Have you heard the term "mind over matter"? When you're following a healthy living plan and trying to lose weight, it's possible to change your actions for a while and have some success. But the way to see real, lasting change isn't only to modify your actions; it's to change your thoughts. After all, your thoughts ultimately control your actions, so a shift in mindset is vital if you are to see long-term alignment in your behavior.
A Simple Thought Change to Help with Weight Loss
One such simple thought change that can translate into significant behavior changes was discovered by a recent study (Jane Ogden, 2018). Eighty female participants were divided into two groups and offered a pasta dish. Half of the ladies were told that the dish was a snack, and they ate it from a container with a plastic fork while standing up. The other half of the ladies were told the dish was a meal, and they ate it from a plate with a metal fork while sitting at a table. The portion was the same size in both instances.
After eating, the ladies were offered some chocolates and other treat foods. Those who had been presented with the pasta dish as a meal ate significantly less snack food than those who had been presented the pasta framed as a snack.
Reframe Your Eating and Take Care with Language
The results of this study show the powerful effects our thoughts can have. Simply thinking of a dish as a meal and sitting down to eat it with real silverware from a plate signals to our brains that we've eaten enough and makes us less likely to eat less healthy food afterward.
You can use this to your advantage when committing to a healthy eating plan. Eat all of your food mindfully, with the intention of it being your meal. Changing your thoughts in this way will make it easier for you to modify your behaviors to align with them.
- Jane Ogden, C. W. (2018, Jan. 1). 'Snack' versus 'meal': The impact of label and place on food intake. Retrieved from sciencedirect.com: DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.10.026.