Have you ever heard a pastry call your name? You know like when you are minding your own business, and then there it is, all sweet and pretty and you can hear it calling to you. You try to turn away and walk the other direction, but it gets louder, calling for you like a lost friend. This is when it takes willpower to resist that tempting treat.
Sometimes you just can’t resist and before you know it, you have stuffed the entire sweet pasty into your mouth, licking your fingers to get the last bite. Afterwards, you might feel guilty and wonder where the heck all that willpower took off to.
Why is our self-control so strong at times and weak at others. Contrary to what you may have come to believe, willpower is not dependent on psychological strength alone. Many physical factors play a role in our ability to summon up the willpower to resist things. Whether it be foods we eat or money we spend impulsively, physiological factors such as brain chemistry and hormones can interfere with our willpower.
Therefore stop beating yourself up, for not having the willpower to resist something that tastes good. There are ways to reinforce your willpower so it will be ready when you need it.
You see, the truth is, each of us only has a certain amount of self-control. That’s right, it is not endless. If you try to exert it in too many areas at once, you will run out and end up standing there at the doughnut box, cramming doughnuts into your mouth.
Think of willpower like the gas in your car. Each time you resist something tempting you use some of your willpower gas up. The more things you are forced to resist the emptier your tank becomes. The best thing to do is to focus your willpower where it will work the best for you.
In order to make it easier to resist sweet foods, keep your blood sugar levels even. You can easily do this by eating five meals a day, smaller amounts or nutrient rich foods, which will keep your blood sugar from dipping and causing you to reach for something sweet.
Another important thing to remember in order to keep your willpower in check is to be careful of over dieting. Eating too little not only depletes glucose levels, it also slows the production of leptin, a hormone made by fat cells to regulate your appetite. If these levels go to low or plummet too fast, your appetite will increase and bring on binging.
Getting enough sleep is also a principal factor in maintaining your willpower. Research shows that getting less than six hours of sleep decreases decision-making and appetite. Sleep deprivation is linked to obesity. The levels of the hormone ghrelin increase when you don’t get enough sleep and this hormone can bring on a hunger and craving that you’ll probably find nearly impossible to resist.
That’s why living healthy by eating foods that have sound nutritional value and getting an adequate amount of shut-eye is so important. Regular exercise also plays an important role in holding down your hunger so that you make wise choices for your meals.
Sometimes when you feel your willpower slump, a nice walk will help you to get fortified again. The physical activity helps to take your mind off the temptation and the endorphins from exercising give you an excited and energetic feeling that usually replaces the need to binge. If however, you still want something to eat, try to choose something more nutritious, but if you have your eye on something sweet, go ahead and indulge and be done with it.
Fitness4Her is a diet that is based on healthy eating spread over five meals a day instead of two. Portion control and a balanced diet are the keys to reducing your caloric intake without having to constantly count calories. Plus by making sure you eat a balanced diet, you won’t have to be afraid that you aren’t getting all the vitamins and nutrients that you need.
The second part of the program is the exercise. My 30 Minutes To A New You Exercise Plan advocates aerobic activity three days a week. That’s any activity that raises your heart rate. It can be as simple as walking to as complicated as mountain climbing. What’s important is that you keep your body moving daily.
Even if your job requires you to live a sedentary life while at work, regular exercise will help to alleviate the effects of sitting in front of a computer all day. Plus it helps to break up the boredom of sitting still for long hours at a time.
My program alternates each day from cardio to weight training or resistance training. If you check the Member’s Exercise section you will find exercise routines from my program. Each routine is designed to last for at least 30 minutes and that’s all it takes to get in shape and stay fit.
The third part of the program is the journal. I believe that maintaining a fitness journal is a chief factor in your weight loss endeavor. All three of these areas of my program play a crucial part in helping to preserve your willpower.
As stated above, sleep is crucial to your cognitive abilities but also plays a big part in your overall health. For women especially, a lack of sleep can cause many health problems.
The fact that you are reading this article is proof that you are ready to make changes in your life and your health. Be kind to yourself, celebrate life, make a plan to eat healthy, find time for exercise and allow yourself time for affirmations daily.
If you are not familiar with the benefit of affirmations, read my blogs in the Affirmations section. They give you the positive self talk that you need to accomplish your goals, lead a happier life and prepare yourself for the challenges of the day.
When it comes to weight loss, you’ll need to use your willpower wisely. If you turn down too many things, you might run out of power and eat something even worse. For best results, follow the advice above, eat healthy, get plenty of exercise and confess to your fitness journal all of your temptations.
Tell us about your own weight loss efforts by leaving a comment below:
~ Karen Ficarelli
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