"The Secret Life of Fat"

Because you can't outrun a bad diet!
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby ultraslacker » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:43 pm

"You're an ultrarunner, normal rules don't apply to you." (Doonst)


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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:49 pm

La wrote:
deerdree wrote:thanks, that helps me track down the studies. is he the one who argues that willpower is a finite resource?

I think I mislabeled it as a "finite resource" because that implies that it can't be replenished. What I meant to say is that you can't keep drawing on it without replenishing it.

okay, that makes a bit more sense to me. so when you said, "eventually, we just cave because we don't have any willpower left", it wasn't an inevitability. it just means that you have to find means to replenish your willpower before that happens?

and wansink, from what i've read, would argue that you should rely less on your willpower and more on environmental changes. so instead of keeping the donuts on the counter and relying on self-control not to eat one every time you walk by, you should put them in a cupboard (and better yet, keep fresh fruits and veggies on the counter!).

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby La » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:18 pm

deerdree wrote:
La wrote:
deerdree wrote:thanks, that helps me track down the studies. is he the one who argues that willpower is a finite resource?

I think I mislabeled it as a "finite resource" because that implies that it can't be replenished. What I meant to say is that you can't keep drawing on it without replenishing it.

okay, that makes a bit more sense to me. so when you said, "eventually, we just cave because we don't have any willpower left", it wasn't an inevitability. it just means that you have to find means to replenish your willpower before that happens?

and wansink, from what i've read, would argue that you should rely less on your willpower and more on environmental changes. so instead of keeping the donuts on the counter and relying on self-control not to eat one every time you walk by, you should put them in a cupboard (and better yet, keep fresh fruits and veggies on the counter!).

Yes, to both those things. Relying on willpower is dooming yourself to (eventual) failure. And James Clear talks about setting up routines and habits to bypass the need to draw on willpower, which is similar to Wansink's suggestion to control your environment.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:28 pm

La wrote:
deerdree wrote:
La wrote:
deerdree wrote:thanks, that helps me track down the studies. is he the one who argues that willpower is a finite resource?

I think I mislabeled it as a "finite resource" because that implies that it can't be replenished. What I meant to say is that you can't keep drawing on it without replenishing it.

okay, that makes a bit more sense to me. so when you said, "eventually, we just cave because we don't have any willpower left", it wasn't an inevitability. it just means that you have to find means to replenish your willpower before that happens?

and wansink, from what i've read, would argue that you should rely less on your willpower and more on environmental changes. so instead of keeping the donuts on the counter and relying on self-control not to eat one every time you walk by, you should put them in a cupboard (and better yet, keep fresh fruits and veggies on the counter!).

Yes, to both those things. Relying on willpower is dooming yourself to (eventual) failure. And James Clear talks about setting up routines and habits to bypass the need to draw on willpower, which is similar to Wansink's suggestion to control your environment.

gotcha. makes sense!!

thanks for the links (you and holly). i'm actually working today :lol: so i haven't had time to look through them. i understand how you measure willpower and the marshmallow experiment, but i'm curious about how they measure diminished willpower, because it seems like yes/no thing (i.e., did they eat the marshmallow or didn't they?) versus was it harder not to eat the marshmallow?

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby Habs4ever » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:41 pm

I was thinking about willpower while I was out today. Is it really willpower or is it a choice we make? (I'm asking because I honestly don't know.)

If I say I'm not going to have a cinnamon bun for 2 months, I won't. It's off limits, that's easier for me to deal with.
If I say I'm going to try and use my willpower to not have any cinnamon buns for 2 months, I know I won't succeed. Ive already given myself an excuse to have one. I'll just say I have no willpower and give in.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby IronColl » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:08 pm

deerdree wrote:
La wrote:
deerdree wrote:thanks, that helps me track down the studies. is he the one who argues that willpower is a finite resource?

I think I mislabeled it as a "finite resource" because that implies that it can't be replenished. What I meant to say is that you can't keep drawing on it without replenishing it.

okay, that makes a bit more sense to me. so when you said, "eventually, we just cave because we don't have any willpower left", it wasn't an inevitability. it just means that you have to find means to replenish your willpower before that happens?

and wansink, from what i've read, would argue that you should rely less on your willpower and more on environmental changes. so instead of keeping the donuts on the counter and relying on self-control not to eat one every time you walk by, you should put them in a cupboard (and better yet, keep fresh fruits and veggies on the counter!).


