Look, we all know that in order to live a healthy life you simply need to eat more veggies, exercise religiously and be a very disciplined individual who never strays from the path.
Moreover, we know that you simply do that by having willpower. If you don't have enough willpower, then obviously something is wrong with you and you're just not as good as those of us who can maintain those unrealistic standards I just mentioned.
I'm now going to stop all the "bro" talk and return you to reality. I could go on about all of the fallacies in the first sentence for an hour alone. But I'd like to cover that second one a bit deeper.
Willpower. We all know OF it, but I don't think we all truly understand it. Kinda like Einstein and E=mc(2), we're all familiar with his equation, and you may even know what the variables stand for, but how many of us can explain what that crazy-haired old guy was talking about?
So here's the real deal about willpower. It is not some ethereal thing that people either have or they don't. If you struggle with your amount of willpower, that doesn't make you a bad person. You may just not get how it really works, so stop beating yourself up.
Think of willpower like a fuel tank. You wake up in the morning with a full tank of willpower gas. Your loved ones will be thankful that willpower is odorless, I'm sure. But as the day progresses, your amount of willpower wanes.
Why is that, Andy? Well, I'm glad you asked, random citizen! Willpower gets taxed by anything that we have to concentrate on doing, or not doing.
So simple things like taking a test or putting together a jigsaw puzzle can drain it. As well as resisting that evil box of cookies that your spouse keeps in plain view... all day long... every day... I mean, really?! If they really cared, they would just throw out the cookies, right? I mean, that's not too much to ask, is it? Huh?! Oh... sorry.
Here's the takeaway from this week's article. Your brain is something like 1/50th of your total body weight, but it consumes an astonishing 1/5th of its energy supply. And your willpower is directly linked to your brain, so when your brain gets tired, your willpower drops.
Studies show that keeping a stable blood sugar throughout the day has a tremendous benefit on your ability to summon more willpower to overcome cravings, power through a study session or finish off an unagreeable task.
You can keep your blood sugar stable by eating slow digesting carbs, healthy sources of protein and healthy fats. Staying hydrated helps as well.
Realize that our willpower is, in fact, a limited commodity. But it is one that we can replenish with healthy foods and even power naps. Knowing this, we will be better equipped to succeed elsewhere in our lives and we can stop beating ourselves up for not having willpower to follow through on those lofty health and fitness goals.
Until next week, eat well, get up and move, live fresh and treat your willpower right, it will return the favor.
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com and frequently posts videos on his YouTube channel. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.