Stress Chemically Affects Willpower…But….

Have you ever been totally on track with your diet & eating habits, happy about your overall diet & then get hit with a big bout of stress?


Maybe it’s work related, family related or just a combination of everything but suddenly your willpower to make healthy choices lessens until you no longer care to make those good decisions.


…In fact, you may even feel a bit rebellious – when stress is impacting you & there’s nothing you can do to eliminate the stress, eating poorly seems like a small (albeit inner-child serving) impulse to do one irresponsible thing in your day.


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Don’t worry.  Not only is it understandable from a human standpoint – but even new studies performed in Switzerland prove that even moderate stress led participants to choose food that they liked over food that was healthy.





The Big Why….


The study actually showed that there are neural pathways in the brain that influence a person’s desire for immediate gratification.


When stress is increased, the areas of the brain that help to control willpower are actually affected & the desire for immediate gratification increases.


According to Silvia Maier, a co-author of the study & doctoral candidate in neuroeconomics at the University of Zurich, “The findings show that self-control is mediated by a complex & distributed network in the brain.”


She outlined that any number of disturbances in any of these complex regions of the brain can weaken self-control.



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The Good News…


It’s not all your fault.  The point is that willpower is not 100% a production of your mind thinking through what’s going on & making choices.


There are actually chemicals in your body that are affected, particularly in times of stress – which help to weaken your resolve.




The Big “BUT”…


Then again, knowing that it is not 100% reliant on your own thought processes does not provide an excuse!


If anything, knowing that there are even more things affecting your willpower you need to be that much more dedicated to working against all of these factors & keeping yourself motivated, inspired & dedicated in any & all ways possible!




Motivation Techniques…
Below are some ideas on how to help stay motivated, particularly in times of stress:


  • Mater Mind Group: We all know it helps to talk through the stress, plan to meet for a walk or a workout at the gym while you talk about the issues and think through solutions.


  • Do anything & everything you can to eliminate or reduce the stress in your life – if there are areas that you’ve been avoiding (i.e. talking with a spouse, co-worker) tackle them head-on & get these conversations out of the way as quickly as possible so to reduce the stress as soon as possible.



  • Keep an eye out my new book which helps busy professionals find ways around their high-stake & stressful jobs to still get the body & results that they want: Coming Soon!



To Your Best Health,

ShapeTrainer Daniel Grant




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Stress may sabotage diet willpower:



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