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When Dieting, Don't Rely on Self Control Alone

Posted Feb 08 2010 2:00am

When you are dietingyou'll find that self-control is a limited resource. So use it wisely and sparingly.

Youof courserelay on this limited resource when you want to regulate your emotionsdelay gratificationand resist temptation. Can you replace this limited resource and save your self-control only for times when you really might need it?

There is a way. It's self-affirmation. Self-affirmation research shows that affirming yourself can help you override your impulses and control your behavior. An added benefit of self-affirmation is that people who affirm their core values have fewer defensive responses to ego threats. Looks perfect for dieting and losing the weightdoesn't it?

Here's what you do. Think about why your core values are important to you. This will give you a broader-mindedbigger picture view of you. Affirming yourself through examination of your core values will give you more focus on long-term goals and greater flexibility in the interpretation of your immediate behaviors. Self-affirmation also limits negative feedback and other threats to how you think about yourself.

To startit could help to write down 10 of your values and 10 of your positive personal characteristics. Then rank what you've written in the order of how important each one is to you.

Keep these self-affirming thoughts firmly in mind when dieting and trying to lose the weight. Put the willpower-depleting acts of self-control away for a rainy day.

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