Have you ever thought to yourself ‘If only I had more willpower, then I could be healthy and lose weight?’ You are not alone. As nutritionists, we talk to many people who assume they are weak and lacking in willpower. That’s why they haven’t been able to stop going to Chick-fil-A after work or eat just one handful of mixed nuts instead of half the container. To boost willpower, we need to start with the understanding that willpower is an unreliable resource affected by the number of decisions we’ve made, temptations we face, and even the mood we are in.
Why willpower runs out:
Willpower can easily be overused and depleted if we aren’t careful. Think of willpower as a gas tank in a car. Maintaining steady blood-sugar levels by eating well-balanced meals and snacks regularly (aka keeping it full of quality fuel), keeps our willpower levels high. Also setting up healthier environments and habits can help us rely less on willpower and more on cruise control. Without steady fuel and good habits in place, we can quickly burn through our “tank of willpower” before noon.
For instance, if someone arrives to work without eating breakfast and finds themselves at a meeting with free biscuits, they are more likely to grab the free food. On the flip side, another coworker who routinely eats a Well-Balanced breakfast consisting of an egg sandwich and an apple is less likely to feel tempted by the same biscuits.
How to boost your willpower:
Keep your willpower tank full by saving your willpower for emergencies, rather than everyday moments. The 3 steps to keeping your tank full are:
- Setting up cruise control: creating healthy attainable habits and not relying on willpower alone to achieve your goals.
- Selecting high-quality fuel: including a positive self-image and attitude, as well as, incorporating proper nutrition at regular meals.
- Avoiding rough roads: avoiding temptation when possible and putting strategies in place that help you manage the situation when temptation might arise.
Food for thought:
Sometimes willpower is the tool you need in the moment. More often, we need to find other ways to make healthy choices. Are you relying too much on willpower? Take this quiz to find out where you stand with willpower and get additional strategies for making the healthier choice more often.
For additional support and personalized wellness plans, please contact us 🙂