The Not-So-Secret Link Between Blood Sugar and Willpower
Willpower is such a large, looming concept in the diet and fitness world. Do you have the willpower to resist those sweets? Do you have the willpower to count every calorie? Do you have the willpower to get up early every morning to run on the treadmill? As most of you know, I advocate gradually incorporating clean eating instead of dieting, and adding movement into your life in small increments to get active. Taking realistic steps is important, but willpower is still needed to start seeing results. But did you know there’s a not-so-secret link between your blood sugar and your willpower?
When you’ve been eating very little all day or skipped a meal, you often end up starving at bedtime and eating high-fat, high-sugar things to fuel your low blood sugar. Binge eating at night is a perfect example of what happens to our willpower when our blood sugar levels get too low: it plummets. I am always harping on eating a healthy breakfast to keep your blood sugar stable, as well as eating consistent, smaller meals throughout the day to feel satiated—and studies back me up in this recommendation. Research has shown willpower could actually be related to our blood sugar levels and stress the importance of keeping blood sugar levels stable in order to boost our willpower.
This may seem like an obvious statement: when you’re starving, it’s harder to turn down sweets. But the truth is, keeping your blood sugar stable increases your willpower and conviction to carry out all your healthy choices: from your diet to your workouts. And if keeping your blood sugar levels stable is one of the best things you can do to increase your willpower, increasing your willpower is one of the best things you can do to create lasting change.
So when you find yourself fighting the urge to polish off that pint of ice cream or putting off another workout, consider what you’ve had to eat that day. Did you skip breakfast? That might be the reason those 10 am break room doughnuts are so hard to resist. With a protein-packed meal in your stomach and stable blood sugar, you’re less likely to binge eat later on or skip out on a workout.
Exerting willpower in various areas of your life can be hard at first, especially if you are trying to make changes in multiple areas of your life at once. But the first baby steps of making healthy changes are always the hardest. Start simple: try to eat smaller meals more consistently throughout the day to give your willpower a much needed boost.
If you want to give your willpower a boost and get a jump start on healthy eating, check out my cookbook, CHOOSE THIS! My cookbook offers healthy and yummy recipes made with real food. Plus, there isn’t a recipe that takes more than 30 minutes to make. The recipes could start you down your path to a healthier you!