Sheri’s Rants #48: WILL POWER DOESN’T WORK!

Posted on December 20, 2010 by


Christmas is in a few days – and I want to bring your attention to the fact that it’s not Christmas you have to look out for in terms of eating clean.  Many many people are successful in staying clean and taking good care of themselves on Christmas; it’s usually a day we plan heavily for.

No, it’s not Christmas that will ‘get you’.  It’s the 3 days afterward that you need to watch out for!

Will power is a limited commodity.  No one has an inexhaustible well of it.  As I always say, ‘if it’s in your house, you will eat it.’ And the days following Christmas are especially prone to this dynamic.  (Reality?  It’s in your house for a reason.  That reason is because you’re planning on eating it, whether you can cop to that consciously or not!)

You have ‘x’ amount of will power.  Unfortunately around the Christmas holiday we use much of that up in ways that ‘don’t count’ – avoiding the cookie trays at parties and social events, steeling yourself against the smells of baking in the air, avoiding the very baking you are doing in your own kitchen for ‘other people’, cringing at the plate of peanut brittle your neighbor presses on you, averting your eyes at all the chocolate when you’re shopping, and the counter full of re-gifted baked goods and fudge at work – this all takes it’s toll on that limited will power you possess.

Christmas is an emotional time of year for most everyone.  Full of stress, anticipation, sugar, alcohol, family, and expectations – most of us crash the day after.  And with this crash comes the unexpected surprise of the needle on empty when it comes to our will power.  All gone.  No refills available.   However what IS available – in full force – is all that crap you’ve been using your will power to avoid all these weeks.  Make no mistake – many other folks are trying to foist all the sugar of the season somewhere else, too.  That’s how it all ended up on that counter at work!

Will power works great if you’re rested, have a full belly, are content and expecting to do your best.  It doesn’t work so hot when you’re stressed, emotionally taxed, whelmed or flat out exhausted.  In fact, it evaporates very quickly.  It is not a reliable energy source.

You can rely on preparation and planning.  Here’s some quick tips:

1.  PLAN OUT the days following Christmas.  I say, for three days – know what you will eat, have that food in the house, and if possible, prep or prepare it ahead of time.

2.  Do not slack on drinking water.  Keep it close by at all times.  Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger – especially if there is fudge involved.

3.  Ask people to take home whatever sugar they’ve brought to your house.  If they will not do that, it goes into the trash.  (many times folks shove the leftover sugar baked goods into the freezer.  that works too – but ask yourself what you are saving it for!)  TAKE ACTION on any sugared baked good immediately – BEFORE your will power runs out.

4.  EXPECT to run out of will power.  KNOW it is going to happen and PLAN for it.

5.  Plan on resting the day after Christmas.  Have all that planned out and prepped food on hand, and treat yourself to a day of REST.


Posted in: Sheri's Rants