Why don’t I have more willpower?
Why can’t I just be stronger around food?
Why does food seem to control me?
These were questions that I have asked myself for over forty years!
So imagine my joy in discovering that the “lack of willpower” really wasn’t my fault…
And that research shows that trying to rely on it as our main means of controlling food urges simply doesn’t work.
So here is the scoop!!! It’s a long broadcast (and it’s only Part I of II!)…but if you are like I was…you NEED this info!
Like always, you can watch it at the blog below or on YouTube or just listen to it at the podcast! Easy peasy!
Also like always…detailed outline below…you need this info!
A. Relying on Will Power
1. How we rely on willpower
a. Making a plan, buying food, cleaning out, exercise program, etc. –1)
b. Relying on will power to keep plan in place
c. Leaves the weight of the changes on the part of the brain that is ill-equipped to make those decisions and carry the burden of saying no
2. What is willpower?
a. One definition: Overriding a feeling in order to act in a way that is different than you feel like acting
b. Discovered in 1988 to actually be a thing
3. Why we couldn’t conquer our food habits that made us obese with willpower
a. We used to wonder, like so many others, why we could have the self discipline and willpower to do things—raise children, work well in a job, create a nice home, develop habits and skills
b. But why couldn’t we (and so many people) apply those same self-regulating behaviors to lose weight and keep it off?
c. We didn’t know that the amount, type, and intensity of WILLPOWER needed to lose weight were nearly impossible to sustain when it comes to food urges.
B. Willpower Doesn’t Work Long Term (or Sometimes Even Short Term)
1) Radish experiment:
a. Come missing a meal
b. Chocolate chip cookies being piped in
c. Bowl of chocolate chip cookies and bowl of cleaned radishes
d. Told to eat in one of three ways
i. Couple of chocolate chip cookies (or just chocolate alone)
ii. A couple of radishes
i. People who ate radishes, resisted cookies/chocolate could only do 8 minutes of puzzles
ii. People who were allowed to eat cookies could do 20 minutes of puzzles
f. Making decisions, monitoring emotions, keeping task performance high (few errors)
i. All of these things seem different but they’re all the same as resisting temptations
ii. They all need willpower; they all leave us in willpower depletion
2) Research with beepers
a) Beeped and asked over 400 people if they were resisting temptation at that moment or previous 15 minutes
b) Found that we spend four hours per day resisting temptations
3) Other experiments (M and M’s on table vs across the room—barriers!) and how much “brain power” they had left for intense tasks
4) Brian Wansink (researcher) has shown that we make 119 food-related decisions each day
C. We Have a Willpower Gap
1.Willpower gap means that we don’t have enough willpower left to overcome the urges that we are presented with
2.Willpower drains and depletes from all kinds of decisions and actions
4. It takes willpower to resist (or sit with) over hunger and over desire
a. Over hunger—hunger signals, grehlin tells us we are empty; leptin tells us we are full
b. Over desire—processed foods, frequent eating, sugar and flour concentrations, not real foods all lead to overdesire due to neuro transmitters in the brain that tell us we want more and more of those things each time we have them (dopamine and serotonin)
D. Ways We Handle Willpower Ineffectively
1. Eat many small meals and snacks
a. Research #1
i. Had morbidly obese people go on fixed calorie diet divided into either three meals a day or six meals a day
ii. No difference in weight loss
iii. No difference in health, adherence, etc.
b. Research #2
i. Closed chamber measuring carbon dioxide and oxygen
ii. Over three days people ate either three meals a day or six meals a day, completely standardized
iii. No difference in metabolism for three vs. six meals a day
c. Many small meals and snacks work against the body’s hormones
i. Insulin is kept high, so we don’t hear leptin signals tell us that we are full and need to move around
ii. Leptin is low when insulin is high
iii. We never give ourselves a chance to get hungry—so we become accustomed to not hearing grehlin tell us that we are full
2. “White knuckling” and “resisting” will get us through urges
a. Research, personal experience, and observations all show us this isn’t true
b. We simply run out of willpower to continue without intervening with our hormones, changing our thinking, and building habits (spoiler warning for next week!)
c. Like holding the beach ball under the water—eventually we have to release it
d. Not having enough willpower is also draining because of the shame and judgement we put upon ourselves when we run out of it and give in to urges
3. Eating whatever we want but counting will get us to our goals
a. Some people do need to count because they have no idea the huge amounts of food they are truly eating
b. But eating whatever we want and counting doesn’t work
i. Not enough “calories” for six times a day (“nibbles”)
ii. Eating highly palatable foods will spike dopamine repeatedly—this is why we can stop at one apple but we can’t stop at one cookie
iii. “Whatever we want” is so calorie dense that if we are counting, we will only be able to eat a few things a day—like one donut, one large shake, and a Big Mac take all the calories/fuel we have available for a day for most women!
E. Love to help others solve this critical weight loss mistake!
1. Some simple tweaks in when we eat, what we eat, and how many times we eat each day can completely change the brainpower/willpower issues!
2. Some simple tweaks in when we eat, what we eat, and how many times we eat each day can completely change the hormonal issues that keep us craving, over hungry, and giving in to urges!
3. I’d love to teach others how to practice Intermittent Fasting so we can help our brain and your body work FOR us rather than AGAINST us!
4. Sign up for my month-long Intermittent Fasting course—the first Monday of next month! https://intermittentfastingcourse.com