Does Fear Help You To Eat Better?

Not at all. But read more to learn why. And what other motivation might suit you better.

Yesterday I came across an interesting TED talk, how to motivate yourself to effectively change behavior.
Listen to the entire TED talk by neuro scientist Tali Sharot HERE.

Fear vs. Behavior Change

The main message is that fear is not the most helpful stimulator to create healthy lifestyle habits. The knowledge that unhealthy eating is a health risk does not necessarily get you to eat better.

The scientist compared it to the instict behavior animals show when exposed to a threat: They either freeze or flight, rarely fight.
When transfered to our behavior, it would mean that the unpleasant thought of an increased weight shown on our bathroom scale will not stop us to grab the third cookie. We rather avoid the unpleasant exposure, eg. stop weighing ourself, instead of tackling the main root of the problem.

Long-term Positivity

‘Constant positive reinforcement is the fuel that keeps the fire burning long enough to achieve any change you desire.’

We need helpful reinforcements and focus on the positive outcomes. Rather than having the image of the scale on your mind, develop a picture of your stronger self. Imagine how good it will feel if you get yourself to put the half-full cookie bag back into the cabinet. Save it for tomorrow ;o)

Reward Yourself Daily

Rewards have a direct impact – having something to look forward to makes it easier to stick with a healthy habit when you’re feeling a lack of motivation. Some people like to work towards bigger goals, but for most of us, daily rewards keep us going.

The simplest form of a daily reward is a check-mark on your calendar. It will help you to keep track of your 10 min daily exercise sessions, of your 10 min extra walks and if you got yourself to add a daily veggie serving.

My Favorite Rewards

For a list of possible rewards, check out this post LINK

My favorite forms to treat myself are the following:
-) Listen to an awesome podcast. I mainly do this when I go for a walk. Which makes it a win-win situation.
-) Meet a friend on a Friday evening or Saturday morning for a walking cappuccino. Your fitness friend will be thrilled to see you, a cup of coffee, and get to enjoy some outdoor activity at the same time!

Besides the intrinsic benefits that come from feeling better, rewarding yourself for your healthy efforts will reinforce your desire to repeat it the next day!

A healthy body needs a healthy mind. You can’t control everything in life. But you can control what you put in your body. Use a few tricks to keep it up!


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