How To Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy
The brain is our most important organ; a human mind can control the whole body. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that there is actually a biological reason behind a person craving ice cream instead of broccoli. The good news is, this means you can actually train your brain to want to eat healthy!
Caveman’s Instinct Rules Our Dietary Habits
Nutritionist Susan Roberts explains in her book The Instinct Diet that it is actually up to us to train our brains to crave healthy food items instead of junk. Roberts’ premise is based on the “Caveman’s instinct,” which explains that "For most of human history, people didn't have enough to eat, so fat was something you really needed to seek out."
In other words, it means that in order to avoid dying of starvation, the human brain is trained to seek out calorie-rich foods and opt for them instead of more healthy options.
Trick Your Brain To Think Healthy
Your brain may force you to reach for that chocolaty doughnut in the bakery shop, instead of the healthier flavored yogurt being sold in the next shelf, but now you can counter your brain.
In a recent study, subjects were put on a vanilla-flavored drink, which was low in saturated fat, every day for a fortnight. After two weeks, about a third of the subjects started craving the drink, which they described as “chalky and not very yummy.” In another research experiment, carried out in Japan, it was established that cravings were induced by the our living environment . The authors of this study explained that cravings for a particular kind of food were mainly influenced by cultural traditions.
So, you see, it is all a matter of “How To Train Your Brain,” to borrow from a popular children’s movie, “How To Train Your Dragon.” And we will show you how to do it.
Training Your Dragon, Oops, Brain!
It takes practice, a lot of practice, to get over your instincts and change your cravings for better. One such woman, chocoholic Susan Wonders (name changed), underwent the Instinct Diet plan and today, she is a changed woman. In fact, after undergoing the program, she now craves high-fiber cereal and salad, instead of chocolate doughnuts or milkshakes. Moreover, she feels nauseous if she eats chocolate now. That may be a little extreme but still, isn’t it heartening to know that we can really reprogram our cravings?
Obesity and Brain Control
Hundreds of researchers are spending hours studying the way the brain controls eating habits. They have found that our eating habits are based on two neurological mechanisms. The brain controls the need to eat as well as the desire to eat. After joining together these two mechanisms, the brain tells us what to eat and what to crave. If we succeed in training our brain to balance the two mechanisms, we shall be able to control our cravings and eat only what the body needs, not what it wants.
Learn To Crave Healthy Food
The nutritionists describe it as a three-step process where individuals can switch from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy diet, with their brain’s consent, of course.
STEP ONE: Clean your home
This means you have to remove any signs of crave-worthy food items from your house. Do not bring in ANY junk food that you do not want yourself eating. Even if you have to buy it for someone or some occasion, get rid of it as soon as it has filled its purpose. For instance, if you have a party at home and you bring in chocolate ice creams for the occasion, as soon as the party is over, give away the leftovers to friends, neighbors or relatives. DO NOT KEEP ANY UNHEALTHY FOODS AT HOME.
STEP TWO: Carry your healthy foods with you
Next step in the direction of getting healthier is to be self-sustaining. Keep your choice of healthy foods with you, so that you can dig into them whenever you have the craving for something unhealthy. ALWAYS CARRY AN APPLE OR HIGH-FIBER CEREAL WITH YOU.
STEP THREE: Eat craved foods in between - the sandwich method
This last step works on the simple principle that your brain thinks for itself. Doctors say that if you eat craved food items in the middle of a meal, your brain will not have a chance to associate that item with a pleasant memory. This sandwich technique means you start your meal with a healthy choice, eat about 100 calories of the craved food in the middle and then finish your meal with another healthy choice. In all probability, the brain will not even notice that you had something like that to eat. EAT CRAVED FOODS ON THE SLY.
Now that you are familiar with the basics of how to train your brain to eat healthy, you wil not be reaching for that bowl of chocolate ice cream after dinner any more. Listen to your brain and stay healthy.