Most dieters will agree…
One of the hardest parts of sticking to any healthy eating plan is dealing with cravings.
That is, until now.
Losing weight has never been easier, with what some are calling the “Imagination Diet.”
As it turns out, the key to eliminating the great temptation of a craving is to eat as much of the foods you crave – in your own mental fantasy.
The researchers wanted to find out if “imagined habituation” (thinking something over and over again – kind of like a habit) could play a role in curbing appetite.
Habituation is similar to the principle of diminishing returns. For example, have you ever craved chocolate… and then caved in?
Eating one piece of chocolate tastes great and exciting; but as you continue eating more… the fourth and fifth pieces don’t have the same level of pleasure as the first. With each bite that follows, your desire for the chocolate drops. That’s habituation.
It’s why you can get “sick” of eating too much of the same food. After a while, it becomes commonplace and loses its appeal.
In order to determine exactly how the imagination can affect how much we eat, the researchers divided the subjects into two groups.
The first group was told to imagine eating 30 M&M chocolate candies and putting three quarters into a slot.
The second group was told to visualize putting 30 quarters into a slot and only eating 3 M&Ms.
Then, the team of researchers got a large bowl of M&Ms and asked the subjects to have as many as they wanted. This was done under the pretense that they were doing a “taste test.”
After the subjects ate the M&Ms, the researchers weighed the bowl to see how many grams were consumed. This was done without the subjects knowing.
The Results – Eating in Your Imagination Curbs Appetite
It turns out that eating in your mind does in fact make you eat less in the real world.
The group that imagined eating 30 M&Ms ate half as many as the group that imagined eating only 3.
And in case you think this was a fluke – it wasn’t.
The researchers tried this experiment on four more separate occasions with different groups of people.
The ratio stayed the same. Those that imagined eating more of the M&Ms ate 50% less than those who imagined eating only three candies.
According to Carey Morewedge, the lead researcher in this study, “Merely thinking of a food does increase our appetite for the food. But if we perform the mental imagery that would accompany its actual consumption, this kind of thought actually decreases our desire for the food.”
How this can Help You
This recent research confirms what we in the hypnosis community have known all along: Your mind is the most powerful ally when it comes to losing weight and getting fit.
Because imagining something in your mind creates the same physical responses in your body as if you were experiencing that thing in real life… Pretty Crazy!
So next time you find yourself craving that burger… or that piece of chocolate… imagine eating it a few times first. Then, see if you find yourself eating less when you do indulge.
Let me know what happens. I’d love to hear how this little insight works out for you.
Here are a couple of good studies I’ve recently run into, both of which made me stop, reflect, and lay down – just a few minutes earlier than usual. It’s a good start, right?
Study 1 – Sleep Loss Linked To Muscle Loss
Ideally, when you lose weight, the goal is to lose pure fat while maintaining (or for some, gaining) lean muscle, right?
While it is nothing new that sleep habits are linked to body weight, a recent study by the University of Chicago reveals a fresh connection between the two.
They have shown that, while dieting, sleep deprivation can actually lead to a loss of muscle mass.
Their study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, followed the sleep patterns of 10 overweight men and 10 overweight women, and took place in the controlled and observable setting of a sleep lab.
The study took place over two separate two-week periods.
All of the participants were kept on the same reduced calorie diet for each of the two week periods.
During the first two week period, the participants were required to sleep for 8.5 hours per night, which sounds pretty nice to me!
For the second two week period, the participants slept only 5.5 hours per night – and remember the participants’ diets stayed the same during both weeks.
The Results – Sleep Protects Muscle
Senior researcher, Dr. Plamen Penev, reported that during each two week period, about 7 pounds were lost, on average, by all of the participants.
However, Dr. Penev notes that “the composition was different,” of the pounds lost during each period.
To clarify, when study participants got 8.5 hours of sleep, more than fifty percent of the weight lost was from pure fat. This is what we want when looking for successful weight loss!
When participants slept only 5.5 hours, it was discovered that only one quarter of the weight came from fat – and what is most telling, 55% of the loss was from lean tissue.
Lean tissue is muscle and other non-fatty tissue! This is not what we want to lose!
Real World Application
Dr. Penev and his team also reported that during the 5.5 hours per night sleep period, the participants reported being hungry more often – even though the participants stayed on the same diet during both trials.
So, what does this mean in the real world?
