Diet and Nutrition

The Psychology of Healthy Eating

Written by Dr. Geeth Sadasivam and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Image: The Psychology of Healthy Eating

There are many reasons why we eat. It could be because we feel hungry, angry, sad or tired. On an average, we take 200 food decisions a day, and 90 % of them are subconscious. But, recently most of us are driven by a hidden force called the diet. Have you ever thought about why most people are unable to stick to their diet plan? It is because eating is a pleasure, a fact which none can deny.

If you look at the diet restrictions, it usually states what is not to be eaten, such as no dairy products, no fat, no carbohydrates, etc. The moment you try to give up a certain type of food, your brain automatically works against it. It actually starts craving for that food. For instance, you read a book titled 'Go vegan in four weeks, ' and the next thing you want to do is to eat a paneer tikka masala for the last time before you try to go vegan.

Some Tips You Can Use:

  • Eliminate eating rules and consider food as a part of your lifestyle rather than a checklist. Your brain has an extraordinary imaginative power, which directly affects your opinion about the food. If you imagine that a certain food tastes good just by looking at the presentation, such as the label, thecolor or texture, you end up feeling that it really did taste good.
  • Another tip is to picture healthy food as a delicacy so that you can eat it without any hesitation. The next time your mom gives you turmeric milk, just imagine it to be a creamy turmeric latte, and it does really feel like an exotic drink.
  • Also, often there is an involuntary action that happens such as picking a bag of chips left on your study table, even though you are not hungry or craving for it. Your brain cells stimulate this action of picking a favorite food every time you see it. So, keep unhealthy food out of sight. That way you are not forced to pick unwanted food at odd times.
  • The size of your plate matters too. When you see your plate laden with food, you tend to avoid going for a second serve. Manipulate this psychology to your benefit at every meal. Choose a smaller plate and fill it with food. Visualize how much food you ate and this visual evidence will calm your brain and indeed your stomach. For example, keep the bones of the ribs you have eaten on the same plate to allow you to visualize how much food you have consumed.
  • Every food has a story. All of us have an emotional connection with our favorite food. Try to map it down and work on positive changes. For example, I love a certain sweet made commonly in my hometown, and when I drew a mental map deep down for it, I recalled the good old days when my aunt made them for me every year when we got together, and my dad still buys them every time he passes by a sweet shop. The positive changes I made was cherishing the memories of the good times I had, rather than just grab the sweet and then feel guilty later.
  • Ask yourself. Which food would you like to eat before you die? The answer will most likely be that favorite food you cannot resist eating every time you see and which is close to your heart. So, go ahead with the mental mapping for that food.

Follow these tips and manipulate your food psychology to lead a happy and healthy eating lifestyle.

For more information consult a dietician online -->

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018



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