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Will Power: What It Is And How To Get More – Guest Post By Casey Roberts

Casey Roberts

Casey Roberts

You might be tempted to think Casey Roberts is a genius. After all, he is a rocket scientist. No, he really is. But Casey was also foolish enough to accompany me on a mile-long farmer’s walk workout a couple of weeks ago that I still haven’t recovered from. Regardless, Casey is a great guy with a cool story. Enjoy!

I have a dirty secret. My website is all about exercising, living healthy, and eating well. But when I log off and go down to the grocery store I have to stick my hand in my pocket so no one will see my hand quiver when I walk past the candy isle.

Hello, my name is Casey Roberts and I am a sugar-aholic.

Of course there’s nothing wrong about liking sweets, or even REALLY liking sweets, as long as there is self-discipline and will-power to fight off those urges to see how many gummy-bears you can fit in yourmouth without suffocating. But that will-power to resist the sweet stuff is something that so many of us (including myself) lack.

What's your drug of choice?

What's your drug of choice?

Let me step back, we all have will-power, lots of it. If we didn’t our society would have torn itself apart by now. Highways would turn intodemolition derbies when someone gets cut-off. Homicide at the grocery store when the bagger puts the milk on top of your bread.

Every man’s garage would be filled with high performance toys… So why do we have so much trouble controlling ourselves when it comes to a package of Oreos or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s?

To be honest I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t be banging this article out on my computer, I would be living it up in Sydney, with my millions I made selling “How to Stop Eating Unhealthy Forever” books.

Research

However there is some interesting research out there on the topic:

University of Minnesota research shows that focusing on memories of things people value in their life can increase will-power considerably. So maybe when it comes to staring down a piece of chocolate cake at the office party the thought of looking good in a swimsuit isn’t as effective/powerful as being healthy for your kids later on in life.

To be honest, that’s half the reason I started my website–as a way to keep fitness at the forefront of my thoughts.

Mental Muscle

Other research from Florida State suggests that will-power may literally be a mental muscle. Researchers found decreases in glucose levels when subjects were exerting will-power in a variety of tests.

Those with lower glucose levels were more likely to succumb to temptation than those with higher levels. Raising levels of glucose also raised the likelihood that the subject would be able to successfully exert self-control in a given situation.

The idea that a quick sugar fix will help you avoid a quick sugar fix is…well… kinda useless. But it does lend credit to the idea that 6 small meals a day, which has been shown to maintain glucose levels might be a start to shunning that chocolate lava cake at the end of dinner.

So if will-power is a muscle then why not treat it as a muscle? We all know it doesn’t make sense on your first day at the gym to go out and squat 600 lbs, it’s something you need to work up to. Start training your will-muscle by passing by the candy dish on the office secretary’s desk without taking a dip, or passing up the junk food next to the cashier in the store.

Addictions

I was once told that alcoholics are never cured of their alcoholism–they just build up their will-power to resist a drink to a level which allows them to walk right past a bar without flinching.

From my experience that’s true of all addictions. It’s quite possible that I’ll never be freed from the lure of a Hostess Cherrie Pie.

But hopefully someday I’ll be able to make it in and out of convenience store without breaking into a cold sweat.

Casey Roberts is a full time husband and full time rocket scientist (literally). After dropping 50 lbs and to stay out of his wife’s hair, Casey has been laughing at himself and posting fitness information for the masses at his blog: Ready To Launch Fitness. Please go say hi!


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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Casey August 18, 2009, 7:11 am

    Josh, thanks for allowing me to post on your site and dressing up my keyboard mashings into something akin to an article!

  • Gayze August 18, 2009, 9:32 am

    Cool article, great “food” for thought. (ouch, sorry)

    My drug of choice, or maybe drug of lack of choice when it really possesses me, is ice cream. My will-power’s great until the summer temps start to soar and the local ice cream shoppe starts running specials.

    Cruel, cruel world.

