For anyone who has ever tried to go on a diet, you probably felt that strange phenomenon when the moment you tell yourself to eat better or less, you suddenly feel way hungrier than before. That’s because suddenly you’ve got food constantly on the brain. Personally, I’ve noticed that I’m more successful in weight loss when I don’t obsess over food at all. It’s really mind over matter when it comes to eating healthy. So when patients come to your practice seeking advice on weight loss, you might just want to help them use mental tricks into getting themselves into better eating habits.
7 Ways to Teach Patients to “Trick Themselves” into Losing Weight
1. Hit Pause
Coral Arvon, PhD, director of behavioral health and wellness at Pritikin Longevity in Miami, FL says that imaging a “pause button” in your brain to stop and think about whether or not you want to eat something for like 10 minutes or so before committing to that decision. Your patients will find that if you can spend that little bit of time considering whether or not to eat that entire sleeve of cookies can really stop yourself from over-indulging in the wrong stuff.
2. Eat Healthy Snacks that Look Like Unhealthy Snacks
Is your patient an ice cream addict or a junkfood junkie? Eliminating those foods from your diet can be daunting task. However, replacing them with similar looking and textured alternatives can be a good way to still feel satisfied. For example, whipping up a fruit smoothy instead of eating that frozen yogurt or munching on kale chips instead of Doritos can do a lot of good during a weight loss journey.
3. Tell Yourself You Can “Eat Whatever You Want”
If your patient thinks that telling themselves they have to deprive themselves of food is going to help them lose weight, they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, if you tell yourself that you’re allowed to eat anything you like, you’ll end up actually eating better. The trick is to eat some of the things you want, but not every single one. Allow yourself to have 2 “cheat meals” a week instead of saying never.
4. Pack Snacks Like Mom Used To Do
Remember in grade school when our parents used to send us off every morning with perfectly portioned baggies of snacks? Well instead of telling yourself to never snack, allow yourself to eat pre-planned and contained servings. For patients who are guilty of snacking at work all day, portioning is a huge helper.
5. An Apple Mantra a Day, Keeps the Waistline at Bay
Tell your patient that struggles with cravings to try the old apple trick. What’s the apple trick? It’s simple, when you’re feeling those hunger pangs and cravings, figure out if it’s really your body seeking fuel or if you’re just wanting food out of boredom. When you’re craving a salty or sweet snack, ask yourself if you’d eat an apple. If you would, then you’re probably genuinely hungry. If not, you’re just having a craving and could probably satisfy it with water or green tea.
6. Use Smaller Plates
It’s not exactly rocket science, but if you have a smaller plate, smaller portions will fill more of your plate. You can trick your eyes into thinking that you’re getting more food than you really are. If you really want to trick yourself, you can try eating off small blue plates. Eating off blue plates have shown significant effects on how much we eat.
7. Send Yourself Motivational Reminders on Your Phone
Many people try to diet with someone else to help keep one another motivated. However, you can serve as your own personal weight loss cheerleader by setting your phone or calendar to send inspirational messages to yourself throughout the day.