Food For Thought

A dinner table at a restaurant with the bread basket in focus

Dietary Self Control is Limited

Coach Caroline, 07/27/2016

Have you ever, while dining on Italian food with friends, successfully resisted the buttery garlic bread and pasta primavera only to succumb to the tiramisu? Or maybe you finished your long to-do list with a hardcore spin class but then spontaneously stopped for salty, greasy stir-fry at the “healthy” food store on the way home. If you’ve ever found yourself overcoming the pull of a Netflix marathon or the warm homemade brownies in the office kitchenette only to falter shortly thereafter, join the club. Self-control, sadly, is a finite resource. Once you use it up, let the binge begin!

Beware of emptying your self-control reservoir!

Did you know that having enticing foods in your vicinity—even if you aren’t drawn to them at the moment—can whittle away at your willpower? I wish I had a dollar for every time a client told me, “I’ve never even liked ginger cookies, but all of a sudden I found myself finishing off a box my husband had opened and left on the counter!”

Even if you don’t succumb to the low-level pull of bad food at home, you’re left more vulnerable to temptation out in the world, where you have much less control over what sugary, salty, fatty foods you’ll encounter.

Save your willpower. You’ll need it sometime soon.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the drain on your willpower.

For instance, don’t keep refined and animal foods in the house, the car, or at work. This includes chips and other snacks, cookies and other sweets, cheese, meat, and fake meat products (just because it came from the health food store doesn’t mean it’s healthy). Having constant, easy access to unhealthy food saps your willpower—whether you’re aware of it or not.

When you go out to eat, ask the wait staff to remove bread or tortilla chips from the table. If your dining companions prefer to keep those wicked enticements, ask that the bowl be moved out of your reach. Sure, you can sit there and purposefully resist them, but fresh bread and tortilla chips are a major drain on your willpower resources. Even if you don’t succumb to them, you’re much more likely to “cheat” later.

These methods might seem austere, but they are necessary if you desire to have long-lasting weight loss and health. Remember, some uncomfortable lifestyle changes are essential for your forever success. Besides, many people will admire you for taking such steps and may very well ask about your nutrient-dense, healthy diet, especially as they see the pounds melt off your body and the numbers melt off your blood work!

The wrap

  1. Clean up your environment. Keep your home, car, and office free from refined and animal foods.

  2. Any time tantalizing foods are within reach, ask that they be moved away from you, preferably out of sight. A couple of my clients have even covered some delicacies with a napkin to get them out of sight and out of mind.


Want to know more about Caroline’s strategies for sticking with a healthy diet? Schedule a call with her today and learn how to build willpower!

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