Your perspective on food hinders weight loss

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
How you look at food blocks you from losing weight. Train your brain, and lose weight.

Let's start with a question: What is your first thought, when you look at this cake?

Is it:

Option a: Amazing! This is my favorate snack, I love it!

Option b: Horrible! I am on a diet! Why are you showing me this?

Option c: Doesn’t tick my box, looks nice, nothing special

Thoughts, feelings, behavior

The way we look at things, and what our very first (almost unconscious) thoughts are, impact show we feel about those things, and how we act. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are innertwined.  

We can distinguish between three categories of thoughts: 

1.     Positive thought: Cake is amazing

Positive thoughts lead to short- term positive emotions: You feel happy to see the cake! These emotions lead to short- term behavior: You’re on your way to get the cake.

In the longer run these short- term thoughts, emotions and actions lead to negative thoughts, emotions and actions. Because there is a great chance that after eating the cake, your start to feel guilty, angry or sad (negative emotions); you start to think of your weight loss journey a chance-less project (negative thoughts), and you might even quit your project (negative behavior). So you initial positive thoughts and happy feelings lead to long- term negative effects and prevent you from losing weight in a sustainable way. 

2.     Negative thoughts: Cake is forbidden fruit

Your initial negative thoughts lead to negative emotions in the short- run, but also to positive behavior in the short- run because It might prevent you from running to the store to get cake. But, in the long run this it not a very effective or sustainable way to lose weight.  

As soon as something is “forbidden fruit”, we want it even more. Restrictions create negative emotions and stress. It takes a lot of willpower to stick to your restrictions.(Motivation is an unreliable friend). Willpower is not undepletable. At some point you probably give into what is our forbidden fruit, and you probably will buy the cake anyway. That negative behavior will lead to negative thoughts and emotions. And this also prevents you from losing weight in a sustainable way.  

3.     Neutral thoughts: Cake is just food.

Imagine how you would feel, if you would look at the cake in a more neutral way. Cake is just food, nothing special. You would probably feel pretty neutral and not particularly happy or sad. And imagine how your would act upon that. You would probably not do anything at all regarding the cake.

Break the cycle

How you look at food and what the first thing is that comes to mind, impacts how you feel and act. Becoming more aware of your thought regarding food can help you to break your negative cycle and set yourself up for a healthier cycle of thoughts, emotions and behavior. Here is how:

1.     Write down what thoughts come to mind when you think of your forbidden fruit. The foods you do not want to eat, but are almost irresistible

2.     Rephrase those thoughts into more neutral ones.

3.     Repeat your new thoughts out loud every time you are confronted with your forbidden fruit or when your struggle with a craving

At first, this trick might feel artificial, but by doing it consistently, your new thoughts will eventually ingrain and become second nature. But, it is really important to keep doing it over and over again. Because you cannot expect yourself to change something in a few weeks that you have probably been doing for years. 

Train your brain, and lose weight!

Create your own health!©