Write it down BEFORE you eat it

Brains are habitual organs, and those habits that you want to ADD (and undesired habits you wish to alter) can be increased/minimized if you “fool” your brain into thinking it is hardly changing, AT ALL.  Somewhere between the 12th and the 20th time that you do a new behavior CONSISTENTLY and PERSISTENTLY, it becomes a natural habit. Each time you replace an undesired behavior with a desired one, the undesired habit weakens.  But until the brain “recognizes” that this is a new habit, it tries to retain the old pattern. Gently train your brain to do write a listwhat YOU want it to do.

Write down what you eat BEFORE you eat it.  This uses a different part of your brain…to decide what to eat prior to eating.

  • Visualize the food in your mind. (Closing your eyes and focusing inwardly on what you have decided you are going to eat)
  • Decide just how much you are going to eat.
  • Write down the food, amount and, if desired, the approximate calorie count, amount of sodium, saturated fats, etc., or any other ingredient-item of interest to you.
  • Then slowly eat your food, savoring every bite or swallow. Don’t put the next bite into your mouth until you have completely chewed, swallowed and ENJOYED the last one.  Yes . . . this DOES take a while!
  • This applies to everything that passes your lips (munching while deciding what to eat, nibbling while you are cooking, licking that spoon ALL count as FOOD TO BE RECORDED!).

Research shows that people who write down what they eat prior to eating it, lose twice the amount of weight as people who don’t write down their food.

Using a different part of our brains in decision-making increases the inner resources we have….that inner ability to be more in control of our behavior.  You can feel good about making these very small changes that will help you reach your goals.

After awhile, you will notice that you are NATURALLY eating more MINDFULLY, slower, and actually ENJOYING your food more.  You will also notice that you will remember to pick up that pencil PRIOR to eating.  I remember long ago that I wrote down 2 chocolate chip cookies, and as soon as I saw that, I was vaguely repulsed, and marked through the “2” and wrote “1” instead.  Just seeing that I had made a healthier choice helped me remember that incident…enough to share it a decade later with you.

Have you ever kept an Eating Diary?  How did it work for you? Please click on the “Leave a Comment” link next to the date at the top of the blog under the headline. I’d love to hear from you!

By Dailey Grainger, PhD, ARNP, founder and CEO of Next Health Now, a Nurse Practitioner in the forefront of helping make America healthier.

 

 

 

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