41 Views

Tricks That Will Help You Stick To Any Diet

As talked about in this New York Times article, every single habit that you have was formed by the same 3-step process:

  1. Trigger
  2. Action
  3. Reward

For example, when your phone rings (trigger), you answer it (action) and talk to the caller (reward). If your annoying mother-in-law was the only person who ever called you on your phone, it wouldn’t feel like a reward so you probably wouldn’t get into the habit of answering it immediately when it rings.

This pattern of Trigger, Action, Reward is hardwired into your brain. In fact, neurological research is finally showing how it is hardwired. There are special protein receptors, which appear between your neurons when they fire. As Adam Piore discusses in this Discover Magazine, this phenomena can lead to addiction, the more times those neurons fire together, the more AMPA receptors appear, causing the link between the neurons to strengthen: “The strengthening at the synapses make them more likely to fire together in the future.”

So, to make your diet succeed, it isn’t just a matter of increasing your motivation or willpower. You’ve got to reset your brain to form new habits.

1. Find Your Triggers

All habits start with a trigger. The action that occurs as a result is mostly subconscious, which is why you can suddenly find yourself with a giant bowl of chips on your lap immediately after turning on the TV.

You might be able to avoid some bad diet habits simply by removing the trigger. Or, you might need to dig even deeper to find the root trigger.

For example, if you eat when you watch TV, the real problem is that you are watching TV. What is triggering you to sit down on the couch to watch? Is it because you are tired after work? Maybe you should move the TV so it isn’t right in front of the couch!

2. Use If-Then Planning

If you can’t completely remove the trigger, then you need to find ways to adjust the action that occurs from those triggers. One method is to use If-Then planning.

Also known as implementation intentions, If-Then planning uses your existing triggers but gets you to consciously change the resulting action. As talked about in this Psychology Today article, you are 2-3 times more likely to succeed if you use If-Then planning than if you don’t.

For example: Your work keeps donuts in the breakroom. When you feel tired at work (trigger), you usually go into the breakroom and eat some donuts (action). As you eat, you get to socialize with your coworkers (reward).

Under If-Then planning, you tell yourself, “Each time I go into the breakroom, I will drink tea.” The trigger and reward are the same, but the action has changed.

3. Piggyback Off Of Existing Habits

Forming new habits is not easy. You’d have to make a new trigger, perform the new action, and get a new reward. Only after doing this many times would you set up the habit loop.  This is why many say that it takes 30 days to form a new habit.  Or, as this article about breaking bad habits talks about, one study found it took an average of 66 days!

A much easier way of forming a new habit is to piggyback off of an existing one. Instead of trying to do something completely new like going for an evening walk every day, plan your walk after something you already do. For example: You already go to your friend’s house every Wednesday to gossip. Instead of driving there, walk there instead.

4. Set Micro Quotas

One thing that dieters commonly do is try to visualize themselves thin. Many diets even recommend putting up photos on your mirror of yourself at a lower weight. But, according to this study from UCLA, this is the exact wrong thing to do. When you visualize a large, grandiose goal, it becomes overwhelming. Since dieting doesn’t cause big changes quickly, it is easy to lose motivation and be disappointed with results.

Instead, you should be setting micro quotas. Don’t think of the large goal of losing weight or being healthier. Think of the exact steps you will take every day. Visualize yourself doing these steps, such as eating a salad for lunch at work and buying produce in the supermarket. People who focus on these individual steps are more likely to be successful in reaching the larger goal.

5. Use Abstract Thinking

Find yourself craving certain types of food? Psychologist Traci Mann suggests using abstract thinking. For example, instead of thinking of all of the qualities of doughnuts – like the icing and the sprinkles – just think of them as another item in a group of breakfast foods. When you think of them in the abstract, then you’ll find it easier to substitute out doughnuts for a healthier breakfast food.

 

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation
Food and Health
15 views
Food and Health
15 views

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation

PH - October 17, 2017

Legendary Nigerian footballer and philanthropist, Nwankwo Kanu, is launching the biggest lotto in Africa to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) (www.KanuHeartFoundationNg.com) and help build…

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety
Politics
40 views
Politics
40 views

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety

PH - October 17, 2017

The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinaya Abaribe, has applied to the court to be discharged from the suretyship, bond and recognizance of the bail of…

Lagos State Records 100% Increase In Domestic And Sexual Violence Cases
Shocking
31 views
Shocking
31 views

Lagos State Records 100% Increase In Domestic And Sexual Violence Cases

PH - October 17, 2017

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) yesterday has stated that 950 domestic and sexual violence cases have been reported this year alone, compared…

Where Is TSTV Nigeria 17 Days After Launch? – Biola Kazeem
Business
37 views
Business
37 views

Where Is TSTV Nigeria 17 Days After Launch? – Biola Kazeem

PH - October 17, 2017

Renowned sport analyst Biola Kazeem has taken to Twitter to express his thoughts on the inability of TSTV to commence operation 17 days after launching. He also…

Davido Finally Speaks After Alleged Murder – ‘I Forgive All Those Who Called Me A Murderer’
Entertainment
49 views
Entertainment
49 views

Davido Finally Speaks After Alleged Murder – ‘I Forgive All Those Who Called Me A Murderer’

