They’re going to start on us again. You know, those damn fitness club ads. The big guilt trip. Yes, we did it again. I can’t speak for you, I’m sorry. I did it again. I’ll keep it personal. I was heading into Thanksgiving way too much on the plump side and then all that happiness, thankfulness, and food overwhelmed me again. It wasn’t so much just on Thanksgiving but the three days of leftovers plus the happiness and thankfulness wouldn’t go away.
Tonight, Christmas night, I let out the last belt loop and checked the fridge again. And it’s full again. Leftover food, happiness, thankfulness, and Christmas spirit is packed tight. Now the ads will start. They know when they got us; when we are overwhelmed with thankfulness and happiness…and food.
I already belong to “In-Shape” so I don’t have to sign up (again). I just have to show up. There’s the rub. Show up at the gym, work out, swim, lift weights, sit in the sauna, and eat less. I say there’s the rub because I have just read the latest books on our brain, our sub-conscious minds, and most importantly, our will-power.
Guess what? Will power is not some storybook concept. It’s an actual measurable form of mental energy. That energy can run out of fuel, just like my car. Scientists are calling it “ego depletion.”
John Tierney, co-author of “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” says in order to have willpower we need to eat.
I’ll pause while you read that last sentence again.
That’s right; willpower has now been proven to be powered by glucose. Willpower is a finite resource and we can spread ourselves too thin.
A study at Florida State University took two groups of students and sat them next to a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. One group was allowed to snack away; the other group was ordered to abstain. Afterward, both groups were asked to complete difficult puzzles. The group that had been asked to abstain had depleted their reserves of willpower and quickly gave up on the puzzles. Of course the other group (the cookie-munchers) had conserved their willpower and worked on the puzzles longer and successfully.
So the scientists tell us that people with the best willpower structure their lives so they conserve it all day long and then, when they need it, they have reserves and off to the gym they go. These scientists say the best way to conserve willpower is to “oursource” some willpower by getting a gym-buddy or a walking/running-buddy and you can both encourage each other to get your lazy asses to the gym.
I’m glad I read and understood that latest finding. While I’m going over my list of potential “buddies” I’m going to add some glucose to my brain to fuel my willpower tolerance. I’m lucky because my fridge is full of just the kind of glucose I need. There’s also happiness, thankfulness and lots of Christmas spirit packed in there too.