HomeHealth articlesdiet restrictionsThe Psychology of Healthy Eating

The Psychology of Healthy Eating

Verified dataVerified data
The Psychology of Healthy Eating

4 min read


In this article, you will read about the hidden forces that drive you to grab your favorite food. Also, you will find a few tips which will help you re-engineer these forces when you see food and decide to eat it.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At July 26, 2017
Reviewed AtDecember 16, 2022

What Is Meant By the Psychology of Eating?

There are many reasons why we eat. It could be because we feel hungry, angry, sad, or tired. On average, we make 200 food decisions a day, and 90% of them are subconscious. But, recently, most of us have been 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 specific type of food, your brain automatically works against it. The craving for that food actually increases. For instance, you read a book titled 'Go vegan in four weeks, ' and the next thing you want to do is to eat paneer tikka masala for the last time before you try to go vegan.

What Are the Benefits of Changing Unhealthy Eating Habits?

  • A good constructive approach to food.

  • Enhancement of health.

  • Improved energy and attentiveness.

  • Good esthetic appearance.

  • Effortless body motions.

Psychology and Weight Management:

Psychology plays an important role in addressing weight management. It focuses on both behavior and cognition.

  • In terms of behavior therapies, psychology aims at recognizing the individual eating patterns and bringing about changes in the eating behaviors to get the desired result.

  • Cognitive treatment focuses on ways to break the self-defeating thoughts that destroy the healthy approach towards dieting habits and provoke weight management problems.

What Factors Influence Our Eating Behavior?

  • Personal.

  • Community-based.

  • Household practice.

  • Financial status.

  • Mental.

  • Cultural.

  • Developmental.

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 particular food tastes good just by looking at the presentation, such as the label, the color, or the 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 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 choose 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 particular 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 were cherishing the memories of the good times, rather than just grabbing the sweet and then feeling guilty later.

  • Ask yourself. Which food would you like to eat before you die? The answer will most likely be the favorite food close to your heart that you cannot resist eating every time you see. So, go ahead with the mental mapping for that food.

  • Come out of self-defeating thoughts, which can undermine the success of developing healthy eating habits. Instead, motivate yourself with positive coping self-statements. These help in identifying the cause and also pave the way for defeating unhealthy behavior.

  • Do not skip meals. Fasting for a session in a day will increase the hunger and will make you haunt for more food when you take it for the next session. This type of behavior increases the intake of calories.

  • Be attentive to what and how much you are eating. Do not watch television or engage yourself in any other distracting activities while eating so as to be conscious of the type and quantity of food you are taking. Involving in activities that distract your concentration will result in overeating.

  • Do not eliminate food completely from your diet. Doing so will increase the craving for that food and might result in overeating that particular food. Therefore, take every food in minimal amounts.

  • Everything takes a certain period. Do not weigh yourself daily because minimal or no changes in the weight will slack your confidence and might demotivate you to withdraw from the healthy practice. Measure your weight only once a week.

  • Be gentle with yourself while carrying out dietary modifications. Too many restrictions might make you regret the decision and push you to previous practices.

  • Do have a food diary to record what you eat, when you eat, what you feel while eating, and what you were doing while eating. It helps in better understanding and also helps dieticians and medical professionals to plan a diet based on your requirements.

  • Do not eat during nighttime, and try taking snacks and meals well ahead of bedtime to give time for their digestion.

  • Drink a lot of water. Drinking 3 to 5 liters of water daily helps in speeding up the process of metabolism.

  • If you experience a craving for a particular food, try to distract yourself.

  • When boredom hits you, try to concentrate on workouts or exercises rather than eating.

  • Join with support groups and people with similar intentions to help you stay motivated to follow your health goals.

  • Do not fast yourself or follow diet restrictions as a temporary solution. Instead, try dietary habits that you can follow in the long run and make it a lifestyle choice.

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

Frequently Asked Questions


Why Is Healthy Eating Important?

Healthy eating pattern is important for our well-being. Our overall health becomes good by eating healthy, and there are a lot of ways to do it. By making smart food choices, one can manage and lower the risk for certain chronic diseases. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of obesity.


What Is a Healthy Lifestyle?

A healthy lifestyle means a way of living that helps to lower the risk of being seriously ill. All diseases cannot be prevented, but many deaths, particularly those from lung cancer and coronary heart disease, can be avoided.


How Can I Start Eating Healthy?

Simple ways to start eating healthy are, eat more fruits and vegetables, as they are undeniably healthy. Limit processed foods, stop eating refined carbs, limit alcohol consumption, avoid vegetable oils and spreads, choose whole grains, practice protein control, and avoid white sugars.


What Are the Ten Best Foods to Eat?

The ten best foods to eat are beans (dry beans, lentils, kidney beans), yogurt, beef liver, spinach, salmon, mushrooms, lobster, soybeans, pork, and oysters.


What Should I Eat Daily?

For a healthy diet, eat 5 to 8 servings of grains, 3 to 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 servings of milk, cheese, and yogurt, 2 to 4 servings of poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dry beans, and nuts. Limit the use of fats, oils, and sweets.


How Do I Teach My Child Good Eating Habits?

Parents can develop healthy eating habits in their children by having regular family meals, avoiding battles over the food, serving a variety of healthy snacks and foods, involving children in food shopping, and preparing meals.


How to Start Eating Healthy to Lose Weight?

In order to lose weight, do not skip breakfast, eat regular meals, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, get more active by practicing regular exercise, drink plenty of water, eat high fiber foods, and use a smaller plate.


How Does Your Body Change Once You Start Eating Healthy?

Our bodily functions become regular, which results in a lower amount of bloating and discomfort on having a healthy diet. Also, we tend to lose weight, and there will not be any mood swings, and our mood becomes more stable with fewer ups and downs throughout the day. In addition, we start to feel more empowered in our daily life.


Why Do I Feel Hungry after Eating Healthy?

While we consume fewer calories than what the body burns, our body produces a hormone called ghrelin which is known as a “hunger hormone” because it is released by the stomach when the body needs more food. A low-calorie diet may increase ghrelin production and cause hunger, even when you have just eaten.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Geethanjali. S. S
Dr. Geethanjali. S. S



diet restrictions
Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Source Article ArrowMost popular articles

Do you have a question on

diet restrictions

Ask a doctor online

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy