not get that cooperation, the body instinct want what it wants. All we can do is take ourselves away from any source of food. But that too requires the cooperation of the body; if we are tired, have pains, or what ever, we may not get that cooperation.
Now we need to swim upstream, against the wrong "collective beliefs" of our culture, namely, that we should be able to use willpower to control our eating. If it were that simple. Eating is instinct/epigenetically driven. It is the collective belief that is wrong. What we can control is the opportunity to eat, not the desire. This must be learned and understood for recovery. Removal of one more mind parasite.
What do I know? no joy there. In the end we all just die anyway.