By Roy F. Baumeister (psychologist) and John Tierney (writer). The idea of collaborating with a writer is a good one, the book gets across some complex ideas in a clear, easy to read manner. The ideas are research based.
This blog is my work only and does not constitute endorsement of the authors, or publishers, etc., etc., etc. I have received no monetary compensation to write it.
I am going to focus on dieting, in a chapter the authors call "The Perfect Storm of Dieting."
Briefly, willpower, or the ability to self regulate, is a brain function that depends on adequate glucose levels. As we go through the day, we use our willpower for all kinds of things; functioning at work, getting along with spouse, etc. We use it up. So, by the end of the day, we may not have much left. Thus we may binge. How do we restore our willpower? BY EATING!!! YIKES!!!
Or, as the authors put it, in order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.
The writers identify the "What-the-Hell" effect. That's right, When we exceed out calorie level, or eat a forbidden food, then all is blown--for the day, the week, the month.....the binge.
What to do? The authors identify some useful strategies.
When your willpower is high, make a pre-commitment--like joining sparkpeople.
Commit in public.
Measure and record--food, weight, exercise, and so on. Sound familiar? These authors recommend daily weigh ins, research shows that this seems to work better for weight loss.
Use Positive Procrastination. That is why Marathondad's challenge not to eat any junk until Christmas is doable. We can tell ourselves that we can eat our faces off on December 25. We likely won't, but the thought that we can if we want to helps self control in the present. Saying "never" does not work so well.
If we do not want to work out, we can use the "Nothing Alternative." We tell ourselves we have a choice. We can work out, or do nothing for the same amount of time. No TV, computer, reading, talking, sleeping, nothing. The idea is to get rid of competing tasks and get so bored that we will work out.
There is a lot more in the book, about other lack of willpower problems such as addictions.
And, for my fellow fitbitters, the fitbit is mentioned as one of the measurement devices one can use.