More than half of all dieters report giving up because they lacked the necessary willpower to stick with it.
Now, new research reveals proven ways to boost your willpower to help you have the resolve you need to keep your diet on track.
“Should I eat oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?” “Which restaurant will I go to for lunch?” “Do I want the turkey sandwich or soup—maybe both?” “Tall or grande latte?” “What can I make for dinner?“ “Should I order out?” “I really want a glass of wine—or do I?” “Rice or pasta?”…and so on.
We’re all faced with 200 or more food-related decisions every day. For most of us, making the best choice isn’t our first choice and with high-calorie trigger foods readily available, researchers are looking at behavioral factors that help boost willpower and self-control.
The more food-related decisions we make, the more chance there is to derail your diet. New research shows that willpower or self-control is a limited resource, and once depleted, you’ll just revert to the easiest choice, which is not usually the healthy choice.
It’s no surprise that more than 50% of dieters say that they failed to lose weight due to a lack of willpower. Individuals who are thinner and have healthier diets don’t have more willpower; they just manage their resource better by creating healthy habits and an environment that helps make the healthy choice their first choice. While willpower is a precious commodity, researchers are finding ways you can help conserve and boost your willpower.
5 Proven Ways to Boost Your Willpower
1. Avoid “addictive” foods
One of the best ways to keep your ironclad willpower from turning to tin is to avoid foods that require the most willpower to not eat. These include your personal “trigger” foods and those that combine sugar and fat and salt. For a complete list, read this. Baked goods like cake, cookies and donuts; salty snacks; fries; chocolate and candy. Even looking at these choices will suck up your self-control; so don’t even look at them.
2. Limit junk foods and sugar-sweetened beverages
Self-control is highly regulated by blood sugar levels. New research shows that when blood sugar levels plummet, so too does self-control. To keep energy and blood sugar levels stable, eat regular meals, avoid sugary treats and enjoy your carbohydrates with protein, to help temper the blood sugar response of carbohydrate-rich foods.
3. Skip TV ads
Research shows that TV viewing is independently linked to being overweight because the food and beverage advertising makes us subconsciously crave more food, even if we aren’t hungry. Research consistently shows that if you watch more than two hours a day of television, you will eat more calories and be at increased risk for being overweight compared to those who spend less time in front of the screen.
4. Keep variety in check
There’s a reason why people eat so much at buffets: The more variety of foods, flavors and textures you have to choose from, the more you’ll eat. Making a grocery list, sticking to it and planning your meals and snacks every day will eliminate unnecessary food choices, making your willpower stronger. A great option to help eliminate extra choices is to use calorie-controlled meal plans like ours.
5. Make one change at a time
One way researchers suggest to conserve your daily willpower is to focus on only one positive diet behavior at a time, until that behavior becomes an automatic response. Examples: “My snacks will be wholesome choices like fruits, veggies and nuts and not junk foods like candy, sweets and soda.”