Thursday, March 5, 2009

Finite Willpower

I have switched back to working out in the morning. I found that when I put it off until later... I tend to put it off entirely!

I just didn’t have any willpower to workout at the end of the day.

Do you ever struggle with your willpower?

Have you ever been "really good" all day, just to get home and eat everything you see?

Over the years I have learned that weight loss is not about having tons of self-control; it’s about having it at the right times!

I don't have more willpower than anyone else. I just know how to use it more effectively!
You see, willpower is a finite resource. You only have so much. You really need to budget it in order to be successful.

Let's say you spend most of your day resisting the urge to scream at an idiot at work.

Whenever you suppress an urge - you "burn off" your willpower.

As the day progresses your ability to resist temptation diminishes. Next thing you know, you were able to keep your cool, but the snack machine is now a Snicker's bar lighter.

So how do you reserve your willpower for your weight loss without snapping at the wrong moment?

First - Figure out what are you using your willpower on.

Did you spent all day avoiding the box of donuts in the breakroom?
Did you give up something for Lent and now find yourself thinking about it all the time?

Once you know where your "weak spots" are you can take steps to save your willpower.

Second - Eat Something!
Willpower is an effort, and like any other effort of the body it is fueled by your blood sugar. Be sure to eat balanced meals at regular intervals and have small healthy snacks handy to maintain your blood sugar level.

Third - Think of the BIG picture.
Your brain only focuses on the instant satisfaction of now. It wants to eat that 800 calorie slice of turtle cheesecake right in front of you.

It doesn't think about wearing a bathing suit in 4 months.

Whenever temptation rears it's ugly head - remind yourself of your long term goals. If your desire to succeed is powerful enough, you can crush a craving.

Strongly envision yourself as the healthy person you know you can be! Does that cheesecake help you reach that goal? You can do this!!!

Fourth - Take Baby Steps.
Change is hard. You have to use a lot of willpower to start a new healthy life. Even if what you are doing is better for yourself, your stubborn brain only knows the old unhealthy way. That's the way it's always been and that is the way it will try to keep things.

It is best to slowly do new things. If you jump in and try to quit smoking, start exercising, and eating healthy all at once... you might make it a few days before your brain goes, "THIS IS WRONG!!!" and you end up chain smoking while ordering at the McDonald's drive-thru.

You need to unlearn your bad old ways a sneak in some new good ways little by little.

You need to create a healthier routine you can stick with that makes your brain feel like things are the same as before. You might need to break things into smaller tasks in order to make them a habit.

I wish you the best as you make healthy choices and bolster your willpower! Think of the healthy person you will be in the future, and let that person lead the way!

Remember, as long as you continue to live healthy, eventually you will be healthy!!