Welcome to my big breakfast table…
Sit down and place your clean cloth napkin on your lap.
Smell the fresh food cooking, hear the bright classic rock drifting through the house…
My son will light a candle for us…
Yes, even at breakfast.
See the farmer’s market flowers from our walk Saturday…
Here’s your tea or water. Take a deep breath.
Smell the food, prepared with love.
Savor the moment.
Hidden in this simple morning ritual are powerful positive psychology tools to eating perfect portions:
Many of our food choices aren’t really conscious choices.
Hidden and unconscious factors that effect your brain have a big impact on what, and how much, we eat:
- Bad planning.
- Optical illusions…
What? Optical illusions? I’ll get to that in a moment…
Most of us make about 200 food choices a day, and it’s not just what to have for breakfast:
Should I reward myself with a cookie for going to the gym?
Do I want an apple or blueberries?
Should I put mayo on that, or olive oil?
All those 200+ choices drain your brain of willpower, which is a finite resource.
Once you run out of your daily allowance of willpower, likely in the afternoon or evening, you’re more likely to eat more of the things that don’t help you with your energy and well-being.
You could use willpower to fight your old ways of eating, but that doesn’t really work. (Right? We’ve all tried it 1,000 times)
Luckily the worlds of Positive Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience are helping us to trick our brains and bodies into eating better foods, and better portions.
Use these 4 science based strategies to make healthy eating easy:
- Use Optical Illusions to Help You Eat Less: Sitting at a larger table (as opposed to your desk or a small table) performs some optical illusion magic to help you naturally eat smaller portions. [Cornell University Food & Brand Lab]
- Relax Before You Eat: STOP Working Through Lunch: Stressed out people make worse food choices. Do a round of deep breathing to help calm your body and brain (my favorite is below) [Harvard Study]
- Get Happy: People who practice gratitude before meals make better choices and tend to eat less. [University of Texas Study]
- Pre-Game Your Lunch: Making a lunch the night before helps you make better choices as you won’t be rushed. [SheKnows.com]
Here are 5 ways to integrate these science-based eating strategies into your life so that you make better choices and naturally eat the right amount for your body:
- Eat at a table, not your desk.
- Eat at a table, not a TV tray binge watching Orange Is The New Black.
- Do a round of deep breathing (4-7-8 breathing is my favorite – here’s a quick video I use with my son to teach him) before you eat, or even before you choose what to eat.
- Write down, think about, or tell your lunch friend 3 things that you’re grateful for this week before you eat. Then have them share! (For super gold star bonus effect: make sure you include how you had a part in that thing happening)
- Make your lunch the night before, packed and ready to go in the morning.
It’s not just what we eat, it’s how we eat.
I hope you’ll enjoy these simple, science-based tricks to easily make healthy eating more joyful.
Try just one of these strategies for the next week and share how it work for you!
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