The Secret To Self Control

There's no doubt about it.

Athletes with great bodies have more self control than the average person.

Lean people have more self control than fat people.

If you want to lose your man boobs and have a great athletic body, then having more self control would really help.

But isn't self control something you either have or you don't?

Well, it's true that some people are born with more self control than others.

Most Olympic athletes were BORN with more self control than regular folk like you and me.

But that doesn't mean you can't TRAIN yourself to have more self control.

There is a new science of self control that's really powerful when you get into it.

You can learn about it in this short 15 minute video:

The secret to self control | Jonathan Bricker | TEDxRainier

Here are the main points in the video:

  • Willingness means allowing your cravings to come and go while not acting on them by eating unhealthy.
  • This is not about willpower, or powering through your cravings.
  • It's about dropping the struggle with your cravings, opening up to them, letting them be there, and making peace with them.
  • Conventional wisdom tells us to IGNORE the cravings, to say “NO” to the cravings, to TURN OFF the cravings like a light switch. But we all know by now that trying to turn it off is futile. You can't turn it off, and maybe you don't have to, maybe you can leave the light on.
  • Sometimes we are not aware of our cravings, we are running on autopilot, just eating junk all the time. The first step then, would be to become AWARE of your cravings. Notice where you feel cravings in your body. Journal it and track the intensity over time and see if you give in to the craving. Don't fight it, just observe.
  • Do the “I'm having the thought” exercise: let's say you crave a tub of ice cream every night before you go to bed. You might have the thought, “I'm hungry and I want to enjoy myself before I go to bed, I'm going to have my ice cream”.

In this case you add the phrase, “I'm having the thought”, like this: “I'm having the thought that I'm hungry and I want to enjoy myself before I go to bed, I'm going to have my ice cream.”

Then add the phrase, “I'm noticing”, like this: “I'm noticing I'm having the thought that I'm hungry and I want to enjoy myself before I go to bed, I'm going to have my ice cream.”

This exercise gives you SPACE between you and your thoughts. And it's in that space that you can choose not to ACT on the thought.

You can do this with any type of negative thought.

  • The secret to self control is to give up control.

If you don't give up control, then every time you have a craving it's like getting into a tug of war with a monster. The monster always wins and you end up eating that ice cream.

What you need to do is let go of control, drop the rope, and let the monster occupy a space in your body. You'll discover in a few minutes that the craving monster is not as threatening as he appears. And sometimes he even goes away.

  • The idea is to be WILLING to have those cravings, don't fight them, and see if they'll pass on their own.

My Thoughts

The main message in this video is this:

It's ok to have a craving.

When you have a craving, you don't have to fight it.

Just become aware of it it.

Accept that you have a craving.

Realize that you can choose not to ACT ON the craving.

Just let it be there.

Let a moment pass without acting on the cravings, and the craving soon disappears.

Jonathan Bricker, the guy in the video, describes this approach as “willingness”, i.e. willingness to accept cravings.

I know of others who describe it as “mindfulness”, i.e. being mindful and aware of your cravings and the fact that you don't have to act on them, as opposed to running on autopilot and thinking you MUST act on your cravings.

There are lots of books, videos and articles around this topic, and I highly recommend you get familiar with it. A powerful book I read on this topic some time ago was Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen:

But there is a huge flaw in this approach that the authors don't address.

See, there is a difference between psychological cravings and biological cravings:

  • A psychological craving is a dysfunction of the mind, where your mind thinks it needs something, but it doesn't.
  • A biological craving is an actual need, where your body is trying to tell you that you need some nutrition to keep you healthy.

This willingness/mindfulness approach can eliminate psychological cravings. It can HELP with biological cravings, but it can't eliminate them.

To eliminate biological cravings, you have to give your body what it needs.

A biological craving can manifest as a craving for ice cream, but what your body is really asking for, is MICRONUTRIENTS in the form of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from nutrient-dense food.

The craving for ICE CREAM when your body actually wants MICRONUTRIENTS, is a dysfunction of your mind.

So the best approach is to use willingness/mindfulness to deal with psychological cravings, and to eat nutrient dense food to deal with biological cravings.

So sure, using mindfulness to eat less junk food is a great thing, but it's equally important to use mindfulness to replace that junk with GOOD food that fulfills your body's biological need for micronutrients.

When you avoid junk and replace it with nutrient-dense food, you'll boosts your testosterone levels, lose your man boobs, build muscle, burn fat, fend off disease, boost your energy levels, boost your vigor & longevity, and boost your health.

The biological part is what all these mindfulness gurus miss out on.

They tell you it's not important WHAT you eat, as long as you have control over how MUCH you eat, but that's a loada B.S., and the science confirms it.

The science confirms that WHAT you eat is far more important than how MUCH you eat. When you take care of the WHAT, the how MUCH takes care of itself, even without mindfulness, because when you give your body the micronutrients it needs, the cravings go away automatically.

Mindfulness is important though, it's a powerful tool, please do use it, but please also always remember that WHAT you eat is far more important, and I go into detail about WHAT to eat and what NOT to eat to both lose your biological cravings AND to lose your man boobs in my program, How To Lose Man Boobs Naturally:

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