LOSE IT! - - Lose It! -

of us have ex­pe­ri­enced the pos­i­tive changes that come af­ter a cou­ple of months of eat­ing LCHF: we sleep bet­ter, have more en­ergy and fo­cus, lose weight and gen­er­ally feel so much bet­ter than we did be­fore that we can’t imag­ine ever be­ing tempted to go back to a carb-soaked life.

Eat­ing the LCHF way scores bet­ter than al­most ev­ery other way of eat­ing in terms of longevity – that is, be­ing able to make it a life­style, rather than a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion. But the very fact that we feel so much bet­ter so soon can be prob­lem­atic for many of us: we feel so sure of our newfound well­be­ing and re­solve that we think the odd splurge here and there won’t be a prob­lem – we have it all un­der con­trol.

But a re­cent story in Psy­chol­ogy To­day, which looks at ad­dic­tion and self-con­trol, tells us why this can be such a dan­ger­ous at­ti­tude. ‘The big­gest self-con­trol chal­lenge is to main­tain the dis­ci­pline not just for days or weeks but for a long du­ra­tion,’ writes Shahram Hesh­mat, PhD.

So far, so good. Af­ter that the story gets a bit weird, but stick with us be­cause we think it of­fers what could be a use­ful tool: Hesh­mat sees our strug­gle with self-con­trol as a con­flict be­tween our present and fu­ture selves. The idea is that all of us are tran­sient to some ex­tent – we will not be the same per­son to­mor­row as we are to­day, or even over the course of one day: ‘For ex­am­ple, the in­di­vid­ual who in the morn­ing prefers to avoid overeat­ing might pre­fer in­dul­gence in the evening,’ he says – some­thing we can def­i­nitely re­late to!

So the ‘best’ de­ci­sion for Present You is of­ten not the best de­ci­sion for Fu­ture You. The prob­lem is that even though both You’s know that cut­ting carbs makes you feel bet­ter, the de­ci­sion not to eat that de­li­cious-look­ing pasta al­ways de­pends on Present You, and Present You is some­what un­re­li­able when it comes to mak­ing the right de­ci­sion for Fu­ture You. For Present You, the eas­i­est choice may be to give in to temp­ta­tion, leav­ing the prob­lem of get­ting back on track to Fu­ture You: ‘I’ll start (again) to­mor­row.’ Which means you will never be suc­cess­ful, be­cause you will al­ways have to make that de­ci­sion in the present, and it be­comes a habit to de­fer it to the fu­ture.

The so­lu­tion? Not to make de­ci­sions on a case-by-case ba­sis, says Hesh­mat. Present You and Fu­ture You need to col­lude for your well­be­ing; we need to re­alise that Fu­ture You de­pends on Present You to do the right thing – and then we need to do it. All the time. ‘Let’s do this!’ Un­til next time THE LOSE IT! TEAM

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