Odds are fairly good that if the participants had not been in a controlled environment, they may have decided to eat something not on their diet plan and would have less of a chance to lose weight.
One thing this study does not address is the duration of the “perfect night’s sleep” that each person needs for their nightly rest to also aid in weight loss.
The researchers could not make a universal claim because everyone’s requirements are different, says the study’s co-author, Dr. Shahrad Taheri.
In conclusion, this study adds to the research on sleep habits and weight loss, and suggests that if you’re trying to lose weight by reducing calories alone, you should pair your diet with a full night’s sleep to ensure you’re losing pure fat and not muscle.
(Also – one thing I thought of that is not mentioned…exercise wasn’t a factor here – I bet that by adding that to the mix, the results could be totally different, but that is for another article.)
The Take Home
The researchers leave us with some lasting advice, regardless if we are trying to lose weight or not.
They suggest we all take the time to learn the unique rhythms of our own bodies. Notice how “refreshed” you feel when you wake up from a solid night of sleep –for some it may be 8 hours and for others only 6 to 7 hours.
Allow yourself to sleep in and find out! Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to participate in that experiment?
Study 2 – Turn Off the Night Light
I emailed a few of you about this already, but I wanted to share again…an article just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that you may gain weight just by sleeping with a dim light on, like the glow from a night light.
Researchers discovered that mice exposed to dim light during their sleeping hours gained 50% more weight than mice sleeping in total darkness.
To test the significance of the light in relation to other factors, the researchers went ahead and reduced the calorie intake of the mice sleeping with the dim light on, and they added also more exercise to their routine.
Even with this intervention, they still gained more weight than the mice sleeping in total darkness – pretty crazy stuff.
The authors of this study, from the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychology at Ohio State University and the Israeli Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Chronobiology at the University of Haifa, also found that the mice not sleeping in total darkness experienced glucose intolerance (a pre-diabetic condition).
It is too early to tell if this study will translate in the exact same way to humans.
However, common sleep help advice suggests you stop using anything with an artificial glow – like watching television or playing on your laptop or cellphone – a couple hours before you go to bed.
So, if that is true, and this study is true for animals, I would assume that there has got to be a relationship between sleeping in dim lights for humans, too.
Starting tonight, I’m going to un-plug my Mickey Mouse night light and I am going to try to turn in – in complete darkness – at a consistent time every night…wish me luck.
PS – If you’re interested in reading more on this important health issue, check out our past article: http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/secrets-of-sleep-revealed on shift-work disorder and the health issues for those who lose sleep when switching late night work shifts.
Sources: Nedeltcheva, Artlet V., et all. “Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity.” Annals of Internal Medicine. October 2010. Vol. 153, no. 7: 435-441.
Bedrosian, T.A., Fonken, L.K., Walton, J.C., Haim, A., & Nelson, R.J. “Dim Light at Night Provokes Depression-like Behaviors and Reduces CA1 Dendritic Spine Density in Female Hamsters.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. October 2010. Published Online.
As part of my commitment to staying current on the research, I have stumbled upon two pretty important pieces of research that may surprise you. So let’s get to it.
1. As Long as You Don’t Add Sugar, You can Drink Alcohol and Still Lose Weight…
A popular myth is that you can drink clear alcohol and as long as you count the calories in the alcohol (7 calories per gram) you will be fine. Because carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram – the reasoning is that 7 calories in alcohol are simply calories and nothing more.
Well, according to research carried in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, alcohol puts the brakes on fat metabolism (your body’s ability to burn fat as energy) in more ways than one. In the study, eight people were given two vodka drinks separated by 30 minutes.
Fat metabolism was checked both before and after each drink. It turns out that even hours after drinking both drinks, fat metabolism dropped by an incredible 73%. What is happening?
When you drink alcohol, your liver converts it into a substance called acetate. (The acetate levels in the subject’s bodies were 2.5 times higher than normal). And it is the acetates in your body that make losing blubber almost impossible.
Your body prefers burning acetate to all other sources of fuel (fat being one of them), and basically shuts down its normal process of burning off any other source of energy.
In other research, alcohol has been shown to increase appetite. When you combine alcohol with meals, studies have shown you tend to eat more. And since the alcohol is going to serve as your body’s primary source of fuel, all the calories go directly to your waistline.
And finally, alcohol increases your cortisol levels and decreases your testosterone levels for about 24 hours after you imbibe. And this definitely is not good for trimming down or adding muscle!
