Will you give up sweets every day for 2 month to lose 8 pounds? If you love sweets that may take some self-control or willpower. I hear a good bit about this with clients feeling defeated in resisting the temptations around overeating unhealthy foods. If you have great will power, you can control immediate urges (daily sweets in place of the long-term benefits (lose 8 pounds). So, here are some expert advice on how to build willpower. We can all use some!
1. At the point of hunger, you have less control, so you need a plan.
If fast food at lunch is a consistent choice, then it just makes sense to pack lunch and avoid walking pass the fried foods where the smell will rope you in. For kids, having a snack in the car when you know they will be hungry will help manage them demanding fast food
2. Resisting temptation will build willpower muscle.
The first few times you say “no” to unhealthy food and "yes" to good habits will help you feel empowered.
3. Over exposure weakens willpower.
If you love sweets, then trust you can’t keep it in sight at home or on your desk. Each time you see it, it will lower your resistance. My recommendation to parents with kids that are, insulin resistant is to keep desserts out of the home to limit the pressure while kids are building will power. Moving healthier items at eye level in a refrigerator or making fresh fruit available will offer some support as well.
4. Problem solve with kids or with friends on how to handle situations the right way.
If you are heading to a cookout and you know it may lead to over indulgence, then talk through how you might handle it. Kids often ask me for help on handling pizza at friends or sleepovers where junk food is over abundant. We discuss how they typically handle it and how might be a better option.
5. Willpower is contagious.
Hang around people who have great self-control and observe what they do. Parents have great influence in teaching this skill to their children as well.
Ultimately building willpower around making healthy choices, builds self-control and that will keep kids safe in other areas of their life. According to studies, when children with low self-control were trained to strengthen their willpower, they did better when facing temptations such as smoking, trying illegal drugs, and dropping school out of school. Lots of benefits to building willpower.