These mistakes are not pointed out to us! They’re easy to make and will ruin our chance of losing weight.
As we now know, much of weight loss begins in our mind first. We need to get our thinking right before we can sustain our efforts and our weight. Also our blood sugar works to fail our efforts if we neglect its balance.
Mistake # 1: Relying On Our Willpower
When starting a new diet we learn which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, and then we just assume that our willpower will be there to keep us on track when we grab our plate and start heading down the buffet line.
Well guess what? It doesn’t work like that. It turns out that willpower is not a loyal friend. It has gaps. Huge gaps. It leaves the room entirely just when we need it.
This is called the Willpower Gap.
What Is Willpower?
First of all, willpower is actually a thing. It’s like a battery inside us. When we want to do something, or we want ‘not’ to do something, it can be called on to see us through. However, if the battery is depleted already, we won’t be able to find the power.
Typically, when that happens, we unconsciously convince ourselves that we didn’t really want to do that thing anyway, or we rationalize that we deserve to indulge in this one-time temptation. In those moments, we have just fallen prey to the Willpower Gap.
What Depletes Our Willpower?
~ Resisting temptations
~ Persevering on tasks
~ Monitoring our performance
~ Making decisions
~ Regulating our thoughts or emotional responses
The trouble is, we are doing these things nearly all day every day, so there’s no way to ensure that our willpower will be fully charged when we need it most.
Our Blood Sugar Rules Our Willpower
Our willpower doesn’t perform properly when our blood sugar is low. The seat of willpower in the brain, absolutely requires blood sugar for fuel, and any dip below average levels will handicap its functioning.
So ironic. When our blood sugar has dropped and we need to get something to eat, the very physiology of our state at that moment makes it all the more unlikely that we will make a wise choice.
Combine that with the constant availability of sweet, highly-processed foods and the difficulty of finding a fresh, healthy option when you’re on the go, and the Willpower Gap helps to explain the current global obesity pandemic that we now face.
Mistake #2: Underestimating The Addictive Power Of Processed Foods
How do they make cocaine?
They take the essence of the coca leaf, process it and purify it into a white powder. Coca leaves are not hugely addictive on their own. Chewing on one will create some numbness in the cheek followed by a mild, 45-minute lift, somewhat akin to drinking a cup of coffee. But in it’s changed form, cocaine powder is highly addictive.
How do they make sugar? You guessed it. They take the essence of the sugar cane plant and purify it into a white powder.
If you’re like most people, the foods that cause you cravings are not in their original, out-of-the-ground form. Odds are that you crave foods made from ‘changed’ processed foods manufactured by the food industry. They’re not really foods anymore at all but rather “edible food- like substances.”
Foods that are in their whole, unadulterated state interact in the brain the way nature intended. In contrast, “edible food-like substances” made out of sugar release an unnatural mood of dopamine that hijacks the pleasure centers in the brain.
Addictive Foods Fall Into 2 Categories
1. Sugar products like lollies, chocolate, ice cream, cake, soft drink, and biscuits,
2. Savory products like pizza, pasta, bread, savory biscuits, and chips.
It’s no coincidence that as the prevalence processed foods in our food supply has increased, obesity rates have soared. In fact today, 80% of the 600,000 foods available on supermarket shelves are laced with added sugar alone. For example savory biscuits are loaded with sugar!
Addiction Isn’t For Everyone Though
The unfair truth is that not everyone is prone to the addictive properties of these “edible food-like substances.”
This makes sense, if you think about it. We know that alcohol is addictive, but plenty of people can have a drink here and there, even every day, and never develop alcoholism.
Caffeine is addictive, but some can have coffee or tea when they want a pick-me-up and not get hooked. Some people can smoke cigarettes or cigars once in a while and never develop the habit.
Mistake #3: Building in Exceptions To Our Diet
Most people think that if they have permission to go off their diet once in a while it will make the whole endeavor of losing weight a lot easier. And most weight-loss programs cater to this belief by making exceptions into the very structure of their food plan.
Perhaps they allow for a “cheat” meal once a week. Or maybe a whole “cheat day.”
The irony is that building in exceptions doesn’t work. It’s supposed to make it easier to stick with the diet, but for most people it makes it harder. It keeps your taste buds from learning to prefer real, whole- some food.
It keeps your brain from making the changes required for a sustainable shift in behavior and identity. And it keeps you hooked on those “edible food-like substances.”
Some People Can Have Exceptions Though (Unfair)
However these built-in exceptions are effective for some people—the people who are on the “not susceptible” end of the spectrum to food addiction. When they have a craving for a specific food and then they indulge it, the craving goes away.
They eat one serving and no more. Then they go right back to their sensible way of eating and are completely satisfied, often for days. The rest of us watch them do this and naturally expect that indulging in exceptions will work for us, too.
So What Category Do You Fall Into?
So we need to work out in which category do we fall into? Are we susceptible to food addiction or not so much?
The fact that our society doesn’t recognize this is a huge barrier to success for the millions of people who are trying to lose weight
By and large, people don’t push cigarettes on non-smokers, or alcohol on people who say, “No thank you, I don’t drink.” Imagine a world in which, when someone says, “No thank you, I don’t eat sugar,” the host says, “Oh! Good for you,” instead of, “But it’s Sarah’s birthday! One piece of cake won’t hurt you.”
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