Are you craving chocolate yet? What if I told you not to eat it and that it would make you fat? Now how do you feel about eating it? Are you mad-jonesing for it?
That’s what a recent study found. A joint research team of the University of Western Australia and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland found that when a group of 80 women were presented with videos or images warning that chocolate could lead to obesity that they were more likely to crave it. When shown images of thin models, their desire to eat chocolate increased while their food consumption desire decreased.
The study that appears in the journal Appetite, while interesting, highlights a problem we are probably all aware of but do little to acknowledge. We want to do the things people don’t want us to. There is a part of human nature that enjoys rebelling against a system of order. And when people are dieting, the life of their eating habits is a system of order.
It is actually the lack of discipline relating to rebellion that is the reason why many diets fail. Because diets, and worse yet fad diets, are short term solutions that are often not adopted as permanent lifestyle changes. Any short term benefits of dieting are often lost very quickly when the diet ends and a person reverts back to their normal eating habits.
It’s the big changes to our habits that we have the biggest problem dealing with. There is often a short-term immediate acceptance but in the long run we’ll naturally want to go back to an old way of doing things.
Instead of trying to make sudden sweeping changes to your habits consider small changes. Nutritionists have seen better long-term results when people adopt smaller changes to their eating habits.
When you start small think of how many calories you take in each day. Are you drinking three cans of soda a day? Could you live with two? Are you getting the fast food combo with large fries and a drink? Maybe go medium instead, that is if you absolutely need to have that fast food meal.
Do you find yourself constantly snacking in front of your television or your computer? What is it that you’re snacking on? Is it cookies or chips? When you sit down to browse your queued instant videos or check your email, consider putting a bowl of baby carrots in front of you. Health experts have found that people have a tendency to reach for and snack on whatever is close at hand. If what’s close at hand just happens to be a healthy fruit or vegetable snack it could be much better for your belly than a box of doughnuts.
Little changes to your fitness can be adopted as well. It can be as simple as just parking your car a little further away from the entrance to the shopping mall. If you’re walking up a few floors in a building take the stairs instead. If you are going up thirty floors though it is probably just fine to take the elevator so you don’t show up at your business meeting sweating and huffing and puffing. If you do have the gusto to climb thirty flights of stairs then go for it!
When you step into 2013 for the first time and think about that most common of mantras people like to attempt every time a New Year starts, think about taking small steps. When somebody tells you not to eat chocolate because it will make you fat don’t just eat that chocolate out of spite. Take small steps and pay attention to your habits when it comes to eating and you may find that positive change may be coming your way.