As you might know, I host a corporate wellness program and our first workshop was, “How to Make Change Stick.” A common pitfall my clients face is trying to use willpower to stay away from cookies, a second glass of wine or getting their butts to yoga.
The workshop content was inspired by the enlightening book, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. I’m a huge geek when it comes to the psychology of ‘why’ we do the things we do and this book gives insight on on how our minds work.
Here’s the deal…
Willpower is an exhaustible resource so using it as the catalyst for behavior change will starts a vicious cycle of self-loathing, guilt and the dreaded backlash of emotional eating yet another failed diet.
Can you relate?
You stick with your ‘diet’ through lunch. Then 4pm hits and you’re jonesing for your daily latte or the bag of Hershey kisses you keep for emergencies.
You’re able to stick to your guns, drink a glass of water and opt for a bag of baked chips from the vending machine (they’re only 120 calories, right?). But let’s be honest they are bland and unsatisfying.
So you’ve limited yourself from what you are really want and more importantly what your body and mind really need. Fuel and nourishment.
The long day continues and you give into the decadent brownies in the break room or the ones you made for the kids last night. Only to feel guilty and ashamed for giving in, yet again.
You already blew it so you tailspin back into old habits. You skip your yoga class so you can veg out on the couch watching Jane the Virgin or on the flip side you punish yourself by doing an insanity video.
First of all – STOP DIETING! It’s sabotaging your happiness, self-esteem and your weight loss success.
Then the next time you slip up, use it an opportunity to reflect on ‘why’ you veered off course to set yourself up for success next time.
Did you skip breakfast and only eat a salad for lunch? Do you only get 4 hours of sleep last night because your little ones were up? Are you stressed because you have an important deadline due tomorrow?
The best part, you can then decide how you are doing to do it differently next time. This doesn’t take a lot of time but some forward thinking.
Action Steps to Conquer Willpower and Set Yourself Up for Success:
- Reflect on where the wheels came off. Were you depriving yourself throughout the day? Focus on nutrient dense foods that support your energy, happiness and weight loss goals like the ones in the Happy Body Starter Kit (get it it’s free).
- Keep energy boosting foods (green smoothies, green tea, nuts/nut butters, fruits, and Ezekiel bread) at the house for sleepless nights and instead of cleaning the house while I kids sleep take a nap.
- Address the stress of a work deadline by going for a brisk walk, doing simple floor stretches to relieve your neck, shoulders and hips, taking 10 deep breaths, and focusing on comfort foods that support your energy (baked sweet potato topped with Amy’s Brand vegetarian chill) vs. bog it down (pizza and breadsticks.)
*Side Note: Full disclosure, I baked cookies and brownies this past week. I have no trouble resisting them throughout the day but at night time, it’s game on. I cut the brownies into 1 inch pieces and put them in the freezer and gave the cookies to my in-laws.
Now I want to hear from you. Share your insights and action steps in the comments section below.