Saturday, 7 July 2012

Will Power: my ass

The idea is that people can't resist eating too much because of a lack of will power, what they need is will power and they will just stop eating and lose weight.

I just don't buy it. Firstly let's look at the typical thin person, do you you find them with a strained face saying "must resist" as they reach out zombie like towards a cake? Personally, I don't think people who maintain the correct weight are exercising much will power at all when it comes to these temptations. If on the other hand you love food or you use food at a crutch and you suddenly decide to reduce the amount you eat or avoid all the treats, your mind may well be screaming at you to eat. So what do you do?

Well I think the best thing is to make yourself like the thin person, take the temptation out of the equation. There are several ways to do this I can think of and/or have read about:
  • Avoid temptation: don't buy the snacks if you really can't resist indulging
  • Find better alternatives: I just realised that I really love a fruit salad, it is tasty, sweet, low calorie and full of vitamins and a big one takes a while to eat so you feel like you actually had something
  • Get help: if you use food as a crutch it suggests there is a bigger problem. I'd say tackling that is a prerequisite to any success. If you find food is the only thing to dull the pain and bring some joy in your life then it is hard to expect any amount of will power to make a difference.
  • Keep busy, I find that if I have some other goals to work on in the evenings for example I forget about food.
  • Think about timing, I can handle not having a big breakfast without a problem but by lunch time I fancy something decent to eat, rather than fight it I just have a decent sized meal. I then manage that by the choice of what I have in the evening when my options are more limited and I know I can find more distractions than in my lunch hour. It is much easier to be "good" in the evening, at least for me.
  • Make things easy for yourself. If you hate getting up early it would be stupid to start an early morning regime, perhaps your lunch times are boring anyway, problem solved.
Having said all this there are bound to be things that are hard work and I am not suggesting that you avoid everything difficult but when it comes to temptation then try to work around it. When it comes to finding the will power to push yourself at the gym that is another story, in that instance you need to really latch on to your motivating feelings and let them pull you. Without those feelings it will be very hard indeed.

For me so far I think my key overall tips are:
  • Monitor yourself, a blog like this is good and can be private if you want. It makes you give some thought to how things are going. If things are not working out it also makes you address it as you try and write about it. The trackers I use are also good as they create nice graphs of progress etc and will highlight anything you are doing that is really making your life hard (like a food with more kcal than expected)
  • Find motivation, these are the micro-goals or the small things you can look forward to doing that give motivation RIGHT NOW. And the longer term motivation of knowing you are moving in the right direction.
  • Isolate yourself from temptations and avoid them at all costs, when you really can't resist, manage it.
  • Don't beat yourself up

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