Because a firm body starts with having a firm mind.
Eating a more plant-based, less processed diet not only gives your body a steady supply of energy, but eating clean, nutritious food makes that energy more available to your brain, which can strengthen your willpower. More nuts, less chicken nuggets.
Being busy screws with your self-control. Planning puts willpower back in the game, so even when you’re rushed, you can make effortlessly good food choices. Keep a stash of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge to keep you going when you’ve got more than 4 hours between meals. This feel good snack contains amino acids, which dilate blood vessels so oxygen flows more easily and you’ll find it easier to tick off your to-do list on a busy day. Almonds are a great snack to stash in your handbag as they are high in a heart-healthy fat called oleic acid that can boost memory.
3. Be subtle
Change ‘I can’t’ to I ‘don’t’. Why? ‘I can’t eat crisps’, means ‘I’m not allowed to eat crisps’, and forbidden foods are impossibly desirable. Give your willpower a fighting chance but saying, ‘I don’t eat crisps’. Because you’re actually saying, ‘I prefer not to eat crisps; they don’t make me feel good’. The difference is subtle, but empowering.
If you describe yourself as a latte lover or a fried chicken fiend, people will constantly push those temptations in front of you. They think they’re doing you a favour. Do yourself a favour and rebrand. Tell friends you’re obsessed with green juice, because you can practically feel those antioxidants replenishing your body. When you’re choosing where to go for dinner, tell your partner you’ve got a thing about grass-fed steak. When you talk the talk, it naturally follows that you walk the walk.
Learning how to manage your stress better, even if its just taking a few deep breaths when you feel tempted, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your self-control. So as you stare at a counter full of glazed pastries, take a few deep breaths to gather your willpower and order a feelgood fix instead. Black coffee sweetened with a dash of cinnamon or a piece of fresh fruit with some raw nuts will see you right.
Article extracted from The Feelgood Plan (Ebury Press, £14.99), Photography by Philip North-Coombes is out now.