Train your brain to lose weight: Preparing for a diet is key to success, according to new book
22:14 GMT, 15 April 2012
We’ve all been there. A colleague offers us a chocolate biscuit, and our diet unravels faster than you can say ‘HobNobs’.
What to do Well, the latest trick from New York is to train your brain not to give in to snacks — before you start any weight-loss regime.
Eileen Daspin, author of The Manhattan Diet, says: ‘Dieting takes mental power, not just willpower. Runners train for a marathon. Yet when it comes to dieting, people just start. Don’t do this.’
Food association: When you crave a sweet treat, reach for a healthy snack you like instead first to train yourself to eat better (posed by model)
Her advice is to prepare yourself in the same way a sportsperson would train physically and mentally to undergo a gruelling event — by training your brain to give up your favourite foods.
Daspin says that before you even attempt to tackle a diet, you should pscyhe yourself up for three weeks beforehand by focusing on removing one treat at a time.
Scientists say it takes 21 days to break a habit, so take this time to get yourself ready and give yourself a higher chance of success.
To start this process, define your ‘trigger foods’ — the unhealthy snacks you just can’t seem to walk away from. Eileen says: ‘When you have isolated one food, make a commitment not to eat it for ten days. If you can go without for that time, you can go for another ten. And another. /04/15/article-2130179-0BAA762000000578-196_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Think like an athlete: Marathon runners like Britain's Jo Pavey and Liz Yelling wouldn't prepare for a race without training – and dieters should do the same according to author Eileen Daspin” class=”blkBorder” />
Think like an athlete: Marathon runners like Britain's Jo Pavey and Liz Yelling wouldn't prepare for a race without training – and dieters should do the same according to author Eileen Daspin
As Eileen says: ‘You can train yourself not to want certain foods. For instance, even though I’m no longer a vegetarian, I rarely eat meat. I just lost the taste for it. You can re-engineer your taste buds this way.’
Another brain training tip is to find a simple, healthy food you love that you can eat in the place of your favourite naughty foods. That could be sushi, hummus, carrots, or fresh fruit.
Then when you feel a craving coming on, eat this snack first to fill yourself up. This will psychologically train you to seek something healthy when you start to get hungry.
However, if you do slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself — simply refocus and remember tomorrow is a new day. Eileen says: ‘A little cheat can go a long way as a psychological reward.’