Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Willpower: Budget Wisely

Books like this get my attention: Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life.
Authors Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, writing for the New York Times, cite scores of research showing we have a fixed will power budget, one that we should be careful spending.

"If we tap into this neural reservoir and use it on one thing, we have less for others," says psychologist Daniel Goldman. "Tasks that demand some self-control make it harder for us to do the next thing that takes will power...Some neuroscientists suspect that self-control consumes blood sugar, which takes a while to build up again, and so the depletion effect."

The flip side is that, unlike our assumption that we are born with a fixed amount of brain goo that depletes over time, science now confirms the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day that migrate to where they are needed. Once there, each cell makes around 10,000 connections to other brain cells over the successive four months.

As a result, each time you exercise will power, you strengthen your brain’s "executive center" - located just behind the forehead. Learning to delay gratification in one area like food increases your ability to resist impulse buying at the store, for instance. (Remember our recent conversations about how developing discipline in one area - like food choices - improves our performance in other areas - like C25K?)

I suspect this is valuable information - not only for adults like us who are retraining our brains, but also for those of us who want to give our children and grandchildren a head start on healthy living.

Healthy You Challenge 2008

This week, I'm pleased to report the brain and body cooperated to produce another two-pound loss, bringing the totals since January 15 to 37 pounds and 31.5 inches lost. That means we’re 57 percent toward the goal of losing a total of 65 pounds in 33 weeks, or by August 12.

BMI: Start 33.9 / Current 27.9 / Goal 23.4 or less
Waist-to-hip ratio: Start .94 / Current .85 / Goal .80 or less

11 comments:

betsy said...

WAY TO GO on your loss... it's super you know exactly where you are in your journey to your goal!

have a great week!

briy said...

Wow! :) You're doing so awesomely... Another two pound loss? You're practically disappearing!

And thanks for this information.. it really does play into just what you're suggesting, and what I've been theorizing in my head lately too: doing better in one area will make it easier to do well in another one.

Good luck with C25k this week! Knowing you're on my heels makes me run a little faster. :)

Take care!
~briy

amma15 said...

definitely valuable info, thanks!

Sunny said...

Congratulations on your loss! You are doing amazing and are right on target for hitting that goal of yours! Have a great week!

Hanlie said...

Well done on the loss! You are doing so well!

Holly said...

WOWOWOW You are doing amazing!!!

Slenderella said...

Hurray on the loss! Interesting info on the brain. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Manuela said...

Wow again on the 2 pounds. Your program is obviously working well for you.

All the best in reaching that goal!

Cammy said...

Excellent loss for you this week! Count me in as thrilled!

Thanks for the book tip. I'll definitely check it out!

Mama Bear June said...

Congrats on the loss! You are making great progress and lots of healthy choices!
Path to Health

40 by 40 said...

That is really interesting and something to look into. Your weight loss is incredible! Hard work and willpower paying off. ENJOY your successes!