When we start thinking about losing weight, giving up smoking or breaking any ‘habit’ we say we need to have more willpower to succeed. However, a new study suggests that willpower is a myth.
Recent studies have declared that willpower is, in fact, a myth. Scientists believe that when it comes to weight loss, it is positive behavior that will help you shed the pounds.
Rather than relying on the fact that ‘willpower’ can make or break your weight loss success, experts have now uncovered a more complex set of behavioural steps that are necessary to lose weight. This involves changing the way you act in order to accomplish your goals. So, for example, using a food diary to record not only the food that you’ve eaten, but also how you were feeling at the time. As food is often used as a means of comfort or reward, it’s important to try and break this link and not automatically reach for the chocolate after a bad day at work.
Although the term ‘willpower’ might have been rendered obsolete the meaning behind it can still have an impact on the way you deal with weight loss. Whilst it might not simply be a case of using mental power to overcome the temptations of opening the biscuit tin, successful weight loss does actually have a great deal to do with a positive mental outlook.
To lose weight and make real, lasting changes to your diet and lifestyle, you must be in a positive frame of mind and look on your achievements as steps towards your final goals. By focusing on negative actions and outcomes, such as succumbing to a chocolate éclair, or not making your weekly weight loss target, you are treating yourself as a failure and are more likely to abandon the weight loss programme altogether.
If you remain focused and concentrate on the successes you will be able to overcome the obstacles much more easily. Just thinking about why you are about to tuck into an unnecessary cake or biscuit can actually trigger a breakthrough.
Rather than automatically eating it, you are questioning your behaviour and giving yourself the opportunity to say ‘no’. This in itself can often be exhilarating and the more times you say ‘no’, the more likely you are to break the cycle and become more successful in your weight loss.
Weight loss programmes can really help to focus your attention on the task in hand. You can also make use of the weight loss tools such as calorie counters and food diaries. Sharing your experiences with other people and taking control of your food choices can be empowering and ultimately beneficial in achieving your goals.
So, although willpower won’t win the war on weight loss, a positive outlook and a determination to succeed will definitely help to shed those pounds.