PREPARATION VS. WILLPOWER
Most of us have lived for years believing that the key to successful fat loss is willpower.
If we just resist our cravings and suppress our hunger, we will be successful dieters. If we just stick to our plan, eat the same food every day, and say no to every treat and drink offered, we will finally lose that weight.
That’s not the case.
Those who successfully lose weight don’t just have stronger willpower; they prepare for situations and create an environment where they don’t need to exercise the highest level of self-control in order to be successful.
Have you ever found yourself diving head first into that box of donuts your coworker brought because you’re stomach started growling and you couldn’t resist? Yeah, me too. We’ve all been there. It doesn’t just mean you lack the willpower to resist free maple bars.
Research indicates that hunger-related hormones interfere with impulse control and our ability to make good decisions.
Did you catch that?!
HUNGER CAN IMPAIR OUR ABILITY TO MAKE GOOD CHOICES.
Now, having a donut isn’t a “bad” choice. But abandoning all control, eating all the donuts in sight, and then feeling sick and guilty after isn’t a great choice either.
Luckily, you don’t need to rely on willpower (and struggle with decision making when your stomach starts grumbling). Here is how you can have a plan and rely on preparation rather than impulse control:
1 || PRE-LOG YOUR MEALS whenever possible. Take 5 minutes to sit down and plan out your day in the morning so you have a rough idea of what you’ll be eating later. You have the flexibility to adapt your plan to changes, but this will help you avoid long periods of hunger or ending up with too much/not enough food left at the end of the day.
2 || MAKE A GROCERY LIST and, more importantly, stick to it so you avoid impulse buys when shopping.
3 || MEAP PREP or batch prep meals and snacks that are friendly to your goals.
4 || PLAN AHEAD WHEN EATING OUT. If you know you’re eating out later in the day, take a look through the menu before you go (and before you’re hungry). Pre-log your meal or make a plan for what you will order.
5 || AVOID SUPERHUNGER by having go-to snacks or take-out meals as a backup plan on extra busy days.
6 || MAKE AS MANY DECISIONS AS POSSIBLE WITH A FULL STOMACH
Making a plan and being prepared doesn’t mean you’ll never dive into that box of donuts again. It’s going to happen, and it’s totally ok.
What’s not ok is believing that you have to have the strongest willpower and highest self-control in order to meet your goals. So when you do have that unplanned cookie someone offers you, remember that it’s no biggie! Drink a big glass of water and waiting a few minutes to see if you are still truly hungry before turning that one cookie into a day of “forget it, I’ll just eat everything in sight.” Go back to your plan, and chances are you can still hit your goals for the day -- that’s the purpose of flexible nutrition.
We can’t let you read this article without adding a little shameless plug for The Good Stuff. If you haven’t already checked out The Good Stuff, GO DO IT! TGS is a resource library filled with materials to help you prepare to meet your goals. In TGS you can find a brand new cookbook, Everyday Macros, full of meal prep tips, recipes, and an accompanying grocery list. You can also find a Macro-Friendly Guide to Eating Out that can help you best plan ahead when eating out.