Stress, lack of willpower bust the best intentions
When it comes to trying to make our lifestyles more healthful, most of us mean well. But sometimes life just gets in the way.
A poll of more than 2,000 American adults conducted by the American Psychological Association in March found that just over half had resolved at New Year's to make a health-related change, from losing weight, exercising more or eating more healthfully to cutting back on booze, quitting smoking or getting more sleep.
But while about 90 percent of those who made such resolutions reported some progress toward their goals, 78 percent said their progress had been limited by obstacles such as lack of willpower (which 33 percent said was holding them back), trying to make changes alone (24 percent) and experiencing excess stress (20 percent).
Sad as they are, those numbers sound low to me. Seems everyone I know is stressed out these days, myself included. In fact, as I attempt my own little Me Minus 10 weight-loss campaign, I'm acutely aware of the role stress plays in messing up my best-laid plans. My willpower is just fine -- until stress rears its head and reminds me there's a nice tub of ice cream in the freezer. (It's for my kids. Really.)
The APA recommends talking over your goals with friends, family members or "a professional, such as a psychologist, who can help navigate feelings and gain skills to successfully change behavior." The organization also offers help on its Web site, Twitter and blog.
How big a role do stress, lack of willpower and a feeling that you're going it alone play in your efforts to live healthfully (or, in particular to lose weight and keep it off)? Talk to me here in the comments section, and tweet with me here.
Jennifer LaRue Huget
March 30, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Me Minus 10 , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity , Psychology
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