2. Healthy Additions Are Slimming…
According to some new research from the Kellogg School Management at Northwestern University, a core contributing factor to obesity is our belief about the relationship between a meal’s healthiness and its impact on weight gain.
People mistakenly believe that eating healthy foods in addition to unhealthy ones can decrease a meal’s calorie count.
In the study, 934 people were asked to estimate the calorie count of several meals. Some were shown “unhealthy” meals, and others were shown the same meals with a healthy option.
An example is that some people were shown a bowl of chili alone – and others were shown the same bowl of chili with a small green salad. Other food pairs included: a cheeseburger with celery sticks, a cheese waffle sandwich with a small apple, and a meatball pepperoni cheese steak with a celery-carrot side dish.
The results were pretty scary. Those who viewed the chili alone thought it contained 699 calories. Those who saw the same bowl with a green salad thought it only had 656 calories!!!
So, by “adding” healthier food, people thought the calorie count went down.
Researchers call this, “The Negative Calorie Illusion,” and it applied in all four food pairings. Even worse is that this illusion was TWICE as strong in people who are considered “weight-conscious.”
So now you know: if you are counting calories you have to stick to the numbers. Healthy additions will bias the estimated damage of your meals.
Knowledge is Power
I hope this information has been helpful. There are plenty more weight loss myths out there! If you know of any, please put them in the comments section below. I am going to compile a big list and share them later.
Also, please join our Facebook fan page and start commenting there as well. We are developing quite a community.
By now, you’ve probably seen the pictures of Drew Carey all over the ‘net (or here, taken from the ‘net) – he has lost over 80 pounds since January. He looks great, and he has firmly committed to keeping it off.
How did he do it?
His key (and yours, and mine) was and is good old fashioned exercise and a brand new menu.
His new regimen is quite strict – in addition to the “no donuts” rule he made for himself (good call there), he has taken a huge step to cut out grains and processed carbs completely!
In addition to changing his diet, he has committed to exercise as well, and hits the gym 5-6 times per week for 45 minutes each session.
But it was probably plastic surgery, or some miracle pill, right?
We read those rumors earlier this year, too. We had heard that thanks to his connections in Hollywood, he was taking a custom made nutritional supplement to curb his appetite. (Do we smell a cheater?!)
Now we are reading that this is not true, and Carey himself insists it is not true either.
He reported to People Magazine: “There’s nobody really standing over me. I do work with somebody who gives me advice on what to do, how many minutes to run, what my heart rate should be and all that kind of stuff.”
Straight from the horse’s mouth! (Or should it be “pony” considering he has lost so much weight?)
The Best Part
Thanks to Drew’s new healthier lifestyle, he has actually been able to get rid of his diabetes!
He was a Type-2 diabetic, and thanks to losing weight and becoming healthier, Carey reveals he is no longer considered diabetic and has stopped taking medication!
Carey continues to encourage himself – when he saw how his determination paid off, now wearing a 33 inch waist pant (down from a 44 inch waist), he became more determined to lose even more weight and regain his health:
“I like being skinny,” says Carey. “I was sick of being fat on the camera. Really, I just got sick of it.”
If the Price is Right host, who seemingly has every short cut method to losing weight just sitting there at his fingertips, instead chooses the old fashioned way of eating right and working out, is there any excuse left for us?
Pills Don’t Work
If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you know that popping pills does not help. Yes, you may lose weight, but you do gain it back – and usually you gain even more than you lost!
At the same time, however, it makes sense to want to try those pills. First, the commercials make them look like demigods in a bottle, and second, it is really hard to stay on a strict diet.
However, committing to a decent meal plan and moderate exercise is really the only tried and true way to take weight off and keep it off. You’ve got to have that desire, like Drew did, to want to change your lifestyle.
It looks like Drew made a change in the way he thinks about himself in order to make his incredible transformation; hopefully he keeps it up.
If you want me to discuss strategies that might allow you to make this kind of transformation, please comment at the end of this post. We have a lot of experience here!
You have probably heard that the best way to lose weight over the long term is slow and steady.
You might have also heard that if you lose weight fast that you will just gain it back.
BUT NOT SO FAST
According to a study published in May 2010:
“Losing weight at a fast initial rate leads to greater short-term weight reductions, does not result in increased susceptibility to weight regain, and is associated with larger weight losses and overall long-term success in weight management.”