So avoiding it is better than learning the skills to deal with the situation? Not a perspective I can get on board with.

ETA - not something I can get on board with as a strategy right from the start. I can think of 2 situations where I use avoidance as self preservation because even though I have the skills to confront the situation, it won't resolve it so I don't bother. So maybe that's not really avoidance. Where's our psychologist?
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:24 pm

Habs4ever wrote:I was thinking about willpower while I was out today. Is it really willpower or is it a choice we make? (I'm asking because I honestly don't know.)

If I say I'm not going to have a cinnamon bun for 2 months, I won't. It's off limits, that's easier for me to deal with.
If I say I'm going to try and use my willpower to not have any cinnamon buns for 2 months, I know I won't succeed. Ive already given myself an excuse to have one. I'll just say I have no willpower and give in.

I'm not sure I understand the difference between your two scenarios - except that in one you say you were going to try, and in the other you just said you wouldn't. But both involve self-control, no? The thing that stops you from eating cinnamon buns when you say they're off-limits is willpower. Unless you have someone following you around snatching them out of your hand!

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:37 pm

IronColl wrote:So avoiding it is better than learning the skills to deal with the situation? Not a perspective I can get on board with.

ETA - not something I can get on board with as a strategy right from the start. I can think of 2 situations where I use avoidance as self preservation because even though I have the skills to confront the situation, it won't resolve it so I don't bother. So maybe that's not really avoidance. Where's our psychologist?

i was going to say that american psychological association lists it as one strategy to strengthen self-control:

Avoiding temptation is one effective tactic for maintaining self-control. In Walter Mischel’s marshmallow study (in which preschool children had the choice between eating one marshmallow immediately or waiting an unspecified amount of time for two marshmallows), the children who stared directly at the treat were less likely to resist it than were kids who closed their eyes, turned away, or otherwise distracted themselves. The “out of sight, out of mind” principle applies to adults, too. One recent study, for instance, found office workers who kept candy in a desk drawer indulged less than when they kept the candy on top of their desks, in plain sight.


but interestingly, if you keep reading, the studies they cite are in direct conflict with the studies la mentioned that say, "willpower is not like a muscle". they argue the exact opposite:

Willpower may also be made less vulnerable to being depleted in the first place. Researchers who study self-control often describe it as being like a muscle that gets fatigued with heavy use. But there is another aspect to the muscle analogy, they say. While muscles become exhausted by exercise in the short term, they are strengthened by regular exercise in the long term. Similarly, regularly exerting self-control may improve willpower strength.


http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

so... i don't think there's much consensus on this?

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby IronColl » Tue Feb 28, 2017 6:49 pm

deerdree wrote:
IronColl wrote:So avoiding it is better than learning the skills to deal with the situation? Not a perspective I can get on board with.

ETA - not something I can get on board with as a strategy right from the start. I can think of 2 situations where I use avoidance as self preservation because even though I have the skills to confront the situation, it won't resolve it so I don't bother. So maybe that's not really avoidance. Where's our psychologist?

i was going to say that american psychological association lists it as one strategy to strengthen self-control:

Avoiding temptation is one effective tactic for maintaining self-control. In Walter Mischel’s marshmallow study (in which preschool children had the choice between eating one marshmallow immediately or waiting an unspecified amount of time for two marshmallows), the children who stared directly at the treat were less likely to resist it than were kids who closed their eyes, turned away, or otherwise distracted themselves. The “out of sight, out of mind” principle applies to adults, too. One recent study, for instance, found office workers who kept candy in a desk drawer indulged less than when they kept the candy on top of their desks, in plain sight.


but interestingly, if you keep reading, the studies they cite are in direct conflict with the studies la mentioned that say, "willpower is not like a muscle". they argue the exact opposite:

Willpower may also be made less vulnerable to being depleted in the first place. Researchers who study self-control often describe it as being like a muscle that gets fatigued with heavy use. But there is another aspect to the muscle analogy, they say. While muscles become exhausted by exercise in the short term, they are strengthened by regular exercise in the long term. Similarly, regularly exerting self-control may improve willpower strength.


http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower.aspx

so... i don't think there's much consensus on this?


The marshmallow analogy isn't a fair comparison because the kids are getting the marshmallow anyway. It's not an exercise in willpower per se but in delayed gratification.

