If you’re working on losing weight, don’t put temptation in your path, because you will most
likely be unable to resist, say researchers who conducted a recent study on self-control.
For the study, researchers looked at the effectiveness of willpower versus voluntarily restricting access to temptations (such as avoiding purchasing fattening foods) — a strategy that is known as “precommitment.”
Healthy male volunteers were given a series of choices. Some rewards were mildly enjoyable, while others were extremely enjoyable. For some choices, the small reward was continuously available. The subjects had to exert willpower to resist choosing it until the large reward became available.
Meanwhile, for other choices, the subjects were given the opportunity to “precommit,” and
decide in advance that they would not forego the small temptation.
The researchers found that advance decision-making was more effective than self-control in the face of temptation. They also found that the most impulsive people (those with the weakest willpower) benefited the most from such advance decision-making. The study appeared in the journal Neuron.
When you go shopping, avoid buying tempting foods that may not be healthy for your heart
with the idea that you will use willpower to deny yourself them in the future.
Instead, fill your cupboards and refrigerator with healthy foods, so you can enjoy eating and maintain or lose weight.
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