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A book you might want to read....."Willpower"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v OOLALA53
    Baumeister said two things that have stuck with me: don't go on "a diet," and don't swear off chocolate or any other food. He also said to set your own guidelines and stick to them. Not swearing off a food doesn't mean I have to eat it every day. I choose what to eat in each situation I'm in. It takes time to figure out when I'm expecting too much of myself, but it does seem to be getting easier.

    Have a great 2013!

    1313 days ago
    Interesting ways to use a negative and use it to our advantage!
    1329 days ago
  • v ANDY_54
    The "Nothing Alternative" scenario seems a bit like punishing a recalcitrant child, but I understand where it's going and how it may work. Great review....may have to delve in a little deeper. Thanks!
    1364 days ago
  • v CAT-IN-CJ
    I've got plenty WILL power . . . . .
    I just need to replenish my long-exhausted supply of WON'T power!!!!

    Actually, it sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.
    1368 days ago
    Interesting book, Bonita. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. Sounds like it would be a good read.

    Make it a great day!
    1368 days ago
  • v CARMEN327
    Wow, good to know about the glucose connection to willpower. Sounds like a good idea to pack those healthy snacks!
    1368 days ago
  • v ROCKMAN6797
    This sounds like a wonderful book Bonita. It appears the authors may have winning idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

    emoticon emoticon
    1368 days ago
  • v DDOORN
    Great tips and reminders...thx for sharing!

    1369 days ago
  • v MEXGAL1
    I think my best advice to anyone trying to eat healthy and loss weight is to record everything!
    1369 days ago
    Interesting blog and one more time - record my daily food. This sure reinforces that concept.
    1369 days ago
    Woohooo! Great for Fitbit to get a little plug in there. I really love it as a measuring device; it appeals to both my geekishness and my competitiveness.

    My current reads are:

    The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness
    Gerald Klickstein

    iPhone: The Missing Manual
    David Pogue

    Getting quite a bit out of both.

    Thanks for the review of Willpower.
    1370 days ago
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