7 super easy tips to boost weight loss willpower
Every day you use willpower to do things that are not your automatic behaviours.
You could also call this self-discipline.
But whatever you call it, science has shown we have more of it at the beginning of the day!
Just as the energy in a muscle is depleted with use, so too our willpower becomes depleted as we call upon it hour after hour. This is hugely important to understand if you have a weight loss goal. Running out of willpower/self-discipline/motivation is disastrous because losing weight requires a shift in some very entrenched daily behaviours. If you can do something that means you don’t use as much willpower then you’ll have more available later in the day and for emergencies.
Wouldn’t it be great to never again utter:
“I start the day well but by the time evening rolls around it’s just too hard to stay on track. I end up (insert personal sabotage strategy here) so I never reach my goal…”
7 steps to save willpower for weight loss
Save your willpower by making good decisions upfront and putting effective systems in place right from the start of your weight loss journey. Doing this leaves as little to chance or debate as possible.
The aim is to enhance your ability to follow-through without using up your precious willpower.
Stop wasting your precious weight loss willpower stores by using these strategies:
- Schedule time to shop and prepare healthy food. You’ll know it’s ready and waiting. You’ll get peace of mind as well as mindful food choices.
- Sort out your cupboards, fridge and containers. Ditch anything you decide doesn’t fit your plan. Remind yourself of the great herbs and spices you already own! Make sure you have lids for your storage containers. You’ll be using containers to transport food and for storage when you cook in bulk.
- Create a basic shopping list. Make sure you always have plenty of fruit and veg on hand.
- Decide on 2 meal options for breakfast, 2 options for lunch and 2 options for dinner. Make sure you always have the ingredients available for these options. This way you make it easy to follow your plan and inconvenient to eat garbage. Of course you can deviate from these options – but do it mindfully.
- Prepare for your top weight loss challenge. Identify the situation that has been your biggest downfall in the past. Create an if-then strategy for this specific situation. This simply means you decide if this happens, then you will do a specific predetermined thing. For example, you might decide:
If I’m offered a second helping at mum’s Sunday lunch, then I’ll smile and say, “Thank you for the offer but I’m so wonderfully full already, I think more would spoil it for me! I’ll just get myself a drink of water for now.”
- Mentally rehearse your if-then strategy. In your imagination go through your strategy as if you were living it now. Imagine it being easy to take the action you’ve chosen. Now go through it again and imagine it being a little challenging this time, yet you manage to follow-through. Mentally rehearse yourself behaving your desired way in-spite of expected and unexpected challenges. Remember to imagine yourself being delighted with the outcome! Perhaps you are relieved too? Certainly you notice feeling empowered by the outcome! Rehearse any dialogue in your strategy out loud – at least a few times – so you become familiar saying the words with the most effective intonation. Notice it becoming easier and easier to automatically respond in your desired way.
- Schedule time to de-stress. Willpower is like a muscle that gets tired from use over the course of the day. The good news is that activities that reduce stress and refresh your mood and body can also give you back your self-control strength! Make sure you book your yoga class/meditation time/walk in the park/craft time/enough sleep – whatever relaxes and refreshes you – in your Calendar.
What about being flexible?
Good question. You are not a machine. There’s still a role for flexibility in your weight loss plan. Just take care to lay a solid foundation first!
All you need to do is create some simple, basic systems and repeat processes until they are habits.
Okay, I know this takes some planning and effort but you want results, right?
Here’s why this is so effective:
When you do the ground work, you embody your intention to get rid of the unwanted weight. That feels empowering.
And when you know you can rely on the structure you’ve put in place, you feel safe. Plus you quickly gain momentum with your behaviours and thus your results.
All that gives you the freedom and confidence to make other decisions on the fly. This is what you need to save some willpower for, isn’t it?
Life is messy
You know things will pop up and demand your attention. Things like being given an extra project at work, a family member getting ill, going on holiday, becoming injured, having a flat tyre, etc.Big or small, these things require you to make decisions and often to take extra action. All this takes time and energy.
So set yourself up for success by using the targeted suggestions above. Save your energy and willpower to elegantly handle life’s more ad hoc things and let the systems you’ve put in place keep you on track for achieving weight goal. Make it easy to be healthy and hard to take less healthy options.
If you have any other ideas for automating healthful habits, please share them in the comments!
Until next time