I remember playing childhood sports, the coach would often tell us to visualize winning the game or making the free throw or goal. This technique is used by athletes a lot to prepare mentally, and many say it works. Apparently these visualization techniques also work for dieting.
If you make a concrete plan and visualize yourself carrying it out, you will be more likely to succeed. In a psychology study, a group of people was told to set goals to eat more fruit. Then half of that group was told to write out a plan of how they were going to eat more fruit and also visualize their plan coming to fruition. The group who did the visualization ended up eating twice as much fruit as the group who just set goals without making a plan and doing visualization.
Unfortunately, visual cues can also sabotage your healthy plans.
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that seeing overweight people can cause one to make unhealthy decisions. After seeing someone who was overweight, research participants ate twice as many cookies in a cookie taste test than those people who did not see someone who was overweight.
- When you make goals for yourself, make sure to also include an action plan. Then take a couple of minutes each morning to visualize yourself carrying out your plan for the day… and visualize yourself achieving the end goal.
- When you see someone who is overweight or you are in a position that encourages unhealthy behaviors that would sabotage your goals, take a break to think about your goals, and also think about the connection between unhealthy eating and weight gain (this was found to help study participants abstain from eating too many cookies).
This technique could be very useful this week!!
Preidt, Robert. “Images of Overweight People can Thwart Diet, Study Finds” healthday.com, May 5, 2011.
Preidt, Robert. “To Eat More Fruit, Picture a Fruit Salad” healthday.com, March 5, 2011.