The study continued by stating:
“We suggest that, within lifestyle weight control programs, substantial efforts should be focused on promoting large rather than small behavioral changes during the initial weeks of treatment.”
It seems as if this new research contradicts the old adage about weight loss that we have all heard: lose weight slowly and it will stay off longer.
So which one is right?
This new study was conducted at the University of Florida, led by Lisa Nackers. It was published online in the May issue of Springer’s International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
The researchers were trying to find out if keeping weight off for a long period of time (months after completing an obesity treatment program) was easier to do if:
In the first month of treatment, the participants lost weight very quickly or slowly?
To test this, 262 middle aged obese (BMI over 30%) women were enrolled in strict diet and exercise programs. Each woman was given a personal plan that would result in consistently losing 1 pound per week.
After the first month, the ladies were split into three groups, labeled FAST, MODERATE, and SLOW, depending on how much weight they had lost.
The FAST group contained women who had lost 1.5 pounds each week. The MODERATE group lost between .5 and 1.5 pounds, while the SLOW group lost under .5 pounds each week.
They continued the study for six months and, of course, the FAST group lost the most weight, followed by the MODERATE GROUP, and then the SLOW group…
No surprises here, but read on.
18 Months Later
Contrary to the popular belief that if a person loses weight too quickly, they are more likely to put it back on – the FAST group kept on going.
After 18 months (12 months on their own), the researchers checked in with the ladies for the final time. The results determined that members of the FAST group were five times more likely to achieve their goals of 10% weight loss.
And, most importantly, they were able to maintain their new weight after 18 months.
The researchers also calculated that ladies in the MODERATE group were three times more likely to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals than the SLOW group members.
So is Losing Weight Fast the Secret to Long Term Weight Loss?
You hear all the time about the secret to long term weight loss is a slow “lifestyle change.” If you don’t change your lifestyle, then a “diet” will just be a short term affair.
However, in this study, the FAST group lost weight at a rate of 1.5 pounds a week, which is considered safe by most if not all weight loss authorities.
What I am saying is that most dietitians would not say that losing 1.5 pounds a week is fast. So I wouldn’t go on an overly aggressive diet thinking that this study somehow gives credence to the idea that fad diets are the key to long term weight loss!
What This Might Mean
It does indicate that it might not be wise to lose weight too slow. More research might need to be done, but it appears that if a person isn’t seeing tangible results in a short enough time that it can hinder motivation.
And 1.5 pounds might just be that magic number. So again, be careful about using these results to go on an eating plan that is overly aggressive.
I will do more research and try to find that magic number for you. If you know of any other research please comment below.
Nackers, Lisa M., Kathryn M. Ross, and Michael G. Perri. “The Association Between Rate of Initial Weight Loss and Long-Term Success in Obesity Treatment: Does Slow and Steady Win The Race?”International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, May 2010.
Most of us need some type of motivation to hit the gym on a regular basis.
New research has revealed that the best motivator to exercise harder and faster may not be an upcoming High School reunion, a pair of pants purchased in a smaller size, or that expensive personal trainer you hired.
Instead, it may be you.
You and Avatar Technology
An avatar is a computer user’s representation of his or her self online.
You may already be familiar with the concept: there are plenty of websites where digital beings direct you around the sites. There are also video games that encourage you to create a digital you to play online and interact with other gamers.
More recently, Stanford University has utilized Avatar technology for a very different and much healthier means.
Doctoral candidate Jesse Fox led a study to determine the impact that Avatars could have on the duration and intensity of one’s workouts.
To test her theories, she composed a test pool of over 80 people and separated them into 3 groups.
Avatars were developed for 2 of the 3 groups – participants submitted photos of themselves so that their Avatars looked as identical as possible.
During the tests, all groups wore virtual reality helmets. Members of the first group watched an Avatar of themselves hanging out, reading, and doing other non-physical activities.
Members of the second group watched Avatars working out, but those Avatars did not resemble the study’s participants.
The third group watched their personal identical Avatars running on treadmills.
After viewing their digital counterparts, the participants were sent home. Jesse Fox and other researchers phoned them a day later to find out the level of physical activity they had engaged in after leaving the lab.
Turns out that members of group three (the identical avatar group) worked out a full hour longer than other participants.
