In their book ‘ Willpower, Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength’ Roy Baumeister and John Tierney bring together a vast amount of information gleaned from thousands of psychological test and surveys.
At universities around the globe, wherever a group of students have been studying psychology it is highly likely that they have – usually unknowingly – being participants in an experiment to test out theories relating to willpower.
Indeed it has been one of the most widely researched topics on the planet in the last 20 years and what they discovered has revolutionized our approach to understanding ‘will power’.
When I first read this remarkable book I was instantly excited by the amount of subjects I have been involved with and experiences I have had which would have been enormously enhanced and clarified if I had understood them from the point of view of willpower.
I have since re-read this book several times and each time I understand more and more of what they are getting at and how useful this knowledge can be for one of our greatest challenges in the western world, the epidemic of obesity and diabetes and the problems we have with weight loss and dieting.
If we narrow it down to our own lives we can see that this would be especially important in dieting… willpower or the lack of it… makes or breaks the success factor in every single person’s resolve to lose weight.
So – ‘what is willpower? Their study found that will power is directly linked to Blood Glucose levels available in your brain.
What’s more they found that we wake up with a supply of willpower to last us through the day and it is a finite amount.
Yes, we use it up and then it needs to be replenished by sleep and brain chemistry.
They have come to the conclusion that willpower is exertion not outcome, so we use up willpower on any decision or mental resistance and on things we don’t really want to do.
So if you have set your weight loss goals unrealistically high, or decided never ever to eat chocolate again, then you have a hard day at the office where you used up most – if not all of your willpower energy for that day – then you are unlikely to be able to resist a bar when you stop for gas on the way home.
If you are feeling grumpy it’s a sign of depletion and you are much more likely to over eat, drink, spend money. A portion of PROTEIN at that time will help to boost your blood sugar and stabilize your willpower.
Don’t reach for the quick fix sugar hit.. it won’t reach willpower after that initial feel good rush… and then later you feel bad.
So you can see how important including protein into any weight loss or dieting regime is likely to be.
In the next article I will tell you some of the amazing research that Baumeister and Tierney found and conducted to come to their conclusions.
Jude Cresswell has over 25 years experience in the natural health field and has recently expanded into the ‘natural’ diet and weight loss arena, conducting in depth research into current ideas about food regimes, supplementation and food group restriction.
She will be launching a new ‘weight’ focused blog shortly, entitled ‘How Many People Want’ (to loose weight). For her main health site please go to http://ift.tt/1jimV2u