The Odd Relation Between Willpower Motivation And Food

The Odd Relation Between Willpower Motivation And Food

Have you heard of the term hangry? It signifies a state when you are angry because of hunger. During such a time, if you are provided with your favorite food, things usually get easy! There’s a certain lift in mood and upfront motivation that you realize. However, not every food that is emotionally fulfilling will keep you healthy. You need to balance the levels of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to stay fit and in a sound mental state. Our regular eating habits immensely impact our daily lives and moods, paving the way to discuss the odd relation between willpower motivation and food.

Difference Between Willpower And Motivation

Willpower and motivation are closely related terms that greatly affect habit formation. However, people get confused between them and end up jeopardizing the meanings of each.

  • Willpower is the ability to conquer an obstacle and reach a goal, resisting temptation or any other hurdle that comes on the way.
  • Motivation is the driving force pushing you towards the goal. It comes from within or can be gradually infused into someone by rewards and recognition.

The Radish And Chocolate Experiment

In 1996, some researchers devised an experiment to determine participants’ willpower over the unfulfilled promise of chocolates. In the first part of the experiment, they kept 67 participants in a room that smelled of chocolate cookies. And further teased the participants by showing them actual chocolates and other confections. Some people in the group were allowed to have the treats, while others whose willpower was to be tested had to eat radish instead. And obviously, these people were not happy about such a breach of promise.

Willpower Motivation And Food
Consuming common sugar triggers rapid insulin release, lowering blood sugar levels and enhancing dopamine (Image Source:

After completing the food challenge, researchers assigned a second task to the participants. This was about completing a puzzle! However, the effect of manipulation was upright visible. Those made to have radish were less interested and devoted almost no time to solving the puzzle than those who got to eat chocolates. Also, there was a third group who were not part of the food test. They were also equally devoted to solving the puzzle. This proved those who had to resist their temptation had no willpower left to further engage in another difficult task as they were already too tired.

How Does Your Favorite Chocolate Make You Happy?

Moving further into understanding the odd relation between willpower motivation and food, here is what you must learn. Our diet comprises three important components: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. But have you ever thought about why your body always craves sweets (ice creams, chocolates, and candies) when feeling anxious or mentally weak?

We, in general, crave sweets, chocolates, and energy bars, and having those boosts our mood and energy immediately. That is because sugar acts as a direct simulator for the brain. It triggers dopamine – a “feel-good neurotransmitter,” making us feel motivated. The effect of sugar on the human brain resembles a similar action as that of addictive drugs like cocaine. This explains why you crave cookies and chocolates when under stress.

However, consuming common sugar triggers rapid insulin release, lowering blood sugar levels. Thus making one hungry, slowing their metabolism, and increasing fat storage.

Defining The Relation Between Willpower Motivation And Food

Over the years, researchers have come up with intriguing details explaining the relationship between willpower motivation and food. According to them, a healthy diet promotes the proper functionality of the gut and the brain, enhancing the overall capability of the gut-brain axis. There are microbes in the gut that produce neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin. That regulates our emotions and moods – impacting willpower and motivation. According to a team of researchers, the gut microbiome influences psychiatric health, enhancing or decreasing the onset of major depressive disorders.

willpower motivation and food
The food you eat directly affects your mood and health (Image Source:

Also, some studies define how people who eat a lot of nutrient-rich food are less depressed. This plays a major role in understanding the relationship between willpower motivation and food. Eating a bowl of salad does not mean your depression will go off right away. But continuing with this regularly can lift the mood, improve mental health, and enhance motivation.

That is all about deciphering the psychology of food and the ways it affects motivation and willpower. When you want to lead a healthy life, make sure to put loads of vegetables into your food and keep count of the daily calories taken. Remember, sugar will boost your mood for the time being, but in the long run, it is quite harmful.

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