A novel strategy for losing weight puts your brain in the driver's seat, and it also helps you control your urges to consume unhealthy foods.
On paper, the math for weight reduction appears relatively straightforward: if you consume fewer kcal than your body burns off in a given day, the scales will begin to tip in the direction that you want them to. However, for those of us who are attempting to get rid of extra weight, it might seem like we are fighting a struggle that we will never be able to win.
There is a flaw in the formula for weight reduction that must be addressed. Now is the moment to give your grey matter, sometimes known as your brain, control of the situation. It turns out that what goes on up there not only determines how quickly individuals lose weight — or don't — but it may also affect how likely they are to acquire weight that they do not want.
The relationship between stress and weight gain
The results of recent studies indicate that mental stress may have a significant influence on our weight, and it is suggested that taking efforts to manage stress might encourage fat reduction (if that is what we desire) — even without making any changes to our food habits. The part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control is negatively affected by stress, which may lead to decreased impulse control and increased cravings.
In addition, stress makes us want and actively seek out meals that are heavy in fat (saturated fat being the most detrimental), salt, and sugar. This is because certain meals stimulate the production of "happy hormones," which subsequently link to receptors in our brains and lessen the negative impact of the stress hormones our bodies naturally produce.
The way the brain reacts to prolonged or persistent stress influences not just where and how much fat is stored, but also where it tends to collect, which is often around the stomach. This is what the medical community refers to as the "risk area."
If you want to lose weight, you can put your brain into a state that is more conducive to weight reduction by doing things like taking efforts to reduce stress or using complicated mental imagery methods. However, these are not the only ways to do this.
The efficacy of the 'nudge hypothesis' was shown in a research that was published in 2018, which confirmed that making some basic but strategic modifications helps your brain pick the healthier alternative without the need for willpower. You may utilize the following science-backed tactics that communicate directly to your body's boss — your brain — to lose weight or fight sugar cravings instead of attempting to lose weight or fight sugar cravings by depending only on your self-control.
There are ten different techniques to retrain your brain.
1. Before going shopping, eat an apple.
There is a good reason why you should never go shopping when you are hungry. According to the findings of one research, when individuals go shopping when they are hungry, they put 31% more high-kilojoule goods into their shopping carts.
Apples, according to the findings of a recent study, are the optimal snack to have before going shopping. If you eat an apple before you go to the shop, you will purchase 25 percent more fruit and vegetables. This is because an apple, which has a reputation for being healthy, creates a state of mind that is conducive to purchasing healthy foods.
The research also demonstrates that you will consume twice as much of the food that you have purchased the most. This is because greater volume results in improved visibility in the refrigerator.
2. Imagine that you are a person who eats healthy.
Using this easy strategy will make it much simpler for you to maintain your commitment to making better meal choices. According to the findings of research conducted in the United States, this is the case. The study indicated that when persons attempting to make a dietary adjustment, such as "eat more fruit," developed a new label for themselves, such as "fruit eater," their eating behavior followed suit.
The researchers believe that it is only a matter of psychology: the more you identify with a certain position, such as "healthy eater," the more probable it is that you will start engaging in role-related behaviors, such as eating healthily — without making an excessive amount of effort.
3 Take pictures of your food.
Or, even better, create an Instagram account titled "food log" and upload pictures of the meals you eat. Research published in 2017 has shown that maintaining a photographic food diary, especially one that allows you to examine snaps of numerous meals next to each other, assists individuals in maintaining their healthy eating objectives more consistently.
It is effective regardless of whether or whether the food is healthful. The first type of healthy snap is designed to inspire, while the second variation serves as a subtle reminder to choose a better option at the subsequent meal.
4 Eat some walnuts as a snack in between meals.
The so-called "nudge hypothesis" The theory is that seemingly little alteration, such as elevating produce to a more visible position in the refrigerator, may have a significant and beneficial effect on an individual's actions and decisions.
According to research, walnuts stimulate a part of the brain that is responsible for regulating hunger. When participants who had eaten walnuts were shown pictures of food while undergoing an MRI scan, their brains displayed different rates of activity when they were viewing highly 'desirable' foods like dessert, as compared to foods like vegetables. This was the case even though the participants had consumed the same amount of walnuts.
This indicates that not only were individuals paying greater attention to the dietary choices they were making, but they were also selecting. The healthier alternatives more often.
5. Eat with your "other" hand
This implies that if you are right-handed, you should use your left hand, and vice versa; this is especially important to keep in mind when you are eating in a setting where there are a lot of distractions.
Your brain is forced to pay closer attention to what you're eating and how much you're eating since your eating patterns are disrupted, so it can't simply let you chew your way through food on autopilot. This makes it possible for you to lose weight. When the notion was tested by scientists, it was found that people's food consumption decreased by a third when they swapped hands.
6. Imagine eating it!
Spend a little time visualizing yourself devouring and finishing off a large bag of food that you like but don't want to eat too much of, such as potato chips, before you indulge in that item. This will help you control how much of it you consume. When you open the bag of chips, the findings of research conducted in the United States reveal that you will feel full after eating a far less quantity of chips than you did in the experiment. This study demonstrates that you may mislead your brain into believing that you've already had your fair share of something by thinking about it in a way that makes it taste good. Previous studies had shown that thinking about something delectable only increased intake of it.
7. Tap away a yearning
Can't get the thought of chocolate out of your head? Tap your forehead with your index (or pointer) finger until the alarm goes off, then the timer that you set on your phone for thirty seconds will go off. By diverting one's attention away from food thoughts and instead focusing on anything else, research has shown that it successfully eliminates the need for eating.
8. Contraction your muscles to convey that you do not like this.
According to research, contracting your muscles, whether it's your calf muscles, your biceps, or merely clenching a fist, may automatically mobilize your willpower. This is ideal if you want to fight food cravings or say no to seconds without having to put in as much cerebral effort. Your willpower will not be increased in advance if you use this strategy; the secret is to use it at precisely the right moment when you need it.
9. Make your initial meal choice a healthy one.
Always be sure to do this before you serve yourself a meal. Scientists who study food psychology have proven that the first food you put on your plate influences what you'll put on it next. If the first food you put on your plate is a healthy choice, two-thirds of your plate will eventually be covered with healthy foods without any effort on the part of your willpower. Ideal for holiday spreads and buffets!
10. Before you start eating, you should cut up your meal.
You won't feel as inclined to clean your plate if the food on it is brought to you in smaller, bite-size amounts, and you'll also feel fuller for a longer period after eating it. This applies to both meals and pieces of cake.
The researchers from the United States who were responsible for the result believe that the reason for this is that a portion of food split into many pieces seems bigger, which fools your brain into believing that you have ingested more food than you have when you are eating.