CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) -
1. I am trying to lose weight; I do well, then my family buys me a donut. How do I get the willpower to resist?
Carlos, Indian Orchard
The first thing to realize is that willpower does not work well.
Researchers at Cornell University did several studies on willpower. They put a bowl of M&M in a bowl on a desk in an office and counted how many people ate.
They started with 6 colors of M&Ms then increased to 10 colors. When there were 10 colors people ate 40 percent more M&Ms, they wanted a red, green, yellow, blue, purple, and so on. The variety stimulated appetite.
The same would happen if you had a single pie for dessert or a choice of pie, cake and cookies. When you have 3 options, you try all 3.
Now, when the researchers covered the bowl of M&Ms, people ate half as many because they did not see them, out of sight, out of mind.
So when you are trying to eat healthfully, don't rely on willpower. What I tell my clients to do and it works well, is get a plastic bin and ask family members to keep treats that tempt you in their room or in their car so you don't see them.
A lot of people may say that sounds ridiculous and that they should just be able to resist. That is people's first reaction but remember that you are only human. If you see it, you want it. Why make it difficult to resist. Just get it out of your face and be consistent about this.
If someone says, "Oh you can have just one," and you give in, they know, you will eventually give in. Show them you are serious about staying on track.
2. How do I handle a craving?
Sometimes a craving is all in your mind.
You saw a commercial for a candy bar or smelled the cinnamon buns baking in the mall. You can try to distract yourself with activities and get your mind off it. You may forget about it.
If you still crave something and just can't seem to get it off your mind, then buy a single serving, not a whole bag, of the food you are craving. Eat it slowly and mindfully so you get full enjoyment, satisfy the craving and move on.