Keep Your Willpower High and Lose More Weight
A new research study from the U.S. has just revealed that there are some extremely simple ways for you to keep your motivation up and your willpower high throughout your efforts to lose weight. In fact, it concluded that simply reading the right words can stimulate your brain into maintaining considerable levels of self control.
Willpower and Weight Loss: The Research Behind It All
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania as well as a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They had 20 men and women participants sit at a computer screen on which letters appeared, one after the next, until a total of 600 had been reached. Ahead of each letter, the screen flashed with one word, which was either a verb that encouraged action (for example, move, start, go, hit, or run), or a verb that encouraged inaction (for example, stop, sit, calm, and still). The length of time that the words were displayed was short enough that none of the participants knew that they had actually seen them.
The researchers conducted an analysis of the brainwaves of the participants using electroencephalography (EEG) recording equipment. What they showed was that the participants who were exposed to words that encouraged action saw brain activity decrease in the area of self control. When inactive words were flashed, there was an increase in the self control brain area activity.
What Research into Willpower and Weight Loss Really Says
According to Justin Hepler, one of the study’s co-authors as well as a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign social personality psychologist, the programming of the brain is such that it associates messages that encourage action with actually performing that behavior, and messages that encourage inaction with not taking part in that behavior. He explained that “So when we see or hear an inaction word, no matter the context, our brains work to prevent us from taking action.”
This suggests that while words of inaction can help to keep you from heading back to the fridge for another snack, those that encourage action can help to make sure that you get yourself to the gym and complete your workout. However, at the same time, those that encourage action can lead you to the fridge while those that encourage inaction can make you decide to hang out on the couch instead of getting through your Pilates video.
Words, Willpower, and Weight Loss
The words that you see have a direct result on your actions and, therefore, on your willpower. So you may have laughed at the people who have left themselves encouraging sticky notes on their computer monitors or refrigerators, but the odds are that it was helping them out, and that you’d give yourself a hand if you did the same thing.
Other Ways to Keep Your Willpower High to Achieve More Weight Loss
In addition to positive messaging, there are some other clever and easy ways that you can keep your motivation as high as possible so that you can lose the amount of weight that you need to shed in order to get into the best shape of your life.
Here are a few tips that you can use right away:
- Stay organized – By staying organized, and keeping your mind focused on your goals, it will be easier to keep your motivation for weight loss high because you won’t end up getting distracted. This is especially important when it comes to eating right. That’s why HealthDay recommends writing up a shopping list before heading to the grocery store, as doing so can help you stick to what you really need to buy for your meal plans for the week, without grabbing those unhealthy treats that you might be tempted to get. Having your meals, including your snacks, planned out in advance can also be a great way to stay on track.
- Don’t starve yourself – Sure, you want to cut back on your calorie intake if you want to go on a diet to lose weight. But, this certainly does not mean that you should be starving yourself. In fact, if you eat regularly throughout the day, you will keep your energy and your motivation up, and that can promote weight loss because you won’t end up with low blood sugar and unhealthy cravings. With enough mental and physical energy, you can stick to your goals more easily.
- Do something you enjoy – Whenever you are feeling tempted by an unhealthy treat that you know isn’t going to be good for your waistline, increase your willpower again by diverting your attention to something else that you enjoy, such as a puzzle, a walk in nature, or anything in between. This can help you achieve your weight loss goals by preventing you from giving in to food cravings.
Willpower and Weight Loss: An Important Connection
With enough willpower, you will be able to more easily achieve your weight loss goals. It’s like anything else in life: if you are dedicated to the process, you keep your focus set on achieving your goals, and you proceed with consistency in your efforts, you’ll slim down in no time.