    I love the thought that turning our thoughts toward the real priorities in life increases our will-power. I’m totally going to keep that in mind the next time a triple thick chocolate malted calls to me. Like, uh, right about now….

    • Josh Hanagarne August 18, 2009, 10:00 am

      Gayze, it looks like you almost believed everything you said:) About that ice cream, I think I might join you.

  • Casey August 18, 2009, 11:04 am

    It does give the term “food for thought” a new slant doesn’t it?

    I too am hooked on icecream. The $1 dollar pint is my nemisis.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 18, 2009, 11:31 am

      Casey, any favorite flavors? so I can steer clear of them, of course.

  • Zeenat{Positive Provocations} August 18, 2009, 12:05 pm

    Casey, Loved the article…loved the sense of humor as well:) Considering i Love love love sweets….imagine my dismay when i read what my mind was telling me all along…;)
    But on a more serious note…it is true….will power can work wonders on our addictions. But the first step i think is realizing we have an addiction to begin with.

    Josh awesome guest post! You actually found us a rocket scientist with a sense of humor:)

    • Josh Hanagarne August 18, 2009, 12:12 pm

      Zeenat, Casey is pretty funny, you’re right. Ask him about his rocket science finals in school. You’ll never feel smart again:)

  • Casey August 18, 2009, 12:26 pm

    Josh I’ve always been a sucker for mint chocolate chip or cookies & cream, but my wife discovered “Extreme Moose Tracks” at the local Smith’s.

    It’s pure decadense: Choclate icecream with mini cups of fudge strewn throught, plus ribbons of fudge swirled in. When I say ribbons, I mean literal you can dig them out and chew on them chunks of fudge…

    Zeenat, thank you for the compliment, I agree 100% that we ned to first understand our addications before we can do anything about them.

    As G.I. Joe said “Knowing is half the battle” 😉

  • Gayze August 18, 2009, 6:56 pm

    Has anyone else discovered Ben & Jerry’s “Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road” yet?

    • Josh Hanagarne August 18, 2009, 7:05 pm

      Gayze, I’ve seen Yellow Brickle Road, but haven’t tried it yet.

  • NorthandClark (Casey Brazeal) August 19, 2009, 8:02 am

    Good Post Casey, also that’s a fine name you have.

    One issue I find with will power and self control is that just about anything that you know you should do, but don’t necessarily want to do is easier when you’re not alone.

    As a former college athlete I have found it more difficult to get myself to train and keep myself in shape now that I don’t have the built in support system of a swim team to encourage, and compete with me. I don’t currently have a personal trainer, but I do have some buddies with similar fitness goals and I find that a little bit of community goes along way.

  • Casey August 19, 2009, 8:28 am

    Indeed, I’ve never met a Casey I didn’t like! Good people they are.

    In the past I’ve always found that having a workout partner yeilds the best results. They provide encouragement, guilt, peer pressure… All are powerful motivators get get your butt up and off the couch!

  • Logan August 20, 2009, 12:07 pm

    Good article. Who knew exercising will power ate up glucose? Does that mean someone will come up with a product on how to lose weight by using their willpower (literally)?

    One helpful thing I’ve done is to just delay gratification. Just keep putting off the bad thing you don’t want to do for 2 minutes at a time. Eventually you’ll get busy and the urge will pass.

    • Josh Hanagarne August 20, 2009, 12:19 pm

      Logan, hi! I’m a big fan of yours and thrilled that you came over to visit. I am now committing to an extra two minutes before giving into any habit I don’t want to indulge in. Thanks hombre.

  • Panayiotis Pete Karabetis August 23, 2009, 9:05 am

    I once wore a tight rubber band around my wrist and whenever I had an urge to eat something sweet or high in bad carbs, I would snap it hard. OUCH! It’s not high tech and doesn’t require will-power or mind-set seminars. Give it a shot?

    Pete | The Tango Notebook