By now, you might be asking yourself, if the study was checking to see if Avatars help people to work out longer, why was the second group (those who had watched unfamiliar Avatars work out) not as motivated to work out as long as the third (who had seen their own Avatars running)?
The Key is Seeing Yourself in Action
Previous research in psychology, especially sports psychology, has determined that if you visualize yourself completing a task, you may be not only more eager to try the task in real life, but you may be more successful at it as well.
The same psychology is in play here, but more tangible evidence (the Avatar) takes this one step further.
Being able to see the Avatar moving may jumpstart your real self’s motivation to exercise, as you aspire to imitate your digital self.
Weirder and even more interesting, it does not take an action for the Avatar’s image to have an effect. When people watched their still, non-moving Avatars becoming thinner or heavier, they still exercised significantly more than when it was an unfamiliar Avatar.
This bolsters the weird phenomenon that is really depends on who the Avatar is that the participants are watching. If the Avatar is not you, it does not matter what it is doing. It has little effect on you.
The Brain and Self-Image
This study is interesting for a lot of reasons, but for me it is the tie in with the brain and self image that is most fascinating.
Over a year ago, I blogged about some really interesting research involving hypnosis and paralysis: http://exploringthemind.com/decisions-and-actions-who-is-in-control/.
There is a part of the brain called the precuneus. The precuneus is involved in mental imagery and especially in making representations of self (it is heavily involved in creating your self-image).
Various studies have demonstrated that representations of self can guide behavior (this is part of how hypnosis works). You can see it in the brain with an fMRI.
It would be really interesting to see what would happen if they were to do brain scans of the group using Avatars, versus not using Avatars to see if this part of the brain was more activated in the Avatar group.
Obviously, there needs to be a lot more research done in this direction and I personally can’t wait. Tell me what kind of research you would like to see done using Avatar technology.
Have you noticed an ever growing amount of people in restaurants taking pictures of their food?
What in the world are they doing – is the food so beautiful that they just have to immortalize it?
Is there a market for food photography that we don’t know about?
Well, it turns out that photographing ones meals is one of the latest diet crazes and it’s not going away…
It is becoming so big that Sony, Fuji, and other camera manufactures have begun creating “food” options on camera menus, with optimal lighting and close-up features to enhance the look and texture of the foods…
The idea is really just an extension of food journaling (something Dr. Temes recommends) and a solid technique for weight loss. Journaling allows you to detect patterns and helps hold you accountable for the choices you make.
So the idea of taking photographs of your food really brings this dieting technique to a whole new level. As long as you don’t choose to crop out your second helping of desert, photographing your food can force you to be even more accountable for the choices you make.
If you cannot force yourself to make better choices, even by taking pictures of your food, you may want to post the photos online and have other people help monitor your progress.
Take a minute to play the short video below – this is exactly what Eva admits she needs to do to help keep herself in check.
After losing a significant amount of weight, Eva realized that she was having trouble keeping the weight off. She began to take pictures of her food, like the high tech food journal mentioned above.
But even that was not enough to help her maintain her goal weight.
So, Eva began to post pictures of her food choices on Facebook, and even created a page called “What’s Eva Eating?”
Anyone from Facebook can find her and become a fan of her page. Doing this allows you to see her posts, view her photographs, and comment away about her choices.
One harsh comment on her page read: “If I followed the Eva diet for just a weekend I would gain 10 pounds!!!!”
That is quite a wake up call to make better choices! It will be interesting to follow her progress and see how this dieting trend will work for her. (You can find her and follow her on Facebook – I did – she already has over 100 followers and counting!).
Have you had the urge to snap pictures of yours meals? Maybe this is something you’ve done for years? If you do follow this trend, comment below and let us know why, we’d love to have more examples of this new trend to chew on, and to photograph.
Sorry for the over the top headline, but the answer to the question appears to be yes…and please read this whole post, there is something really good at the end.
How Being Overweight Affects The Brain
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh scanned the brains of 94 people over the age of 70. They were looking to see the differences in the brains of people who were of normal weight (BMI under 25), overweight (BMI 25-30), and obese (BMI over 30).
If you are 5 foot 10 and you weigh 220, you have a BMI of 31.6 and would be considered obese. If you are 5 foot 10 and weigh 180, your BMI is 25.8 and you would be considered overweight for purposes of the study. There are certain athletes with lot of muscle mass that make the BMI inaccurate, but for the rest of us it is a valid measurement.
