How can we move through really challenging situations with food? Willpower never seems to work. Enter stage left 5 Minute Willpower, its much more approachable and user-friendly cousin. Let’s talk about how to apply the principles of game playing to reclaiming your life from food.


*Stupid Idea of The Week*…courtesy of my local hospital. 

*Main section*

Two examples of people caught in really difficult situations who gamified them in order to survive. What are the commonalities of turning a challenge into a game – the things that make it easier? I discuss, as well as the importance of distraction. Here is a short extract from the accompanying PDF :

A Distraction Thought Experiment

Imagine you are standing in the supermarket aisle, transfixed by junk. There is an intense battle raging in your mind:

Have it.

No, walk away.

I said: Just take it.

No, stop.

I appear at your side.

“If you turn to your left and look down to the tills you will see a very nice lady holding an envelope. In it are two tickets to the destination of your choice and as much spending money as you need. I have also arranged two weeks off work for you. This dream holiday can be yours if you walk away from the junk right now.”

Could you walk away from the junk in that situation?

Of course you could. Because the distraction is so powerful.
Now, you don’t need a two-week holiday to lure you away from the junk every time you get a craving. That was a thought experiment with one aim…to get you to answer the following question:

When you give in to your junk food cravings, is it (a) because you just cannot fight them i.e. inability to do what they know is the right thing – or is it (b) a choice?

If you chose the holiday over the junk, then your only answer is (b).
(Compare this to asking someone with a broken leg why they have not entered a marathon. Their answer is going to be (a) – inability to run)

Now I know that the choice is not easy. But this distinction – choice over ability – gives you your power back. You can now make different choices. And I am going to help you overcome your very natural feelings of resistance.


Play the The 5 Minute Willpower Game at

Episode 29 on willpower:


Jane McGonigal’s TED talk:



The excerpt from Touching The Void:


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Let’s Play The 5 Minute Willpower Game