As a Health Coach one of most challenging, yet also rewarding elements of my career is helping clients be deliberate about the health decisions they make in December. Without a doubt December is one of the most challenging seasons for those who have health and weight loss goals. With so many Christmas gatherings, treats, and full-on weeks of preparation for the holidays, motivation and will power can lag behind.
For many your health focus this Christmas isn’t to lose five pounds, rather it’s to avoid gaining five.
Will power can help; however, it alone cannot be the only answer. In an article by the American Psychological Association titled ‘Is Willpower a Limited Resource’ willpower is likened to a muscle that can get fatigued from overuse.
**Some of the earliest evidence of this effect came from the lab of Roy Baumeister. In one early study, he brought subjects into a room filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. The table before them held a plate of the cookies and a bowl of radishes. Some subjects were asked to sample the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes. Afterward, they were given 30 minutes to complete a difficult geometric puzzle. Baumeister and his colleagues found that people who ate radishes (and resisted the enticing cookies) gave up on the puzzle after about 8 minutes, while the lucky cookie-eaters persevered for nearly 19 minutes, on average. Drawing on willpower to resist the cookies, it seemed, drained the subjects’ self-control for subsequent situations.
If the idea of a depleting willpower is true, it’s no wonder you can wake up on Monday, full of will and power to start your diet and then by Wednesday you’re crouched on the floor of your pantry eating half a bag of chips and chips.
the brain and self-control
Interestingly according to this same article it’s suggested that willpower depleted individuals may be low on fuel. The brain is a high-energy organ, powered by a steady supply of glucose (blood sugar). Research has proposed that if a brain has been working hard to maintain self-control its consuming glucose faster than it can be replenished. Studies have found that human subjects asked to exert self-control had lower glucose levels than those who were not asked to draw on self-control. And restoring glucose appeared to help ‘reboot run down will power’. Fascinating isn’t it?
It’s very possible the more you seek self-control, the more out of control you end up being. What are solutions could help your self-control without winding up out of control?
all or nothing has to go!
The ‘all or nothing’ mindset works, but only for a little while. Eventually you give in and sabotage your success finding yourself right back to where you started.
A much wiser, long lasting healthy lifestyle for you is to give yourself permission to eat healthier versions of your favourite foods. Buy an Actifry and enjoy homemade sweet potato French fries or chicken wings. Research and bake healthy chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, pizza and more!
Enjoying smaller portion sizes with a side salad, roasted or grilled veggies is an incredible balanced alternative that will allow your body to return to its ideal body weight.
We love the idea of Magic Plates. A Magic Plate is a balanced meal that includes ¼ of your plate being a complex carb, ¼ protein, ½ green veggies or salad and 1-2tbsp of high-quality fat. Magic plates satisfy and sustain you by balancing your blood sugar levels.
savour the flavour
Offer yourself fully to your first bite. Tune in to the joy of colour, texture and flavour of your food. Research has shown the very first bite is the most rewarding. Every bite thereafter is diminishingly rewarding.
If you want dessert, take a small piece and train your brain to really enjoy the first three bites. It feels amazing to indulge in only a few bites and be able to say, “I’ve had enough, I am satisfied.” There is no sabotage when you eat just to place of satisfaction and not beyond.
increase your want to
Too often the words we speak lead to the things we don’t want vs. the things we do want. We rehearse our fears more than our hopes. You say, “I don’t know if I can stay away from the chocolate” when you ought to be affirming “Today I choose courage and confidence to say no to chocolate”. Then quickly take action to affirm your self-talk. Move any chocolate to another location so that it’s not staring you in the face.
Tell yourself all the reasons you want to live a healthy, whole, balanced life. Whether it’s December or January, May or June why is your health important to you? How does moving your body improve your mood and energy and who benefits from a healthier you? When you invest in your health and your body, you’re loving and respecting yourself not just for your benefit but for others!
a self-less decision
Wanting to live with better health and wellness is one of the most self-less things you can do. It positively affects everyone around you. My children need me to exercise. Doing so increases my patience and grace, love and understanding for them. When I invest time to prepare healthy homemade meals I can better love and respect my husband simply because my body is not experiencing toxic overload from packaged products. Your family, friends, and your career need you to care for you.
we can help!
Next week we’ll be sharing more practical ways to help you choose well during Christmas gatherings. Be sure to tune back in then.
If binge, emotional or overeating has sabotaged your weight loss success we want to help! It is always our highest honour to help you break free from binge and emotional eating so that you can live a healthier and happier life!
Committed to you!
Master Health Coach, EmpowerWays
Kristine Rustand is a Master Health Coach with EmpowerWays. Everything we do is about empowering you to live a healthier, happier life. You can follow EmpowerWays on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to know how Health Coaching can help you live a healthier, happier life contact Kristine today. EmpowerWays@gmail.com