A Simple Tool to Eat Healthier, Lose Weight

3 generations_mahalie

Scenario 1

You are at a restaurant, and it is time for desert. You have a choice to make; either strawberry chocolate cheesecake or a fresh fruit cup. It has been a long, stressful day at work and the pleasure center in your brain is shouting, “Feed me the cheesecake.” Another voice in your head is annoyingly repeating what your doctor said, “You are on the brink of having diabetes, eat healthier, and lose 50 pounds, now.”

Although you want to see your children or grandchildren grow-up, the cheesecake wins. It tastes awesome, better than anticipated, but leaving the restaurant your guilt kicks in. You know losing weight will be a struggle. It always has been.

Scenario 2

You are at a restaurant, and it is time for desert. You have a choice to make; either strawberry chocolate cheesecake or a fresh fruit cup. It has been a long, stressful day at work and the pleasure center in your brain is shouting, “Feed me the cheesecake.” Another voice in your head is annoyingly repeating what your doctor said, “You are on the brink of having diabetes, eat healthier, and lose 50 pounds, now.”

Instead of choosing between cheesecake and fruit, you decide between diabetes, and time with your family. The word “diabetes” does not make your mouth water or tickle your sweet tooth, and time with the family is something you treasure. You choose the fruit cup.

The Difference

In the first scenario the choice was between specific foods, one that you longed for and one that was sweet but not rich, creamy, and chocolaty. Your sense of taste was engaged by the cheesecake, and so was your memory of previous delicious deserts that always soothed you. Though you like fresh fruit, it will not satisfy your craving.

In scenario two, you were choosing between broader, abstract categories instead of specific foods. Thinking about diabetes did not get your mouth watering. The thought of being on insulin for the rest of your shortened life was a turn off. The words time with family stirred one of your primary values and sounded better than being sick.

Think in Categories

We have all experienced deciding between something good for us and a guilty-pleasure. It causes inner conflict because we know what is best for us but want what is less than best, maybe harmful.

You can reduce or eliminate this conflict by choosing between broader concepts or categories that are significant to you, instead of focusing on specific things, one of which you crave. If the wise choice is something important to you, the decision becomes easier.

Thinking again about cheesecake or fruit, someone other than you may decide between temporary pleasure and looking good in the wedding pictures. Another person might choose between clogged arteries and enjoying life. In each case, using broad categories takes the choice away from their taste buds.

This is easy to experiment with so give it a try.
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Resource:
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-08-abstractly-boost-self-control.html

 
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