On willpower…

I am currently reading an interesting book that doesn’t really have anything to do with food or nutrition but there was one section about willpower that I thought was particularly interesting and somewhat relevant to wellness and healthy living.




If you have ever wondered why it is much easier to resist certain temptations but not others, it turns out there is a scientific explanation for that. Willpower is like a muscle; it can be strengthened with training but “like a muscle [it] becomes fatigued from overuse.” [source]

If you are having a stressful day where you need willpower to deal with a work situation (not to become frustrated, to stay on task) or if you have already used willpower to resist some other temptation – the willpower muscle can become fatigued and making decisions later in the day will feel more challenging. Thus, cookies at 4 pm might be so much more difficult to turn down than the muffins at 10 am.

willpower 2


The book* also states: “diets are broken in the evening, not the morning. The majority of impulsive crimes are committed after 11:00 pm. Lapses in drug use, alcohol abuse, sexual misbehavior, gambling excesses and the like tend to come about late in the day.”

This is probably why so many successful dieters have a” no eating after 8 pm rule” – it eliminates the need to make any decisions when your willpower might be at its weakest. This may also be why most active people find it best to exercise early in the morning. Get that decision out of the way when your willpower is still strong.

What do you think? Do you find that your willpower decreases later in the day or if you are having a stressful day?


*The book I am referring to is: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam, find it on Amazon here



1 Comment

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One response to “On willpower…

  1. Lindsay

    Oh my gosh, I’m so glad that is an EXPLANATION for this!!! I’m worthless after 4pm. And I always need to have junk food at that time as well! Now if there was only some magical answer on how to get the willpower back! Thanks for this – very interesting!

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