Day three of my return to that wasteland of teaching my body it will HAVE to convert to using fat for fuel instead of the easily available glucose/sugar in carbs. It is pissy about that, and so I am tired, cranky, hungry, and annoyed that I am back here. Especially so soon. And it doesn’t help that I think it is more difficult this time, because I have so recently flipped back and forth, so my body is holding out hope that if it suffers me just a little more… Well, it ain’t gonna work. I’m done.
But that does mean that I am thinking a lot about willpower.
One of the more interesting things I’ve read about lately is “decision fatigue” — that peculiar phenomenon we have all experienced where we get so sick of making decisions that we wind up either preferring the status quo or making bad/reckless decisions. One of the more striking articles I read recently was talking about geniuses/innovators, who do things like have a “uniform” (jeans, soft collared shirt, hoodie, sneakers) that they don to avoid making that a decision.
This makes great sense to me. The more routine decisions we can make ahead of time, the more energy we have left to make OTHER decisions.
So what is decision fatigue, exactly? I won’t be able to summarize better than this article from the New York Times, but you should read it and think about the implications. No, really. Go read it. I’ll wait.
OK, so let’s think about this:
- Making too many other decisions makes you reckless.
- Making decisions uses up your willpower.
- Glucose refreshes your willpower.
I think THAT may be one reason Medifast has been so effective for me. The decision is made on what to eat. The glucose (10 grams of carb at a time) gets replenished very regularly, every 2-3 hours so even though I definitely get rumbly in the tumbly, as Pooh would say, I don’t get low blood sugar/sick/headachey hungry.
I also think that maybe why everything gets so exponentially harder when I pile more and more things on my “to do” plate for weight loss. “Eat the Noms, let that be all you eat all day, plan one healthy meal a night for five nights (for the family) and make one healthy selection at a restaurant on the other two.” Done and done. Add in “you really need to be walking. You really need to take those vitamins. you really need to do your skin brushing. you really need to drink your water…” and soon I am worn out.
Unless, of course, I make it the routine. Then i am not spending any decision energy/ego on doing them, because they just happen on autopilot.
Lots to think about here, but it is sure nice to have validation for my “make everything a routine” preferences! 🙂