If you are anything like most people, on January 1 you re-committed or maybe committed for the first time to taking care of your health. I know I did.
After competing in my first fitness competition at the end of October, I seem to have ignored my better judgement and indulged in a few too many _______ (insert sweet treat of choice here). Christmas has come and gone and now my Lululemons and their forgiving stretchiness are making a few too many appearances outside of the gym for my liking.
A few weeks after the New Year I have been going to the gym consistently and Eating Clean. My meals are evenly spaced 2-3 hours apart with a protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. BUT… after 3 weeks of clean eating the treats are calling to me. My willpower is starting to show signs of strain and the cookies in the cabinet during my daily coffee run are a little harder to look past than they were on January 2nd. Maybe you know this feeling?
But did you know that every one of us is going through an internal battle with those cookies? Let me introduce the players:
- In one corner we have the Devil on your shoulder, the Ventromedial Prefrontal Contrex or VPC
- In the other corner we have the Angel whispering in your ear, the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex or DPC
For all of November and December I was siding with the Devil, strengthening him, helping him, cheering him on. My Angel was getting pretty trampled on and all of a sudden I expect him to rally? It doesn’t work that way!
Science has shown that when you choose immediate gratification (think the lovely taste of chocolate), your VPC fires all by itself and that little Devil’s neuropathways get reinforced. But when you choose long term gratification (think six pack abs), both the VPC and the DPC fire and slowly the DPC’s pathways get reinforced. As you choose delayed gratification more often that Angel gets stronger and pretty soon he’s able to beat the Devil every time.
Finally, science proves that willpower is the same as a muscle! So stay strong… keep siding with your Angel and pretty soon choosing an Eat Clean Frittata instead of a bowl of lucky charms will be a piece of (Eat Clean) cake!