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From Oatmeal to Beer? Exhausted Willpower!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This article from today's Globe and Mail draws on recent research to help explain why so many of us start out with good intentions every morning . . . and pig out most every night!

Will power is a muscle that gets exhausted by the end of the day.

Worse than that, "being good" early on in the day results in "moral licensing" to be . . . not so good by supper time and afterwards.

So what can we do? Plan our eating in advance when our willpower is strongest: in the morning for the rest of the day, on Sunday night for the rest of the week.

And deliberately create new habits (carrots instead of chips) to replace old habits . . . because temptation is less tested when operating from basal ganglia habit rather than from prefrontal cortex will power.

I found this really helpful . . . hope you do too.

And gotta say, for me it's more likely to be wine than beer!!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Excellent article.

    And I think one of the things that almost no one mentions is that eating sparsely early in the day (which many equate with being 'good') can actually sabotage the plan later, because it sets you up to be very hungry when your judgement and resources are lower.

    I find that if I front-load my day with lean protein in the morning and at lunch I am more successful grappling with the inner Cookie Monster later in the day. Not having quick snacks available also helps me avoid eating them.

    It's about strategy, not willpower, as one of the guests in the Fitcast I listen to said recently.
    2076 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/12/2012 4:07:25 PM
    I will definitely read this article, because if I mess up it is almost always after supper. I had read that the hunger/fullness hormones (ghrelin/leptin) function best in the morning and least in the evening. I haven't been doing much pre-planning and that is something I'm going to get back to; have a plan and stick to it.

    Somehow I missed several of your blogs. You have so much wisdom. I also commit to miss no more!! -Marsha
    2083 days ago
  • NANCY-
    “Decision fatigue” is a new one on me. Planning ahead does help. That app would be great here on SP wouldn't it?
    Hmmm,,,, I wonder what other questionable choices I have made!

    2088 days ago
    Here's to new habits!
    2088 days ago
    Huh. Definitely hit a chord with me. Yup, that's my MO. Off to read the article! THANK YOU!

    2088 days ago
    I'm definitely with you there. emoticon
    2088 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Thanks for providing this link -very interesting (but not a big surprise) I am very familiar with this phenomenon as that was the pattern I was stuck in. I ate very healthy during the day, then snacked my face off during the evening watching TV.
    The biggest help is, of course, not having less than healthy choices around the house to tempt you in those evening hours..
    2089 days ago
    This has given me something to think about.

    I tend to leave myself 100 to 200 spare for an after dinner snack - but seem to end up exceeding this. Probably because I did not think about what the snack would be - and track it in advance.

    It seems so simple, but sometimes you need the obvious pointed out to you!

    2089 days ago
    I saw the headline this morning but never got to the article. I'm glad you posted this to remind me to go back. Very interesting. emoticon
    2089 days ago
  • M77355
    Thank you for posting this!
    2089 days ago
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