I had a great meeting over coffee with Dr. Robert Pasick this morning. Rob is a PhD psychologist, expert executive coach and keynote speaker. We talked about his books Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced Times and Conversations with My Old Dog, and the book that Ian and I co-wrote 101 Ideas to Kick Your Ass into Gear.
Beside being a remarkably creative and energetic person, Rob is fascinated with how the human mind and nervous system work. When the subject of healthy eating and weight loss came up, he told me about the studies he’s read that relate to willpower. In a nutshell, Rob said, we have only a limited amount of willpower in each day, and once that’s exhausted, we’re likely to fail on any decisions that require it. That’s why so many diets are scuttled by the last hour or two of the day – when you’re tired from work, family, household chores and you’ve exhausted your daily quota of willpower, you’re much more likely to give in to temptation calling out to you from the refrigerator or pantry!
That’s one reason that weight management systems like Weight Watchers work better than simply “dieting.” Depriving yourself is fine, but besides the fact that your metabolism will reset itself to accommodate fewer calories each day, you are likely to run out of willpower before bedtime. Too much day left at the end of the diet! But regimens like Weight Watchers provide you with meals, desserts, and so forth, so instead of having to eat nothing, you get to eat something, even if it’s not exactly what you might be craving.
I eat a modified version of the Paleo Diet, Atkins Diet, or South Beach Diet. What that means is that I eat very few processed carbs, few grains, and lots of vegetables, meat, nuts, and mushrooms. I really don’t struggle much to stay on the diet, because I don’t deprive myself, I just substitute. At the end of day, when I really crave sweets (baked goods and ice cream are my favorites), I simply eat as much as I want of other “snack” items – apples, oranges, carrots, kiwi, blueberries, walnuts, cashews, and almonds. I usually go to bed feeling full, but my weight, I’m happy to say, is almost exactly where I want it to be.
Have you tried to diet? Have you used any of the branded diet systems? What did you find was the hardest part of the day? And, most importantly, what dietary regimen made you feel the healthiest, most energetic, and most alert?