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TWM 31 – How to Strengthen Your Willpower Reserve: Part 1 of 4


How to Strengthen Your Willpower Reserve: Part 1 of 4

Today's Will Power Moment - 31

with Dr. James Meschino

You know most people in our society are not on track when it comes to achieving their long-term wellness goals. As a result, we have seen a significant increase in the impact of lifestyle diseases:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Cholesterol and Blood Pressure – leading to heart disease
  • Cancer – particularly Colon, Breast, Prostate, Endometrial and in the case of smoking, lung cancer
  • Even Alzheimer’s disease, where only 2% of cases are due to genetics and the rest is largely driven by diet and lifestyle factors affecting how the brain ages over our lifetime.

As a spokesperson for one large Life Insurance Company recently stated, “ that while infectious diseases were the big risk factors 20 years ago, the biggest risks these days are lifestyle choices”.

Most people want to eat healthier, exercise more and achieve or maintain their ideal weight, become more fit, increase their lean mass muscle tone etc.The simple formula is

  • Set wellness goals
  • Stick to the plan
  • Achieve the goal

But in daily practice, it’s just not that simple. We’re all good at setting the goal and getting inspired. Where it falls apart is in sticking with the plan each day. The numerous daily temptations and distractions we face can easily pull us off track the moment we let our guard down or find ourselves in a weakened state of willpower reserve. As I mentioned last time our willpower reserve is our in-the-moment capacity to exert self-control that enables us to more easily and automatically make decisions that are in our best long-term interest – decisions that are consistent with our wellness goals.In the last willpower moment video, I asked you to examine in which moments are you most likely to eat the high-fat or sugary foods you swore off, smoke the cigarette, have the extra alcoholic drink, or skip your exercise program that day. Is it when you:

  • Get distracted by other things
  • Are Multi-tasking
  • Are n a hyper-stimulated state – a social function
  • Are at an office board meeting
  • Feel lonely, bored, a bit depressed or anxious
  • Feel tired, exhausted or feeling overwhelmed.

We all have our state of mind where we are most likely to give into temptation, and those states and situations are going to keep showing up in our lives over and over again, day after day. Being aware of the situations when you are most vulnerable and catching yourself in those moment is very helpful – a form of self-awareness that can enable you to make a better decision next time it shows up. However, one of the most important things you can do to stay on track and make it look and feel easy, is to strengthen our willpower reserve, so that you are continually in a state of optimal resistance against the flurry of temptations that will be thrown your way each and every day.

Strengthening your willpower reserve is simply about achieving and maintain an optimal state of mind so you can continually make good in-the-moment choices all day long, day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. So how do you make this happen? By using the simple MDMS Formula, where the:

M – stands for movement

D- stands for Distraction – a positive distraction

M- stands for Meditate

S- stands for sleep (sufficient sleep)

For today let’s tackle the first M (Movement). Studies show that just 15-minutes of power walking on a treadmill (of an outdoor walk, or a power walk of any kind), just 3 times per week, is proven to reduce cravings, as seen in dieters who were tempted by chocolate and in smokers trying to quit who were tempted with cigarettes. Three, 15-minute power walks per week, has also been proven to reduce stress, which itself is a trigger to eat the wrong foods for many people (emotional eaters). It also has demonstrated antidepressant properties. Remember that for many people just feeling a bit sad, or down and depressed can trigger faulty eating patterns that sabotage your wellness intentions in the moment.Overcoming cravings, reducing the feeling of stress and combating the blues, are 3 unbelievable outcomes attainable by 3 simple, 15-minute bouts of power walking each week. That is truly incredible. The truth is that you can turn your local treadmill into your personal willpower generator, by simply doing three, 15-minute power walks per week. The really good news is that it’s practical.  Most people are willing to do three, 15-minute powe rwalks or runs per week. That’s not a daunting task.

So, if you’re not yet exercising, then here is a simple exercise program to start with that will not only improve your fitness level to some degree and burn some calories, but will also strengthen your willpower reserve so you are better able to resist temptations and cravings in the other moments of your life – greatly improving your chances of making real, lasting wellness changes to your health and body shape. So, make sure you go into the goal setting section of the Meschino Wellness Platform and set your goals. It’s all very straight forward once you get into that section. Once you do, start tapping into the three, 15-minute power walk sessions per week to strengthen your capacity to follow through with the goals and strategies you set. And I strongly suggest that you use the Diet and Activity Tracker or your wearable step tracker to log your power walks or jogging program. And most ideally, at the end of each day, check in with The Meschino Wellness Platform for one minute at the end of each day and check off the items you achieved on your Daily Wellness Checklist. (Its right on the Dashboard page waiting for you access it, so no excuses). You have one minute a day to check off your wellness accomplishments.

Okay, step one in strengthening your willpower reserve – Movement. If have not discovered the miracle of exercise yet for your body and your mind, then simply start with three, 15-minute power walks or runs per week. This basic, highly attainable routine is proven in human studies to help you over come the daily food temptations that can pull you off track. This simple movement routine will strengthen your willpower reserve, helping to keep you in a more optimal state of mind, no matter what temptations are thrown your way. So get moving, have fun with it and let the magic of the new you unfold.

Dr. James Meschino

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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