So easy to say, so incredibly difficult to do. Chocolate, crossiants, hot chips, a bottle of red wine, another bottle of red wine, all have one thing in common- they put our willpower to the test. Of course other items besides food can challenge our self control (such as online shopping!!), however lets discuss food for the time being. Read on to learn 7 scientific ways to avoid the lure or pull of foods that are bad for our body and mind.
1. Ditch Negative Deprivation
Approaching willpower as a type of deprivation will more often than not set you up for failure. Psychologist's recommend that we do not think of self-control as a punishment, rather as a new journey that we are embarking on. You have to be keep motivated to exert self control, therefore if you consistently tell yourself that you cannot have something, you will lose that motivation quickly. Try your best to give your new diet a postive spin, that is, think of temptations as challenges and try to bring out the competiveness in yourself. Instead of upsetting yourself by consistently thinking about what you cannot eat, get creative by thinking of healthier but still tasty foods you can replace the bad foods with. For example, ditch the ice-cream and focus on all the amazingly varied and naturally sweet fruit that you can consume instead.
2. Feed your body & your brain
Eat regularly! A recent study revealed that patterns of poor self-control are often directly linked to a decrease in blood-glucose levels. Glucose is needed to fuel brain activity and function, thefore when you are hungry, tired or stressed (all behaviours which reduce glucose levels), you are less able to resist temptation. Eat small, protein-rich meals regularly to keep your glucose levels high and temptation low.
3. Divert your focus
It sounds funny to say that to stay focused on your goal, you need to get a little unfocused, but its true! Psychologist's describe this as an out-of-sight out-of-mind idea. If you find yourself slipping into temptation, take yourself out of the tempting environment and participate in a completely unrelated activity. Remove yourself from the temptation by calling a friend, going for a brief walk, leaving the kitchen, writing your thoughts down. Chances are that you will become so engrossed in the new activity you are doing that the previous temptation will gradually leave your mind.
4. Get chatty with yourself
Talk to yourself often, as this can boost your self-esteem and therefore increase self-control. Why not tell yourself everyday that you are going to eat healthily and avoid certain foods. This can help to control your behaviour and cease impulsive eating. Being postive with yourself can lead to increased motivation and determination to suceed.
5. Take yourself away from temptation
If you love to drink cocktails/wine/spirits, don't go to a bar. If you are craving hot chips, don't swing by a Red Rooster after work. If you have a love affair with chocolate, don't go with your friends to Max Brenner. You can still be social, just be social at a restaurant where you know you can order a healthy, fresh salad with dressing on the side (or grilled chicken, grilled fish, a clear soup, the list goes on!). Use your health plan as an excuse to cook healthy meals and have friends/family over to your house, so you are in charge of what you consume.
6. Recruit Supporters
You are much more likely to stick to a goal if you have someone in your life who holds you accountable towards achieving that goal. The more people you tell about your goal, the better! Motivation and determination will only get you so far. When you embark on a new goal or ambition, tell everyone you are close to, as they will be actively interested in seeing you suceed. In addition, it greatly helps our self-control and self-esteem to receive an abundance of support and advice.
7. Visualise yourself Suceeding
How many times have we made a goal for ourselves and then gotten lost in the moment and forgot about the bigger picture? Possibly almost everyone's new years resolution goes down this path. Think about your larger goal everyday, which will help to increase your self-control. If your 30 Day or 60 Day goal is to lose weight, think about why you are doing this and why losing weight is so important to you. Is it so your body and mind can be healthier? Is your larger goal to be able to race after your kids without getting puffed? Is your long-time goal to prevent obesity, heart disease and diabetes? Write down what your long-term life goal is and place it in plain view for you to see everyday. Visualise yourself suceeding and losing the 5-10-15 or however many kilos you want to and how you will feel when you achieve this goal.