I had a very refreshing day today. I slept in, spent a bit of time with my parents, and got to relax for a large portion of the day. My food didn’t get here until 6pm, so I struggled with my Medifast meals again until then. When my food got here I was really excited! I tried the fruit cereal and it was really good! I’m so excited to be able to have cereal in the morning! I love getting up early enough to eat breakfast with my husband so I’m glad I can have something more similar to what he is having.

I haven’t gotten in all of my water today, but tomorrow is a new day and I believe I will be able to get it all in.

I am also feeling much better today! Feeling ill or tired makes life seem so hard sometimes–hopefully I won’t feel like that again for a while! I like being/feeling healthy and being in control of my actions. I plan to get a good walk in tomorrow since I was less active this week.

When my parents came out to visit they took us to dinner (thanks again Mom & Dad). We went to Eat n’ Park again (it really doesn’t get old) and I had a Gardenburger with a slice of cheese–no bun, of course. I also ordered a side of broccoli and the salad bar. I ordered the side of broccoli so that I would only make 1 trip to the salad bar and so that I would not get the cottage cheese they have on the salad bar (since I was already getting enough protein in my garden cheeseburger, cheese on my salad, and egg on my salad). I decided what I wanted before I even went up there and stuck to it.

Today, I read a little bit about willpower in the Habits of Health workbook by Dr. Wayne Scott Anderson. He points out that if you are going to rely on willpower, you are going to fail. It’s just the wrong way to go about it. We shouldn’t be focusing on avoiding things that are bad for us or tempting us; we need to be focusing on our choice to be healthy. Don’t focus on what you can’t have; focus on what you want and what you can have. When we see a donut we shouldn’t tell ourselves that we can’t have it. Rather, we should look at the donut and think about whether or not it supports our primary choice–that is, the choice to be healthy. We decide that the donut is not healthy for us, so then we need to make our secondary choice whether to eat the donut. Hopefully, that secondary choice will be to have a glass of water or an alternative snack that is healthy. Sometimes, we will still decide to have the donut–and that is okay, as long as we actually took the time to think about it rather than just gobbling it up. We are never going to be perfect, we just need to be responsible to ourselves and make decisions rather than letting things happen.

In addition to what Dr. Anderson says about willpower, Gailliot et. al. in their article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Vol. 92 No. 2 pg 325-336 in the year 2007 titled Self Control Relies on Glucose as a Limited Energy Source; Willpower is More Than a Metaphor (you can read it yourself as it is available for free using Google Scholar), found that using your willpower temporarily makes you less able to use it in the future. That means when you pass up the donut at 9am using your willpower you are less likely to be able to use your willpower at lunch when you are invited out for pizza. The reason this happens is blood glucose is an important fuel for the brain. When the frontal lobe is deprived of blood glucose, it is more difficult to exert self control (or willpower). The front lobe has been shown in multiple studies to be associated with self control and inhibition.

When we rely on willpower, we are making it harder on ourselves for the next temptation. I used to think I just didn’t have the willpower, but in reality most (if not all) don’t have the willpower either. We need to think about it in a positive way and start making food choices–we need to think about everything we eat before we eat it and how it relates to our primary choice to be healthy!

Also, as far as I can tell the best way to avoid having to use your willpower and instead be a decision maker–plan ahead! Decide what you want to eat throughout the day before you are put in front of all of those temptations. When is the best time to plan ahead? Probably right after you have had a healthy meal when your blood glucose levels are up!