If you are 5 foot 5 and weigh 155 pounds, you would be considered overweight. At 185, you would be considered obese.
Don’t let the fact that all participants were over 70 distract you; this shows the effects of being overweight over time.
The Scary Results
It turns out that Obese people have 8% less brain tissue than people of normal weight. Overweight people have 4% less brain tissue than people of normal weight.
According to Dr. Paul Thompson, a UCLA professor of neurology, “This represents ‘severe’ brain degeneration, that’s a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at a much greater risk of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that attack the brain… But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s, if you can eat healthy and keep your weight under control.”
*Source: Raji CA, Ho AJ, Parikshak NN, Becker JT, Lopez OL, Kuller LH, Hua X, Leow AD, Toga AW, Thompson PM. Brain structure and obesity, Hum Brain Mapp 2009 Aug 6
Losing Weight is not Just About Looking Good
It is kind of sad that “looking good” is the number one motivation for losing weight, but if that does the trick, then great.
However, to me, this new research is way more important. There is nothing more important than having a brain that works. It affects everything in your life, especially the people around you.
There are also a plethora of studies showing that being overweight decreases short term memory, and for lack of better words – can make you stupider and lazier than you otherwise would be.
And in case you forgot, being overweight also increases your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and has been shown to inhibit sexual performance.
More Bad News
The parts of the brain that degenerated for overweight people are very important, it wasn’t brain mass that we can spare.
Here are the areas effected:
- Frontal and temporal lobes: Critical for planning and memory
- Anterior cingulate gyrus: Responsible for attention and executive functions
- Hippocampus: Important for long-term memory
- Basal ganglia: Essential for proper movement and coordination
Furthermore, the brains of overweight people looked 8 years older than those of people of normal weight, and the brains of obese people looked a whopping 16 years older!
It is All About Eating
I hope that this article has helped motivate you to get to a normal weight if you aren’t already there. I think you probably know that there is really only one thing you can do in order to get there, and that is to eat the right foods at the right portions.
Exercise can help, but recent research demonstrates that exercise plays a much smaller role than calorie consumption. In fact, it can hurt your weight loss efforts if you aren’t careful because people seem to overestimate how much more they can eat after exercising.
So when you do exercise, make sure to track the calories burned and do not eat any more “extra” than what you have used. I am not saying not to exercise – just don’t exaggerate the effects in your mind.
Do You Have the Willpower?
If you have the desire to get to a normal weight and for whatever reason just can’t seem to get yourself to eat right, then you are not alone. Only about 5% succeed in losing weight over the long term.
These habits are hard to break, and we just aren’t designed to “not eat” the food that is around us. In this case, abundance is a double edge sword!
Furthermore, willpower is kind of a myth. We consciously only have the ability to exhibit conscious self control in one area at a time. I have written about the cookie study before, but I think it is worth repeating (in a very short form).
Subjects were brought into a room and asked to solve some brain puzzles. Another group was brought into the same room and asked to solve the same brain puzzles, but in this case they had a plate of cookies in front of them – and were told that they could not eat them!
The group that had to “not eat the cookies” performed dramatically worse than the group without cookies.
*Source: RE Baumeister, E Bratslavsky, M Muraven, and DM Tice. “Ego Depletion: Is the Active Self a Limited Resource?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 74, 1998.
This means that when you are trying to avoid “bad” foods, it affects just about every other aspect of your day. So when a bit of stress hits, bye, bye diet.
So unless you have a stress free life, or amazing self control – changing your eating habits consciously is a tough road.
There is Hope
This is leading somewhere! If you can’t make the change consciously, then you have to make these changes unconsciously. A great strategy for nudging your unconscious mind in the right direction is to control your environment. Get rid of the bad foods in your house and workplace. Put reminders on the refrigerator, plan and prepare your meals ahead of time, etc… the more you can do with your environment to prime your unconscious mind the better.
And if this isn’t enough, try hypnosis. Hypnosis is the ONLY scientifically validated method for training your unconscious mind to eat right (and this is without using willpower – which just doesn’t work). Hypnosis works at a totally different level in the brain. It actually works at the level of self image.
A Tool You Can UseAfter reading this post, I thought you would be interested in being able to find your own BMI. Here is a great resource. Just type in your height and weight.
Also, please comment on the research at the beginning of this article – I respond to all posts.