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Monday, May 4, 2009

what about will power?

one of the things we're constantly told is that we need to increase our "will power" or that various diet supplements, teas or drugs will help. i don't know about you... but i find i can end up feeling badly about myself when i find myself reaching for the cookie instead of the piece of fruit. and i do that frequently, more frequently at some times than at others. so why was this, i wondered, even after i began to pay attention to what the Angels were telling me to eat. why is it so easy to ignore what i know is better for me to eat? why do we tend to consistently go for the quick and easy sugar rush or carb hit?

a recent article about the nature of the brain seemed to provide at least part of the answer. it seems that the same area of our brains that controls our "will-power" is also the part involved in complex tasks. it's also easy to tire this part out apparently.

as part of an experiment, one group of individuals were asked to memorize a list of random objects, and then offered a cookie. another group was asked to memorize the list, take a rest, and then offered the cookie. a third group was just offered the cookie. it was the first group who ate the most cookies.

so,... what's a busy person to do?

the Angels suggest several strategies. first of all, plan your meals. create a chart, or make a list, and allow spaces for "white" or complete protein foods for every meal, as well as spaces for rainbow, brown, sweets, fats and processed foods. remember to go no longer than 3 hours between meals, so for most of us, that means five or six mini-meals throughout the day, or three meals and three smaller snacks, or some combination of the above. decide what works best for you, just remember never to go more than three hours if you can possibly help it without putting some form of nourishing food into your system.

then, keep a food diary. make a list or a chart, and keep track of how much white, rainbow and other foods you're eating. remember you can eat as many rainbow foods as you wish - i find that the more complete "rainbows" i eat in a day (the most i manage is 3) the better i feel.

and finally, remember that your will-power is a function of your mind's ability to make choices, not a reflection of your personal worth as a human being. it's only as sharp as you are. the better nourished, and more well-rested you allow yourself to be, the easier you'll find it to make healthier decisions.

5 comments:

Kathy said...

I had to giggle since I read this as I finished the peanut butter cookie I just grabbed after spending three hours trying to unravel a very stressful bookkeeping project.
Oh, well, there is a double rainbow tuna salad in the fridge with my name on it.

annie kelleher said...

i think the Angels were talking to YOU kathy!!!

Laura Rose said...

Amen!

Martha said...

This is so great, especially that your food choices are not a reflection of your worth as a person.

DiPaola Momma said...

This SO makes sense for me. I go, go, go ALL the time. I'me cleaning, writing, cliping coupons, doing bills, playing with kids, reading, cooking and when it comes to eating.. always grabbing that cookie! I started with the journals on Saturday and that has helped. I stepped on the scale this morning and am down 1.6 pounds. Now I know all I have to do is drink a big glass of iced tea to gain that back but it felt good.

Thanks for the reminder to not judge charater by your level of will power.. I NEEDED THAT!