5 Tips to Overcoming Poor Willpower


A handful of people are not tempted by keeping a stash of chocolate or indulgent cheese in their home.

Honestly? I'm not one of those (incredible) people and here is why.

Food is delicious.

When we eat it, our body releases chemicals into our brain that make us feel instantly better. This may help explain why you turn to the packet of chips or bowl of ice-cream in your hour of need. 

If you feel as though you are not emotionally attached to food then you are a superhuman and do not need to keep reading.... Well done. 

For most of us, food is deeply emotional - which can be good and bad. 

We use food to make us feel better after a tough day. We use food to celebrate the good times such as eating birthday cake or drinking champagne. We socialise with friends over coffee, lunch, brunch, a drink, BBQ and more. 

This means that food becomes highly emotional to us, whether we like it or not. 

In an ideal world you could rely on your willpower to help you eat well and exercise. However, in the real world emotions (and life) can get in the way creating distractions.  

Willpower only works when there are no other distractions. 

Life is messy and emotional which means that your willpower will let you down. If we want to be healthy over the long term, you need to rely on more than willpower.

Stop relying on willpower.

Instead, create an environment (your home, your office etc) that will support you to make better choices. 

Surround yourself with good food and you will eat good food.

Buy junk food and you will eat junk food. 

When you create a healthy environment and surround yourself with only healthy options, you no longer need to depend on our unfaithful friend - willpower.

You can trust that what is in your pantry or fridge is food that will nourish you.

So, to help you along, here are my top 5 tips to overcoming poor willpower by creating a healthy environment. 

5 tips to overcoming poor willpower

1. Be mindful

Research shows that if you make the decision before you head to the shops, you will be more inclined to stick to your good intentions. Set your intentions about what you want to purchase and you will be more inclined to stick to your guns. 

Make a conscious decision to keep healthy food in your house before your grocery shop.  It helps to write out a shopping list to keep your on track and prevent mindless purchases. 

If you are able to do a healthy shop at the beggining of your week, you set yourself up for success. 

2. Don't go shopping when you are hungry.

You will be more inclined to make unhealthy food purchases when you are revenous. Rather do your grocery shopping after a filling, healthy meal.

Need some grocery shopping inspiration? I share the foods and products that I buy on Instagram. Check out what I purchase at the grocery shop using the hashtag 

#MyHealthyTrolley. Share snaps of your healthy shopping trolley to inspire others too and I'll give a shout out to my favs. 

3.  Fill your shopping trolley with mostly plants.

Ideally, at least 50% of your shopping trolley should contain plant foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. 

Walk along the outer edges of the shop to pick up your fresh or frozen produce, bypassing the highly processed foods in the middle aisles.

Select certain aisles you want to go down (for example, the aisle with tinned beans and fish) but aimless wondering through the snack (and even 'health' food) aisle may leave you with less than ideal grocery purchases.

4. When you feel like treating yourself - you can!

When cravings hit after dinner, you have two options:

a. You can easily reach for a healthy, sweet and delicious snack like a juicy apple that is sitting waiting to be eaten.

b. Make a trip to the shops. It will be a lot more effort to go buy the chocolate and you will be less likely to go to all the effort. If you do go to all the effort - you must have really needed some chocolate.

'Sometimes' food like cakes, pizza, chocolates and lollies are perfectly fine and can be part of a healthy diet if you save them for special occasions - and don't purchase them every time you go to the checkout. 

Instead of mindlessly puchasing junk food to eat in secret, make an event out of your indulgence. Grab a gelato with your best girlfriend. Share a dessert with your partner at a beautiful restaurant. Order a pizza and salad to share with a couple of mates. 

Indulgent food is better shared with the people you love - not your TV. 

5. If you have too much junk food in the house, give it away.

If you are having guests over, purchase some special foods for the occasion. Avoid the excuse "It is in the house for when guests come over". Only when you know guests are expected should you buy the food. 

Better yet - why not serve your guests healthy food?

If you have hosted a dinner party and have plenty of left overs, be sure to give it to your friends and family before they leave. Freeze what you can and if there is still left over junk, maybe your neighbours will be appreciative recipients. 

Lyndi Cohen