Daily Archives: November 5, 2011

Weight-Loss Willpower: It Doesn’t Stand a Chance

So we have seen how willpower is a physical entity and, like a bicep: it can only exert itself for so long before it gives out. It’s an extremely limited mental resource and it’s why diets based on calorie restriction and exercise don’t work. Not convinced: see herehttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703478704574612052322122442.html

Willpower-cartoon

So what can we do? WE could try this: Shawn Achor (a happiness activist) suggests we cultivate “activation energy”. He states that the key to creating good habits is ritual repeated practice until the actions become ingrained in your brains neural chemistry.  And the key to daily practice is to put you desired actions as close to the path of least resistance as possible.  Identify the time the choices the mental and physical effort they require and reduce it. This will help channelOverweight-woman-black-bra-and-pants the will power you have and make it work for you. For example, if coming home after work leaves you with a tired brain make sure you don’t have pizza lying around in the freezer or you will find it in the oven and then in your mouth without thinking. Achor would suggest that we make it easy by having the ingredients ready (chopped up, prepped sitting in a dish together) for you to cook easily and immediately when you come through the door. WE say, better still don’t; buy the pizza in the first place

But you already know this don’t you and if it was this straightforward you would be doing it already.  Let’s try a different tack.  Paleoworks states that “for a diet to be successful it has to minimise the role of willpower”. How are you going to do that?  You are going to eat Paleo and trust that this is different to anything you have done before.  Why? Because by removing the processed food, the sugar, the bad carbs, your hormonal response will stabilize allowing your body chemistry to operate freely and cleanly. You will find that your hunger is well and truly under control. What you eat and you are eating freely from good foods including healthy saturated fats will satisfy you. Your hunger will be sated. Get the balance right and you will feel full and complete after your meal and food will not be a constant thought rolling around your head. And I’m talking to those people who finish breakfast with the thought of what’s for lunch who cram are already unwrapping the next chocolate bar while still eating the first and whose every moment is filled with pressure and thoughts from food.

You will not need to rely on will power or distraction or activation energy or any of the arsenal of avoidance techniques created by well-meaning well-paid therapists. Why? Because for the first time in a long time you will be giving your body what it needs when it needs it.Happy-Family-Running

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