MT - October 17, 2017

Nigerian singer Davido, who has been embroiled in some controversies recently over the death of some friends, says he ‘forgives’ all those who accused him of murder.…

Omoni Oboli’s Okafors Law Becomes the First Nigerian Movie to be Screened at Film Festival in South Korea
Entertainment
36 views
Entertainment
36 views

Omoni Oboli’s Okafors Law Becomes the First Nigerian Movie to be Screened at Film Festival in South Korea

PH - October 17, 2017

Nollywood film maker and actor, Omoni Oboli is grateful for the good news she received on her movie, ‘Okafors Law.’ Earlier this year, a court injunction stopped…

Queen Chanel of Iwoland Explains Why She Wears A Crown
Art, History and Culture
48 views
Art, History and Culture
48 views

Queen Chanel of Iwoland Explains Why She Wears A Crown

PH - October 17, 2017

Queen Chanel Chin, is the wife of Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi. Born in Toronto, Canada, Queen Chanel’s dream of coming to Africa was fulfilled when…

Important Things Couples Should be Doing During Courtship Before Marriage (Must Read)
Lifestyle
42 views
Lifestyle
42 views

Important Things Couples Should be Doing During Courtship Before Marriage (Must Read)

MT - October 17, 2017

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions that you will ever make. You are entrusting the rest of your life into the care of another human…

Barack Obama Chooses Nigerian Artist Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
Art, History and Culture
33 views
Art, History and Culture
33 views

Barack Obama Chooses Nigerian Artist Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait

PH - October 17, 2017

Former US President Barack Obama has handpicked artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official Presidential portrait, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced. Wiley is best known for his pieces showing African-Americans in hip-hop gears,…

Nigeria Wins Re-Election Into UN Human Rights Council
World Buzz
41 views
World Buzz
41 views

Nigeria Wins Re-Election Into UN Human Rights Council

PH - October 17, 2017

Nigeria has won a re-election into the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for the 2018 to 2020 term at an election held on Monday at the…

FUNAAB Produces 203 First Class Graduates
Best of Nigeria
59 views
Best of Nigeria
59 views

FUNAAB Produces 203 First Class Graduates

PH - October 17, 2017

Ololade Enikuomehin, acting vice-chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, said on Monday that the institution produced 203 first class graduates in the 2016/2017 academic session. The university also said…

Tagbo: 5 Things You Need To Know About Davido’s Late Friend
Entertainment
83 views
Entertainment
83 views

Tagbo: 5 Things You Need To Know About Davido’s Late Friend

MT - October 16, 2017

About two weeks ago, Nigerians woke up to the news of the death of one Tagbo Umeike, who was later introduced as a friend of Nigerian hip…

Lukaku Reveals Why He Do Not Put Pressure On Himself Scoring Against Big Teams
Sports
47 views
Sports
47 views

Lukaku Reveals Why He Do Not Put Pressure On Himself Scoring Against Big Teams

MT - October 16, 2017

Liverpool goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet was barely troubled by the Premier League’s top scorer, Romelu Lukaku on Saturday, but he is certain that important goals will come at…

Orji-Uzor Kalu Speaks About Buhari’s Govt. – ‘The President Is Marginalizing The Igbos, I’m Not Afraid To Speak The Truth’
Politics
65 views
Politics
65 views

Orji-Uzor Kalu Speaks About Buhari’s Govt. – ‘The President Is Marginalizing The Igbos, I’m Not Afraid To Speak The Truth’

MT - October 16, 2017

While speaking in an exclusive interview with The Sun Newspaper, achieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, state that…

The Transformation Of These Twins Has Got The Internet Buzzing (PHOTOS)
Inspiring
79 views
Inspiring
79 views

The Transformation Of These Twins Has Got The Internet Buzzing (PHOTOS)

MT - October 16, 2017

These twins’ transformation has everyone talking! Talking about transforming, here’s one. Wow! I guess They grew up Learned a few tricks about makeup and bleaching too.

In Photos: Wives Of Nigerian Senators Looking Glamorous As They Attend Birthday Party In Ibadan
Politics
73 views
Politics
73 views

In Photos: Wives Of Nigerian Senators Looking Glamorous As They Attend Birthday Party In Ibadan

MT - October 16, 2017

Toyin Saraki, wife of senate president led a group of women (wives of Nigerian senators) to celebrate Senator Akanbi’s wife’s 50th birthday in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.…

Best Proposal Ever: Nigerian Man Stage Molestation By Soldiers Just To Propose To Girlfriend (Watch Video)
Romance and Love
63 views
Romance and Love
63 views

Best Proposal Ever: Nigerian Man Stage Molestation By Soldiers Just To Propose To Girlfriend (Watch Video)

MT - October 16, 2017

A Nigerian man teamed up with a set of soldiers just to propose to his girlfriend. The man was seen in the video pretending to be molested…

2019 Election: Buhari Remains “Unbeatable Candidate For The APC”
Politics
49 views
Politics
49 views

2019 Election: Buhari Remains “Unbeatable Candidate For The APC”

PH - October 16, 2017

Kogi State Governor, Alh. Yahaya Bello has reiterated the determination of the people of the state and Nigerians in general to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari continues his…

Loading...