Another Upside to the Down Economy?

April 4, 2008 at 3:07 am 1 comment

The current economic situation may have another benefit besides encouraging us to eat healthier, locally grown food that’s less expensive because it’s cheaper to produce and transport. Cutting back on spending may help us to drop pounds later on.

Another NY TIMES article, Tighten Your Belt, Strengthen Your Mind, notes:

“Interestingly, restraining our consumer spending, in the short term, may cause us to actually loosen the belts around our waists. What’s the connection? The brain has a limited capacity for self-regulation, so exerting willpower in one area often leads to backsliding in others. The good news, however, is that practice increases willpower capacity, so that in the long run, buying less now may improve our ability to achieve future goals — like losing those 10 pounds we gained when we weren’t out shopping.”

I struggle with this very issue myself on an almost daily basis. I’m on both a physical and a fiscal diet, and I sometimes find it tremendously difficult to do both at the same time. But, as I’ve worked on both plans over the last five and a half years, I’ve gotten better and better at them simultaneously. Practice does make perfect… or at least significantly improved.

What do you do if you’re just getting started on trying to achieve two willpower-based goals at once?

“In the short term, you should spend your limited willpower budget wisely. For example, if you do not want to drink too much at a party, then on the way to the festivities, you should not deplete your willpower by window shopping for items you cannot afford. Taking an alternative route to avoid passing the store would be a better strategy.”

What a great suggestion! Why test yourself more than you need to? Save your strength for when you’ll really need it. I’ve applied that principle many times during my lifestyle change, and it works whether it’s not having a certain food in the house or avoiding the mall.

It’s especially nice to know that I can continue to become more disciplined as long as I keep working at it.

“Whatever the explanation, consistently doing any activity that requires self-control seems to increase willpower — and the ability to resist impulses and delay gratification is highly associated with success in life.”


Entry filed under: news around the blogosphere. Tags: , , .

The Upside of a Down Economy? One more reason to skip the Chex Mix!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. A Question of Discipline « Sassy Sexy Shapely  |  April 13, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    […] disciplined than I am?  What would it take to develop that strength, that willpower?  I know, from the article I read recently, that the more I work at it, the better I’ll get.  That’s what sustains me right now; […]


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