Have you ever noticed that the first time a decadent indulgence is offered, you let it pass by easily, but when that same temptation is presented a second and third time, your resolve isn’t quite as strong? Eventually, you grab the plate, popping in the bits of fat and sugar with frightening fervor. You toss self-control to the wind, accepting your weakness as an inevitable character flaw. But could it be more than that? Is something else causing your reckless abandon?
If recent studies are correct, yes. When researchers examined how self-control affects the body, they found that with each display of restraint blood-glucose levels dropped. And as the levels decreased, so did self-control. Repeated tasks were completed with more difficulty and performed with less skill.
To support these findings, scientists gave participants either a glass of artificially sweetened lemonade or lemonade with real sugar in between tests. Those who ingested the real stuff maintained their initial level of ability. A little replenishment and they were fine. So should you grab a spoon and start shoveling sugar whenever temptation rears its ugly head?
What do you think?
You should not walk away from this study with a renewed sweet tooth. However, you should recognize that your exercises in self-control are hard work. It’s not something that will simply happen because you want it to. Don’t begin your limitations with over the top goals. Start small and build from there. And don’t severely restrict your diet to the point of depletion. If the aforementioned study has taught us anything, it’s that we must maintain regular glucose levels to maintain our eating self-control. Small, evenly spaced meals throughout the day should keep your stomach happy and your resolve strong.
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