Diets and the Pavlovian conditioning battle

3 Tips to succeed on a “diet”

If it isn’t the new fitness craze it’s usually a new diet that cures all and is the ultimate weight loss, toner. The various diets marketed: Atkins, intermittent fasting, carb cycling, weight watchers, keto, southbeach and the numerous others that hit the main stream. There are some that get results others a horror story.

Nutrition, for many, creates a challenge. The food that is often available is “junk food” fast food chains, as well as many pop in food restaurants. Food is also used for celebration, meetings, bordem, and it brings people together! Papa John’s pizza pays millions to be the NFL’s pizza sponsor. If a house has a football game on, there is a good chance Pizza, wings and coke are also being indulged. Food, events and having the right people creates the ultimate source of pleasure. The personal stories shared and the bonds that are created at these gatherings, overtime, create that involuntary positive response, classical conditioning. This happens with many situation, though they may be different, the habit created becomes the greatest obstacle.

The ANSWER!?… Change the behavior or get a hypnotist… could work! For the article’s sake, we’ll assume you’re doing it yourself. Here are 3 ways to succeed!

Nutrition Tip 1:  It’s a marathon not a sprint 

Choose a diet which fits your lifestyle not just for the moment, because you have a goal that’s a few weeks away, but a diet that can be adopted as a lifestyle.

Nutrition Tip 2 : Stop saying you’re on a diet

Everyone has done it, sat at a Thanksgiving meal ate the veggies and some of the turkey breast. Someone yells across the table “you have to try the stuffing”… “I’m on a diet I can’t eat that”. You create two specific problems. First, you become a target. Someone at the table is going to continue to insist you have some. “It’s ok it’s a holiday you can have a cheat meal” now you test your will and continue to fight back and though some may commend you… WHY?! just say “it looks great but I honestly don’t want any right now.” Without realizing it, when you answer “I’m on a diet” you reinforced to everyone but more importantly yourself, that instead of a lifestyle change this is just a temporary habit. Which leads into the second problem, don’t create a situation for yourself that makes you want to push the “red button”. You know, when you tell a kid don’t push that button? curiosity kills them! they push it. Maybe you don’t give in that time, but you’re creating an obstacle for yourself where there doesn’t need to be one. Don’t be your own worst enemy… “Thank you for the offer, it looks great! Honestly, I’m full”… try it!

Nutrition Tip 3:Plan your food

As you’re reading this you’re probably making a face. We plan our whole lives, activities, Dr. appointments, Kids soccer games, friends spelling bees, you name it it’s in a schedule. As big of a challenge as food is, it needs to be Scheduled! Set up a day to prep your food for the week. Then Make appointments for yourself to make sure you’ll eat it at the appropriate time. Even the busiest person can find time to sneak in a healthy meal, they just may not realize it. The meal is made by you and has everything you need to succeed, minus all the extra stuff. Don’t leave your food to chance, first time you get busy you will stop for the quickest food choice, and as discussed earlier, it’s usually not the greatest option.

Creating a habit with intent is the difference between having success on a “diet” and having a horror story experience. Reflect on the poor nutritional habits you have created and find solutions to combat them. The three in this article are a great place to start.

Written By: Kirill Vaks

Fitness Specialist

BA,CSCS,ACSM-cpt,NFPT-sns

 

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