Achieving your ideal shape takes willpower. It’s easy to hit the ground running on Monday. Tuesday usually looks pretty good, too. But by midweek, our willpower starts to lag and one by one our healthy habits fade until Friday becomes a “free for all.”
As CEO of IdealShape I’ve observed time and again that willpower is a limited resource. We use it up every time we box half of our restaurant meal for leftovers. Every time we turn down social plans to fit in a workout. Every time we pass a vending machine or avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store. So it’s no wonder our willpower starts to lag after a few days of going strong!
Wednesday is a good time to pause and replenish your willpower. Here are five ways that I maintain my healthy lifestyle during the week. See if any of these work for you!
1. “Cheat” on Wednesday.
Sometimes an explosion of willpower on Monday actually sets us up for failure halfway through the week. If you find yourself crash(diet)ing and burning by Friday, then a little balance midweek might actually help you sustain your willpower. For instance, rather than saving your cheat meal for the weekend, consider enjoying it midweek instead.
2. Replenish your healthy snack stash.
We’re always more likely to grab what’s handy. So if you want to eat more apples and fewer chips, make healthy food convenient, while putting junk food out of reach. Sometimes this requires planning, so Wednesday is a good day to parcel out healthy snacks for the rest of the week and stock up on new ingredients to include in your meal replacement shakes.
3. Cross something off your to-do list.
It’s tempting to ride the Monday momentum and try to accomplish as much as possible in the first part of the week. But getting stressed can deliver a blow to your willpower, creating a downward slide for our healthy habits. This comes back to balance. Sometimes it’s better to push a few tasks out to Thursday or Friday in order to keep willpower strong. After all, “slow and steady wins the race.”
4. Eat every three hours.
Hunger leads to bad choices, literally increasing our desire for junk food and decreasing our self-control. We can avoid this by staying satisfied with frequent meals. Choose snacks that are filling or use an appetite suppressant during the times you tend to crave unhealthy food. Staying strong during the day is one thing, but for a lot of us the evening is when we start to backslide, so a hunger-blocking dessert shake might help you avoid runaway TV-time munchies. Ideally, you should aim for five small meals a day, roughly three hours apart (see 3-Hour Fat Loss for details).
5. Get some sleep.
Okay, this one might not be “easy,” but it’s worth the effort. Most adults need 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night. Even just mild sleep loss can trigger high-fat and high-sugar cravings, and there is a clear link between sleep deprivation and excess weight. Look for ways to buy an extra half-hour of sleep, such as trading a 45-minute gym session for a 15-minute high-impact workout at home, or learning how to fall asleep more quickly.
What helps you get through the week? Let me know in the comments.