5 Ways You Can Trick Your Mind Into Eating Healthy

July 14, 2017

            Let’s face it: ALL of us at one point in our lives wanted to lose weight and have a better-looking body. But NONE of us wanted to put in the actual hard work that it takes to have shed those pounds and tone ourselves. Very few people enjoy actually going to the gym and depriving themselves of delicious junk foods while eating other foods that aren’t as tasty as the ones we give up for the sake of being healthy. Luckily, there are very simple and effortless tactics you can employ so you can eat better without putting in extra work!

Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University’s John Dyson school and founder of the Cornell Food and Brand lab, conducted several studies on how environmental cues impact how, what, and why we eat. His research yielded some very interesting discoveries in how seemingly subtle differences in our environment can have a big impact on our consumption behavior.

1. Say what you’re going to eat out loud – if you’re not feeling very hungry and looking for something to snack on to pass time or address the ever-so-slight hunger pang in your stomach, stating your intentions out loud instead of just thinking about it may just defer you from taking action.

For example, if the mood suddenly strikes for you to have chips about half an hour after you had lunch, you could say something like “I just ate so I’m not very hungry but I feel like eating chips anyway.” Then you might say again to yourself “Wait a minute, I JUST ate and I’m not that hungry. Should I really have chips now?” which might deter you from indulging in more than you should (and make you feel guilty but accomplished because you kicked a bad craving.)

2. Use smaller plates and utensils – According to Wansink’s research, reducing the size of your plate by 1-2 inches can cut down your food intake by 23%! Not only that, but using a smaller serving spoon to put food on your plate can lead to a 14% decrease in consumption.

3. Create an ambient, restaurant-like atmosphere – Think about the differences in atmosphere between fast food restaurants and nice, romantic restaurants. Apart from the quality of food, prices, and speed at which you receive your order, what is the most noticeable difference between the two as soon as you walk into these establishments?

The lighting and the music are on different sides of the spectrum. Fast food restaurants have bright lights and somewhat loud music while sit-down restaurants play softer music and dimmer lights. And according to one of Wansink’s studies, people who eat in an environment with bright lights and louder music consume 175 MORE calories than those who eat in rooms with dimmer lights and soft music.

4. Keep track of what you eat – logging your food is simple to do but easy to forget. Using apps like “MyFitnessPal” have millions upon millions of food records in their database, making it easy to input them into their system and gives you nutritional info to boot. A little bit of logging can go a long way, and can help you evaluate your food choices. Which makes sense of course; do you really want to live with the guilt that you ate that extra piece of chocolate cake? Holding yourself accountable by logging your food intake will deter that guilt from gnawing at your conscience.

5. Sleep! If you’re not sleeping, you’re making up for the loss of energy by eating more. If left unchecked, your tired brain will create a vicious cycle that fires happy impulses when you do eat. To prevent this from happening, catch up on your sleep time! 

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