I see it more as the muscle that needs to be exercised. I can see the perspective where it is more difficult to exercise when you are feeling tired or stressed, but ultimately it is a choice. So I take my comment back about willpower depletion and how I see the validity of that.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby Jwolf » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:23 pm

Re: Willpower-
For me I think about it terms of mental energy and the ability to focus on many things at once, but it's basically the same thing-- I find I don't have the mental energy to focus on too many goals in my life at once before I start to feel stressed and paralyzed. Right now work is taking all my mental energy (although that's about to change-- yay!) which means it has been impossible for me to focus on food choices and my training plan. A base-level of training falls into place easily without a plan and I can just go with it, but trying to focus on something bigger like a half-ironman was making me so stressed. Likewise, I can eat with a fairly good baseline level of reasonable nutritious choices, but the focus required to lose weight isn't there. Now that work needs less of my focus, I can turn to the other things.

There's also the "tipping point" analogies.

When my kids were younger I knew I couldn't work full-time in a high stress job and be a good parent, so I focused on the parenting and worked part-time -- until this year.

I know there are people who have a high multi-focus capability. I'm not one of them.

So you can tell me that I just don't have enough will-power and it's in my control, but I don't believe you-- because I know something in my psyche breaks down before I can manage to focus on everything.
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Re:

Postby Habs4ever » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:53 pm

deerdree wrote:
Habs4ever wrote:I was thinking about willpower while I was out today. Is it really willpower or is it a choice we make? (I'm asking because I honestly don't know.)

If I say I'm not going to have a cinnamon bun for 2 months, I won't. It's off limits, that's easier for me to deal with.
If I say I'm going to try and use my willpower to not have any cinnamon buns for 2 months, I know I won't succeed. Ive already given myself an excuse to have one. I'll just say I have no willpower and give in.

I'm not sure I understand the difference between your two scenarios - except that in one you say you were going to try, and in the other you just said you wouldn't. But both involve self-control, no? The thing that stops you from eating cinnamon buns when you say they're off-limits is willpower. Unless you have someone following you around snatching them out of your hand!

In the first one I'm choosing not to have a cinnamon bun for 2 months, knowing in 2 months I can have them. When I make that conscious choice, I know I'll succeed because I've already made the choice that I will succeed.
The second one, I'm saying I'll try not to have one. I feel this gives me the excuse to have one whenever I want, because I'm just saying I'll try, and I guess maybe I've already made up my mind that using the word "try" gives me the out I need to have one. But instead of saying I'm choosing to have one, I can just say I lack willpower, because then I don't have to own up to my own choices.

I know what I'm saying in my mind, but I guess I'm not explaining it right! All I know is now I want a cinnamon bun (and pancakes) :lol:
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby Jwolf » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:51 pm

The difference in your two scenarios is not the word "willpower." It's the word "try." That's what gives you the out, not calling it "willpower."

Willpower is just what we call our mental conviction. In the first scenario, it takes willpower to follow through with your decision.

At the same time, making a conscious choice doesn't guarantee that you will succeed. I can make the conscious choice to change my diet. It doesn't mean I am going to definitely succeed. I wish it were that easy.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:23 pm

Power of will vs will power.... :think:
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby ultraslacker » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:49 pm

and then there's just having the will to begin with.

I know that lately I haven't even wanted to have willpower because I just don't care at this point. Willpower has to be preceded by a will to accomplish something.

(hopefully I get mine back at some point!)

Like Jen, the more other things I have on my plate or on my mind, the more food choices get pushed to the background and I eat whatever is convenient and easy. Tonight that's KD. (at least I put veggies in my KD! lol!)
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby purdy65 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:06 am

Suggested reading in this topic: Gretchen Rubin - Better than Before. Basically talks about the power of habit, but focus on on how how different personality types develop habit. Regarding willpower, she suggests there are two types - abstainers and moderators. I am a moderator. I can have a couple of bites of a cinnamon bun, or have one every two months, and craving satisfied. Abstainers cannot have cinnamon buns in the house or they will get eaten.

Also, when something becomes habit, decision making and willpower become unnecessary. Running is something I just do, like brushing my teeth. I don't to decide whether or not to do it. The difficulty is getting to that point.

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby IronColl » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:13 am

I did the quiz. I'm a questioner. That's totally me as I ask a lot of questions and like to do research.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby Habs4ever » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:22 am

IronColl wrote:I did the quiz. I'm a questioner. That's totally me as I ask a lot of questions and like to do research.

No surprise there.
No surprise for me either, I'm an obliger.

