We all know that you can and need to exercise your body, but are you aware that you can exercise your willpower? This is according to researchers at The Miriam Hospital's Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, who don’t only think that you need willpower to work out, but believe that you need to give your willpower a work-out, too.

The study, ScienceDaily.com reports, was based on data from two similar trials taht focused how much self-control can affect weight watchers. Volunteers attended a six-month weight loss intervention program which included strict diets, sessions with trainers, psychologists, and dieticians, as well as gym time. After six months, the participants were tested for their willpower by seeing how long they can squeeze a handgrip in spite of discomforts such as cramping.

The results of both trials showed those who didn’t let go of the handgrip and those who achieved at least a 10 percent weight loss had an increase in will power, as opposed to those who let go and lost less.

"Our findings suggest that self-control is potentially malleable and the practice of inhibiting impulses may help people lose weight, eat healthier and increase their physical activity. Future weight loss treatments may consider targeting self-control, or willpower, as a way to enhance outcomes," Lead author Tricia M. Leahey, Ph.D., says.

Aside from having self-control and proper discipline, it’s also important to have a clear goal when you’re trying to start an active lifestyle. Saying “I want to lose weight,” has more bearing than mentioning that you want to lose five pounds by the end of the week. This way, your mind and your body will work together to reach that goal, instead of being uncertain of whether you’ve lost enough, or any at all. Also, base your self-control on love--love for your body, that is. When you love your body enough to know that you need to consistently take care of it, then the rest will come naturally.

(Photo by Greg Westfall via Flickr Creative Commons)

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