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A Few Thoughts on Will Power

The old thinking for weight-loss was to simply use will power and “just say no” to temptation. There has been a great deal of research on the role of will power in changing any negative habit. Studies are showing that relying on so-called “will power” when confronted with temptation is an approach that likely leads to failure, because we rarely have as much will power as we think we do.  What does work is having a plan in place for how to succeed. The old expression “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is very true.  Will power and self-discipline are great tools for creating a plan.

A plan for what to eat and when to eat it requires the self-discipline to anticipate and be prepared.  A parent with a child would never dream of leaving home without anticipating his/her child’s needs for food, drink, appropriate clothing, etc. You probably already know the triggers that cause you to give into temptation: pushing yourself to the breaking point with hunger, stress, pleasure (sometimes we are having so much fun, we lose track of what we are eating), being too tired, too hot, too cold, etc.  Identify your triggers and the situations where they occur. Then, create a game plan for how to bypass the triggers.  Always have a healthy snack like Kay’s Naturals low-calorie high-protein snacks and cereals handy (all Kay’s products come in handy single-serving packets, ready for your purse, backpack, or back pocket).  Not being hungry when faced with temptation is the best strategy.  Again, will power and self-discipline will help you plan and strategize– before you are faced with the actual temptation.

Use will power to train yourself to adopt new habits. For example, start by buying the right foods and not buying the wrong foods.  This will then assist you in developing the habit eating the right foods. It will also go a long way in avoiding situations where you lose self-control.  If all-you-can-eat buffets are too tempting, use will power to stay away from them.  Once you’re inside, it will be much harder to expect will power to control your appetite.  Try not to go grocery shopping when hungry, but if it cannot be avoided, use will power to eat a quick high protein snack with fiber before you start shopping. When you go to restaurants, focus your ordering on baked fish or sea foods and salads or the combination of the two; stay away from appetizers, fried foods, and large servings.

One of the chief causes of overeating is actually dehydration. Use will power and self-discipline to get the recommended 64 oz or about 3-4 16 oz bottles of water every day. Proper hydration goes a long way in maintaining stamina in our hectic world.

Finally, remember the simple advice often given in 12-step programs for getting the upper hand over bad habits: HALT.  Use self-discipline and will power to avoid getting too

Hungry

Angry

Lonely or

Tired

because these four things are triggers for almost all of us to fall back on bad habits.

If you’d like to read more on the subject of will power, check out this article from Web MD: Why Will Power Often Fails.

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