We all have been there: We have really good intensions, set goals, know what to eat and then for various reason, we just don't have the will power to stay on track. Then the gilt sets in and worst cast: you give up. I see it all the time: a lot of clients blame a lack of self-control for their failure to reach their feel-great weight. However, don't ever believe that you have inherited the low willpower gene, never give up. Willpower can be strengthened with proper training, just like lifting weights can strengthening your muscles. I want to give you the some good exercises for your brain to built up your willpower.
Are you ready for the willpower workout? Below are easy to follow mental practices that will help improve decision-making, conquer cravings, and keep your diet on track.
TAKE SMALL STEPS! Too many changes at once are overwhelming and too much to handle for your body. Ironically, you can start off your diet by "biting off more than you can chew". You don’t need to completely change everything about your eating habits overnight, as that’s almost always a surefire way to fail. Instead, take small steps. Get used to it and improve consistently. For example: Start by cutting soda completely out of your diet, or alcohol. From there, make sure you’re eating fruits and vegetables with every meal, or something similar. The point is to break your sometimes overwhelming goal into attainable steps.
LEARN HOW TO COOK! If you want to cut back on eating fast food, calorie-heavy takeout, or the junk food at your local convenience store, start to improve your cooking skills. Teach yourself to make your favorite foods and expand your skills from there. It is a very creative way to get healthy and included family and friends. You’ll end up saving money, learning something new, and perhaps even cultivating a new hobby. You’ll also have a better idea of what you’re eating, making calories and macros easier to track.
LEARN HOW TO GROGERY SHOP! If you’re going to learn how to cook, you need to learn how to shop. There’s more to it than just walking thru the supermarket and buying food what you see first or knocking items off your shopping list.
First important thing: don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll end up acting on those feelings and buying things you didn’t intend to. Have a snack or meal before hitting the store. Another important piece of advice: Stay out of the aisles. Grocery stores are laid out in a very specific manner, and most of the foods you should be avoiding are located in the aisles. Stick to the store’s perimeter for the best options.
LEARN TO PORTION! Learning to shop and cook is one thing — it gives you a sense of control over what and when you’re eating, which is great. But you’ll run up against one more obstacle: How much you’re eating. Start measuring and portion your meals. This essentially amounts to calorie counting, which a lot of people despise. However, it does work. Start by getting a food scale, some Ziploc bags, and some containers to sort and portion your meals.
PLAN AND BE PREPARED! One trick you can add to your arsenal is to plan and prepare your meals well in advance — alternatively, you can eat the same thing every day if you’re not one for variety, too. This way, you’re not left scouring the pantry or fridge looking for something to eat. You know, and have known for days, exactly what you’re going to have for dinner or for a snack. And because you planned it (or simply like eating the same things), you already have what you need. A food journal is very helpful. Keep it up, even if the automaticity of food plan kicked in!
REFRAME YOUR THINKING: FOOD IS ONLY FUEL! In order to truly change your relationship with food, you need to change how you thing about it. Be honest to yourself, what is food from a purely biological standpoint? You know it and I know it: simply refueling your body. You need resources, and food and drink deliver them in the form of vitamins, minerals, fats, and calories. Unfortunately, most of us don’t think of eating in this way. It’s a social event and something we look forward to. Always think about what you get in return by eating that food. It is like an investment in your health.
But if you can think of eating as fueling your body rather than comforting yourself, and thus make different choices regarding the types of foods you’re consuming, you can make better decisions.
KEEP YOUR GOALS IN MIND! Try to keep your long-term goals in mind when making decisions regarding your diet. Yes, you’re going to want to eat an entire cake or pizza from time to time. But it’s not going to serve you in the long run, and for that reason, you should opt for more sensible options. Think about your goals before every meal.
All the best on strengthening your will power and reaching your healthy goals.
Your Health Coach Angela