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How to Increase Your Willpower

Proven tips for avoiding temptation

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  • 2. Willpower increases when you feel good about yourself.

    How's this for a catch-22? "Willpower is strongest when you're already feeling good about your body image and health," says Susan Bartell, PhD, author of Dr. Susan's Fit and Fun Family Action Plan: 301 Things You Can Do Today. "That's because willpower uses so much of our emotional resources. And there aren't enough left when we're feeling stressed, angry or sad." The moral, according to Bartell?

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    3. Willpower decreases when you're PMSing or ovulating.

    Our estrogen levels surge just after ovulating and before we get our periods, causing our bodies to release stress hormones like cortisol, explains Bartell. This triggers a fight-or-flight response—our bodies think harm's coming our way, so they tap our fat stores for a quick burst of energy. This makes us crave carbs and fats, the ideal fuel for a fight-or-flight situation. Toss in the bad moods that come with PMS, and willpower can bottom out completely because we may think that eating will make us feel better. What to do? Question whether you're really hungry before you grab that chocolate bar.

How to Increase Your Willpower
Proven tips for avoiding temptation
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