Many of us are faced with annoying challenge of sticking to our goal of losing unwanted fat, following a healthy diet and getting enough sleep. The question that crops up to our mind is -Why is our self-control so strong on some days and so weak on others?
To answer that, willpower is not dependent only on psychological strength. There are certain physiological and emotional factors, such as blood sugar, brain chemistry, lack of sleep, hormones etc. which control our power of self- resistance.
What really remains is to learn ways to handle fall-apart situations and gain an upper hand over them
1. Meditate: Meditation is one of the most powerful methods to strengthen your resolve, develop self-control and maintain focus on your goal. Practicing mindfulness meditation for a few minutes(3-5 min) each day can actually boost willpower by building up gray matter in areas of the brain that regulate emotions and govern decision making. Meditation actually creates physical changes in the brain in as little as eight weeks, according to many studies including one conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers. The study found that an 8-week mindfulness meditation program made measurable changes in the gray matter of brain areas associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.
2. Get Yourself Clicked. Set a goal of one 10-minute exercise session per week. Then increase it to two 10-minute sessions. Gradually add minutes to each workout (and eventually add one or more additional workouts to your week), until you’re exercising as long and as frequently as you should in order to reach your goals. The simple act of setting aside some time for exercise every day, no matter how little, and sticking to it is enough to start building the habit. You can motivate yourself to lose weight by taking some self-portraits. We usually don’t have the best idea about how we truly look until we see ourselves in a photograph. Keep a picture with you and look at it when you feel like giving up.
3. Find an accountability buddy—someone who knows about your plan and is willing to give you a push when you feel like slacking off.
4. Join a Team or make a Fitness Friend. It’s always harder to let someone else down than it is to let yourself off the hook.
5. Employ an excuse buster. Find a friend, family member whose judgment and opinion you respect. Each time you find yourself thinking about skipping an exercise session or blowing your meal plan, write down the reason for your choice. Share this reason with your excuse buster and get her honest opinion about whether the reason for your choice is reasonable or just an excuse. You’ll probably find that this makes it a lot harder for you to believe your own rationalizations.
6. Don’t skimp on sleep: Research shows that getting less than 6 hours of snooze time decreases decision-making abilities and leads to failure of self-control as the day wears on. One mechanism in play: ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger. One study of healthy adults found that after they got 4 hours of sleep just 2 nights in a row, their levels of ghrelin increased by 28% and their appetites by a whopping 23%, especially for salty snacks and sweets.
7. Don’t Starve: A blood-sugar dip, occurs after you skip a meal, which can impair the areas that oversee planning and self-restraint. Research shows that exerting your willpower decreases glucose even more. So if you skip lunch and spend the afternoon fighting the desire to dip into a coworker’s candy jar, you could set yourself up for an evening binge. When you eat a donut and coffee for breakfast and then nothing until lunch then you will get a big blood sugar spike and then a drop soon after and be just dragging your way until lunch. If you eat consistently small but evenly spaced meals every couple of hours during the day then you will not have this blood sugar problem.
8. Pen down your Emotions: Maintain a diary to pen down your feelings. As you know depression is grief and anxiety is fear ‘unexpressed’, by writing down your feelings, you can release negative feelings trapped inside. A very successful healing process will be initiated, if if you can give way to your grief and fears in a diary.
9. Laugh it Off: Laughter is a fabulous healer and relaxant. The act of laughing also increases the oxygen supply to the lungs, stimulates the production of endorphins and can produce a feeling of euphoria. Occasionally it may also open the gates to tears-another positive release.
10. Love & Pamper Yourself: Shun away negative thoughts, like “I’m a failure.” “I should give up.” “He hates me.” These thoughts manipulate your feelings, so that what begins as a negative thought ultimately lead to exercise drop out and binge eating. You are special, unique and highly loved and appreciated. Remember, YOU are a unique creation of God and by staying connected to friends and family, making healthy lifestyle decisions, and keeping stress under control you can have a hugely positive impact on your existance. Consciously do something that can make you feel good. Get a new haircut, polish your nails, or get enough sleep.
The points indicated above will help you gain self control and prevent a drop-out. Lets face it who doesn’t what to look slim and sexy.