January 2, 2013
Queendom.com, a pioneer in online personality tests, has released its newest study on willpower and the ability to keep resolutions. Queendom’s research reveals that women may have a little more difficulty staying away from temptation and sticking to healthy habits this year.
It’s an unmistakable trend: the sudden, overwhelming influx of new faces at the gym. Parking? None. Empty locker space? Gone. Favorite cardio machine? Overtaken by someone who clearly doesn’t realize that she’s using it backwards. Gym regulars know how this scenario will play out though. So they’ll swallow their frustration, hop on a squeaky stationary bike, and wait out this typical, two-month trend until most of these new people give up on their New Year’s resolutions. The question is, what turns a gym newbie to a gym regular? And which gender is more likely to stick to their health resolutions?
Queendom.com assessed 230 men and women on their level of willpower when it comes to keeping resolutions to stay healthy. For everything from food to exercise, Queendom researchers attempted to determine which of the two groups was more likely to give into temptation…delicious, lazy, leftover turkey temptation. Queendom’s study reveals that men outscored women on willpower 65 to 61 (on a scale from 0 to 100). Women, however, seemed to be prepared for defeat, as only 46% of them rated their willpower as “good,” compared to 61% of men. According to Queendom’s research:
26% of women admitted that they would temporarily break their resolution to eat healthier and opt for comfort food if they went through a stressful week at work, while only 18% of men would do this. 40% of men would look for healthier ways to reduce their stress, compared to 24% of women.
If pressured by a friend to “pig out” (after eating healthily for an entire week), 7% of women would totally give in, 46% would only share some of their friend’s junk food, and 47% would stay disciplined and eat healthy. For men, 8% would give in, 41% would share, and 51% would stay disciplined.
65% of women said that they would be willing to join a gym by themselves, compared to 79% of men.
After being given a strict boot camp workout by a trainer, 23% of women said they would stick to it faithfully, 62% said they would reduce the intensity and work out at a slower pace, and 14% said they would cut the workout by half, and put in less of an effort. 49% of men said they would stick to it, 41% said they would reduce the intensity, 10% said they would cut their workout by half.
When asked whether they can name 3 things that motivate them to work hard and be a better person, 54% of women had a clear set of motivators compared to 61% of men.
57% of women said that their motivation to be healthier involves a mix of aesthetic reasons (to look good) and health reasons (to feel better). 36% cited strictly health reasons; while 7% said they just want to look good. 41% of men are motivated by a mix of aesthetic and health reasons, 53% strictly for health reasons, and 6% strictly for aesthetic reasons.
“Change and self-improvement isn’t an easy process, especially after spending the holidays indulging on chocolate-covered this or deep-fried that,” says Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Our research shows that neither men nor women whole-heartedly embrace lifestyle change. But with the New Year comes a great deal of introspection, and we know that we have to bite the bullet and either adopt or drop some habits. This is where the women in our sample seemed to struggle. This doesn’t mean that they can’t successfully achieve their resolutions – they just may take a little more time and need more support to get there. So don’t despair if you fall of the healthy bandwagon and want to give up one month into your resolutions…what matters most is that you get back up again.”
Here are some tips that Queendom.com offers:
First, accept that change takes time. Years of unhealthy habits (physical, physiological, and emotional) are not going to be erased overnight. Hard to hear, but it’s true. The good news is, 30 days is all you need for new, healthy habits to sink in. Once you get used to going to the gym on a frequent basis, it’ll actually feel weird not to go! Breaking unhealthy food addictions will also be so much easier if given the time to take root. After a while, the cravings won’t be as strong. Bottom line: give yourself time to change.
Remember, exercise does NOT need to be extreme. If you haven’t worked out in a while, start slow. It’s the sweat-inducing, high-intensity, too-much-too-soon kind of exercise that often discourages people. The bottom line is, the best exercise routine is one that you’ll stick to. So if you find that you need to drag yourself to the gym or your treadmill at home, it’s not the right routine for you. There are many exercise options that are fun and can help you stay fit, like swimming, belly dancing, spinning, kickboxing, nature walks, and step classes. You can also look into the latest advances in interactive video games. Begin with 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week, and then add a day and 10 additional minutes every 3-4 weeks.
Find a supportive weight loss buddy. Whether it’s someone in your life now, or someone you meet online on a weight loss website, find someone you can share your pound-shedding journey with and offer mutual support. That’s not to say that you can’t lose weight alone, but it’s always great to have someone to turn to when you feel your motivation faltering.
Learn to identify when you are really hungry. One critical component to ending poor eating habits is re-learning to recognize your body’s signals for hunger and satiety. This innate response has been lost on a lot of people! Try not to eat accordingly to the clock or because other people are eating. That stage when your stomach first starts to rumble should be your cue – just don’t wait until you’re absolutely famished.
Remember, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods! Just eat them less often. This doesn’t mean spending an entire day binging on your beloved chocolate cake, or having nothing but fast food. It means eating healthy most of the time, and allowing a moderate indulgence for one meal. Weight loss author Tom Venuto recommends a “90/10 compliance rule,” where 90% of your meals are healthy, and the remaining 10% are your “free meals” (rather than “cheat meals”).
Individuals who wish to assess their willpower can go to: