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.
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.
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.
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.
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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