HOW TO FAIL:
1. Go on a diet.
2. Vow to give up certain foods.
3. Don’t eat.
Not eating requires willpower and willpower requires eating.
Willpower is fueled by glucose from the foods we eat. Low glucose means low willpower in addition to an increase in cravings for sugary foods: a scenario none of us can win.
HOW TO RESCUE:
1. Pick one small change instead of several large ones. Willpower is exactly like a muscle: the more we use it the faster it gets exhausted. Changing too much wipes out our willpower and we fail. (This is why resolutions typically don’t work.)
2. Spread your calories throughout the day by eating several small meals and snacks. This keeps glucose levels steady and fuels your willpower. If you committed to a different way of eating, please don’t starve yourself or go long periods of time without eating. You must eat to lose weight, both from a mental as well as a physiological perspective.
3. Create environments conducive to change…things like eating off smaller plates, keeping tempting foods out of sight and asking your waitperson not to bring chips or bread to the table ahead of time. These simple things preserve your willpower for times when you really need to use it.