How to... give your willpower a workout; Want to lose a few pounds before summer? Try these simple tips to boost your ability to resist naughty treats - or get rid of any other bad habits...
1 Don't be too strict with yourself Think of your willpower as a muscle. You need to use a muscle to strengthen it, but tiring your muscles out will leave them weak. In the same way, constantly depriving yourself of things that you want will leave your willpower depleted.
Try to live by the 80:20 rule. Decide on a goal and stick to it 80% of the time - this leaves 20% of the time to indulge! Studies show that people who live by the 80:20 rule are more likely to realise their aims than those who attempt an all-or-nothing approach.
2 Be imaginative Visualising yourself achieving your goal is a great tool in strengthening your willpower. Studies have shown that spending time each day picturing yourself at your ideal weight is a great way to encourage your mind and body to work together.
Ask yourself the following questions, and jot the answers down: how will your clothes feel? What will each part of your body look like? How will you feel - proud, relieved? Spend at least 20 minutes doing this. Read over your answers to these questions at least twice a day - you could even try recording them, then listening to them when you have a spare moment.
3 Set mini-goals Sometimes, it's not willpower that's the problem. If a task seems huge and unattainable, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and under-motivated. Feeling down on yourself is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure, whereas the sense of achievement you feel from succeeding in a goal is likely to perk you up and spur you on.
Set smaller Do your jeans stil fit? goals to accomplish along the way to your overall objective. This will mean you'll never feel you've exhausted your supply of willpower, and you'll still glean satisfaction from succeeding at your mini-goals. Aims such as losing 5lb or 10% of your bodyweight are a good place to start.
4 De-stress Stressful situations cause your body to produce a hormone called cortisol. Consuming carbohydrates lowers cortisol levels naturally - this is bad news for your diet, but does explain why stress leaves you reaching for sugary or starchy treats.
Learn good stress-release habits to use when a stressful moment gives you unhealthy cravings. Things such as listening to soothing music, visualising calming scenes, or watching funny videos are great ways to distract yourself. Moderate exercise such as a light jog or outdoor walk will also work well and will boost your levels of happy hormones.
What would Brits give up for a year if it meant losing a stone instantly? 5%would cut ties with their own mother 74% would quit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 22% would give up alcohol 10% PLUS... the average person would pay PS452 to magically drop a stone would give up sex