Do you know how many decisions you make every day? From what to wear in the morning, how many coffees to have during the day, to what to eat at night and what movie to watch, an adult “makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day [in contrast a child makes about 3,000]” (Sahakian & Labuzetta, 2013).

“An adult makes about 35’000 remotely conscious decisions each day.”

Neuroscience shows us that willpower is a finite resource. In other words, the more decisions we have to make, the more tired our brain becomes and the less able it is to make good choices. If you add to this the decisions we have to make for others on a daily basis, for our children for example, our brains are quickly cluttered with a multitude of decisions to make. It takes away our ability to focus on the important things and to give ourselves room to create new thoughts. You get the picture, too much in your head leads to less willpower and more stress !

Food is probably one of the most important topics in our daily lives. “It’s lunchtime, what am I going to eat today ?” “How am I going to avoid eating the chocolate in my cupboard now ?” “I am hungry, what can I eat for my dinner quickly ?” Ask yourself how often food (and beverage) is part of the decisions you make during the day. One thing is certain, since the dawn of time, not a day goes by without human beings making a decision about food. What changes in our modern society, with the abundance of food choices and our busy lifestyles, is that it will become more difficult to choose wisely and easily. A real brainteaser !

So, today, I would like to give you two simple, but powerful, tips to reduce the drain on your willpower and to help you make better decisions for your meals :

  1. Plan ahead. If you take just a short moment once a week to plan your lunch and dinner, it will make a huge difference to your decision-making process and the quality of what you eat. You won’t find yourself in the shop at lunch, starving, and choosing the quick solution, which is more often than not the unhealthy option, too.
  2. Avoid temptation. If it’s in your cupboard, you will eat it. So, if you don’t want to be tempted by sweets, crisps and sugary drinks, don’t even buy them! If you don’t have them at home, it’s much easier not to give into temptation, because there is no temptation and therefore less pressure on your willpower!

For this week’s challenge, I would like to invite you to get into “ready mode” and to implement one of the above two tips. Either take some time on one evening to plan the meals for the following week (I recommend Friday or Saturday, so that you can directly go and buy all you need to follow through), or make a list of all the temptations you want to get rid off in your home and make sure you don’t buy them next time you do your shopping! Oh, and I recommend to throw the already present temptations in the bin. It might sound a bit harsh, but if you’ve decided that those things aren’t good for you, then why put them in your body ? It might not be great from a waste-production point of view, but the idea is to follow through long term with not buying them anymore, so you’ll only have to do it once, anyway…