The brain is quite powerful. The placebo effect can trick us into thinking something is having an effect when it’s not, and we can even use it to help us lose weight, too. One way to do this is by thinking of “instead” rather than “no” when it comes to food, specifically your snacking habits. This can be better than telling yourself that you can’t have something.
A blogger at Lifehacker wrote an interesting post about thinking of “instead” rather than “no” when dieting, which is based off something written in an office management book by author Heidi Grant Halvorson. Heidi said that the key to passing on snacks at the workplace–though this can work at home as well–is to think of what you will do when temptation strikes in advance. Her example is to tell yourself that you can have a cookie, but if you want a second, drink a glass of water instead. By using the water as a replacement instead of telling yourself no, you can more easily move past the urge to have that second cookie.
On a related note, researchers at Utrecht University found that the more you think about NOT doing something, the more likely you are to do it. Sitting around telling yourself that you won’t have that second cookie and that you’ll drink that glass of water instead might actually make you eat the cookie. Tell yourself ahead of time that you’ll have the water, but don’t sit around thinking about not eating the cookie. Focus your mind on other things instead of the delicious cookies.
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that drinking a glass of water won’t take the place of eating a cookie (or pizza, or chips, or candy, or…) but I can guarantee that after you eat that second cookie, you’ll regret it and wish you had that glass of water instead. At the very least, this method is worth a try. Your brain might surprise you and this little mind hack could prove to be a useful tool when it comes to choosing the healthier option.