Most of us know that we shouldn’t go to the supermarket when we’re tired and hungry. Why? It’s down to willpower. Because it makes those “not so good for you” foods rather tempting, especially if your body’s crying out for instant gratification.
What is it with willpower?
You see, your willpower is only a finite resource in any given situation. Once it’s used up, you’re going to struggle to resist. When your willpower’s sapped, that remaining slice of cake in the cupboard will take on epic proportions. Suddenly you find it’s the only thing you can think about and you end up in a wrestling match of your willpower -vs- the cake. Guess what? More times than not, the cake will win.
Clients are often surprised when I tell them it’s not willpower they need to be focussed on. Instead you need to be creating the right environment to help support your goals.
This may mean not having cake, or whatever else your poison may be, in the house (or hidden away in the car). Or it may mean taking a different route home from work to avoid the lure of the takeaway outlet that’s become a second home.
“Ah“, I hear you say, “but everyone else in the house eats cake and it’s not as simple as that.” Well, yes and no. (I’ve heard this one many times, too).
I would never deny someone a bit of food they fancy now and again. However, first off, does the cake need to take up permanent residency in your cupboard? Chances are, the answer is “no”. If you are in a household that likes it’s cake, only buy it as a special treat, rather than an everyday staple.
If they won’t join you
And if you really can’t persuade anyone else to follow suit, then keep the cake literally out of sight and reach so it’s not on full view every time you go to the kitchen. My other half used to keep a permanent stash of sweet treats around the house, which when I was working my corporate job were hard to resist after a stressful, tiring day. I couldn’t persuade him not to buy them, but what he did do is put them in a lockable cash box and only he had the key. Knowing that I couldn’t get my hands on them meant that I gave up thinking about them in the end as it was futile.
You see, by creating the right environment willpower doesn’t have to come into play, but what creating the right environment does do is help set you up for success. Give it a try!
Wendy Goldthorp is Founder of The FIT Movement and a women’s health and wellness specialist in South Devon. She coaches clients towards healthier habits for long-term health.