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:28 am

i'm normally dubious of quizzes and surveys unless i can review the methodology used to create it, but i tend to agree with what i got. i'm with habs!

Obligers respond readily to outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations. In other words, they work hard not to let other people down, but they often let themselves down.

Obligers may find it difficult to form a habit, because often we undertake habits for our own benefit, and Obligers do things more easily for others than for themselves.

For Obligers, the key to forming habits is to create external accountability.

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby IronColl » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:19 am

Habs4ever wrote:
IronColl wrote:I did the quiz. I'm a questioner. That's totally me as I ask a lot of questions and like to do research.

No surprise there.
No surprise for me either, I'm an obliger.


Haha not a surprise!

If there is no will power or power of will you'd need to figure out why, and that's not necessarily an easy task. Why would you need to hide the cinnamon buns. Is there an underlying reason? If the thought of walking by them makes you anxious isn't that something that should be addressed?

I'm a problem solver. I like to get to the root of something and work upwards from there. Again, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone!
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby ultraslacker » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:23 am

I got questioner but on most of the questions I didn't really feel that any of the answers described me, so it's a bit random.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby Jwolf » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:28 am

ultraslacker wrote:I got questioner but on most of the questions I didn't really feel that any of the answers described me, so it's a bit random.

Yeah I agree. I don't buy the idea that we can be put in such absolute categories.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:35 am

IronColl wrote:If the thought of walking by them makes you anxious isn't that something that should be addressed?

i'm torn with this - i generally agree with your earlier comments about learning to deal with situations rather than avoiding them because i've seen the benefits of behavioural therapy in other aspects of my life.

but for me, the idea of not walking down the chip aisle in the grocery store doesn't translate in the same way. the problem isn't that walking by them makes me anxious, the problem is that i'll buy them. :lol:

so i don't see that strategy as "avoidance" in the same way, because it's not avoiding a situation that i fear, it's avoiding a situation that i know will cause me problems. :think: when i was first doing WW, i used to purposely walk down the chip aisle to prove to myself that i could do it without buying any. similarly, in that past i've started a diet and kept candy on my desk to 'test' myself. but these days if i walk down a chip aisle and see that they're on sale, and hey, they're even cheaper when i buy more than two bags.... i cave.

ideally, i could walk down a chip aisle and not even notice them, but i guess i wonder if it's worth testing myself like that if i know i'm going to fail. avoiding the chip aisle just seems like the easier solution, and sometimes the easy way is hard enough.

now, if it were something like, "i avoid going to parties because i know there will be junk food", THAT i would see as problematic behaviour. so i guess it's a matter of degree for me. or, back to what we learn in CBT, if something is interfering with your life, you should address it. but i don't really see avoiding an aisle in the grocery store as interference.

interesting to think about!

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby IronColl » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:47 am

Then addressing the issue of why has the attitude changed is important. You used to be able to expose yourself to chips and now cannot. Why? You don't have to be anxious but you are still avoiding the activity for some reason. If you are avoiding the chip aisle for now, but are working on the tools so in time you are able to do it, then it's avoidance but with a purpose and goal in mind.

Black and white.
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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby deerdree » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:23 pm

IronColl wrote:Then addressing the issue of why has the attitude changed is important. You used to be able to expose yourself to chips and now cannot. Why? You don't have to be anxious but you are still avoiding the activity for some reason. If you are avoiding the chip aisle for now, but are working on the tools so in time you are able to do it, then it's avoidance but with a purpose and goal in mind.

Black and white.

yeah - part of it might be that i'm thinking in terms of 'strategies to lose weight'. for now, testing myself in the chip aisle has proven counterproductive to that goal because i keep failing. so from a weight loss perspective, it's not the best strategy.

i guess what i wonder is whether the avoidance strategy can't be a permanent one in this case. when i was doing CBT, one of the questions we'd use to motivate change was, "what am i missing out on by not doing this activity?". and i wonder, what am i missing out on by not walking down the chip aisle?

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Re: "The Secret Life of Fat"

Postby ultraslacker » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:26 pm

For me, avoiding the chip aisle doesn't even help.

I don't go down that aisle when I'm grocery shopping. I don't keep junk food in the house.

I get a craving in the middle of the day and make a SPECIAL TRIP to the store to buy my junk food. Like the other night when I walked to 7-11 to buy icecream. Didn't need it, didn't have it in the house, just got a craving and went and bought it. I clearly have NO self control. :/
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