How is your WILLPOWER?

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How is your WILLPOWER?

13th Jan 2014

Can You Trust Your Willpower?

I have something to confess: My willpower is not as strong as I’d like it to be. My willpower is certainly not as strong as you’d expect, based on the common perceptions people have of Personal Trainers.

But there’s an explanation for this, which I’ll reveal:

If a family member opens a box of chocolates after dinner, it’s unlikely I’m going to stop at one. If I’m enjoying a beer with friends, it’s unlikely I’m going to stop at one. I could go on, but you get the idea. If the temptation is right there in front of me, it’s very hard to say no. Occasionally I can walk away without giving in, but more often than not, I will succumb.

This is a situation that everyone will have experienced at some point in their lives. Action A is what you wanted to do, Action B is what you actually did. If my family hadn’t opened the chocolates, I wouldn’t be thinking about chocolate. If I wasn’t at the pub, with the bar just metres away from me, I would obviously be somewhere else, probably not drinking beer.

Willpower, or self-control, can be a strong force, but we all have it in limited supply. Some may read this and think; ‘I have all the self-control in the world…it’s easy just don’t eat the chocolate’…and so on. But I believe that self-control will only get you so far.

Think of your willpower as a muscle. The more you use a muscle during a workout, the more it’s going to tire, so that by the end of your workout, it’s a lot less effective. The same is true for your willpower. The more you use it, and the more you rely on it to make the right choice, the more it will tire and the less effective it will get. Which then increases the likelihood of your self-control eventually giving up, and you can no longer resist temptation.

So what can you do?

If we can limit the time we spend around temptation, we can limit the need to rely on our willpower. Applying this to weight loss and healthy food choices, a simple technique to avoid temptation is:

If it’s not there, you can’t eat it.

In our homes, we have control over what food is in the fridge and cupboards. By taking away the temptation, you eliminate the need for a choice, sparing your willpower supply.