Published: January 4, 2018

    How to Trick Your Brain Into Making Healthier Choices

    Every year we make resolutions to eat healthier, get more exercise, drink more water, and sleep for eight hours. But by the end of January we’ve stopped going to the gym and have gone back to eating microwavable meals every night.

    Transforming your lifestyle for a happier and healthier you takes a great deal of willpower and commitment. When the going gets tough your brain wants comfort, making it easier to fall back onto those old habits of eating sugary foods, drinking coffee, or going out for dessert after each meal. Here are some helpful ways to trick your brain into making healthier choices:

    • Prepare for Food Cravings – In a typical busy week we are always going to end up in situations where we’re exhausted, hungry, and simply don’t have the energy to prepare a healthy meal or snack. Plan ahead and keep healthy fruit or snacks like mixed nuts handy where you will need them: plant healthy options in your desk, in your glove compartment, and at the gym. Make eating healthy the most convenient option so you don’t go for a candy bar after a stressful day at the office or a demanding workout.
    • Increase the Size of Your Fork – This may sound strange, but if you have a history of overeating at mealtime switch to a larger fork. A study conducted at a restaurant confirmed that a larger fork makes you leave more food on your plate after a meal. The reason for this is psychological – when you have a larger fork your bites are bigger, and your brain sees that you are making faster progress and sends you signals that you are overeating and need to slow down.
    • Use a Straw – The simple step of using a straw to drink out of your stainless steel water bottle will increase your rate of hydration by 24% according to a study conducted by scientists at Pepperdine University. Simply put, your brain finds the process of opening and lifting the bottle “extra work,” leading to you drinking less. Keep a straw in your water bottle and choose a model that you can hold with one hand to make the process of drinking filtered water hassle-free.
    • Vocalize Your Goals – Whenever you create new health goals for yourself share them with family and friends so you have a network of accountability whenever you’re tempted to stray and eat something unhealthy. If you tell everyone in your household that you will no longer be eating bread at dinner, for example, reneging on this commitment becomes much harder. Talk frequently about the specifics of your diet and ask someone to check in with you regularly if you know you will want to give up while you’re adjusting to your new lifestyle.
    • Don’t Put Yourself in Compromising Situations – Are you giving up ice cream for the New Year? Then meeting your friends after work at Dairy Queen is probably a bad idea. While you can take away temptations at home, you should also avoid going to restaurants or other places where eating healthy will prove challenging. If you know your mother-in-law will offer you brownies every time you visit, call her beforehand and explain your restrictions. Take control of your health!

    With these tips you can condition your mind to look forward to eating healthier and staying hydrated this year. It’s time for a new you – a healthier you!