Does your diet in Dubai have to suck? Or are you making it so with your beliefs? This article gives some practical ways that you can change
your mindset for better success when dieting.
Diets suck the big one don’t they? You feel hungry all the time, you have zero energy, and your friends and family have to suffer your bad moods. On top of that you get food cravings and your performance in the gym goes downhill. Or is this all in your head? Have we been conditioned to think that diets suck so we make it so? Read on and I may change your perspective about dieting in Dubai.
There was a fascinating study done by researchers in 2011 on two groups of people (1). In this study the two groups drank the exact same milkshake.
However, the first group’s milkshake was labeled as a 620kcal decadent dessert. Think Krispy Kreme donut blended in Haagen-Dazs ice cream. Yeah that’s what I’m talking about!
The second group’s milkshake was labeled as a 140kcal healthy shake. Think, over-priced ‘this is so healthy with no added anything’. Yeah with none of the taste.
However, both groups milkshake contained 380kcal. That’s right, they were both the exact same shake but just labeled differently. Here is the interesting part. The first group felt much fuller than the second group after drinking their shake and in fact they produced less of the hormone Ghrelin.
Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates your appetite. It goes up between meals and down when you eat depending on how much you have eaten. So their thoughts actually changed the physiological response of the body to food. Those that believed they would not be satisfied with their shake created their bodies reaction and it came to be.
This is called the nocebo affect. If you expect something to have a negative effect on you it will have. Truth is a lot of the feelings and reactions we have when dieting are in the mind. I’m sure most of you have heard the expression ‘thoughts become things’. Start with your mindset and you can make things a lot easier on yourself.
Ok great, so now that we have changed your expectations of how hard your diet is going to be does that mean it will be all plain sailing from here?
Well, probably not.
There will be times when you are hungry and occasions when you are tempted to ditch your diet completely. So to help you here are some more psychological tricks to give you the best chance of success.
Have you ever heard of decision fatigue?
This is the idea that your self-control or will power are a limited resource and can be used up. So if you have to make a few hard decisions on top of stopping yourself from snacking on that tasty cake that is going round the office you use up your will power and become decision fatigued. This makes it much harder to stick to a diet and good food choices and is the reason you cave to treats atthe end of a hard day (2).
How do you deal with this? Of course, with anything in life, you can get better the more you train yourself to over come this, but it takes time and effort.
Some practical advice that you can use immediately is to start planning ahead. Decide the day before what you will be eating the next day and if needed you can prep it the night before and take it with you if you will be out of the house. This takes all the decision away from you and leaves you free to tackle the more serious problems of your day-to-day life. Like what TV show to binge watch next on Netflix.
In line with this, another tip is to eat around the same time every day and have the same number of meals each day. This again helps with decision fatigue, as you know ahead of time exactly when you will eat. Eating around the same time each day also helps with hunger entrainment. Ever get hungry at 10am but your lunch is not for another two hours? This can happen when you have an irregular meal schedule and goes back to that pesky hormone grehlin.
Research has shown that grehlin rises in anticipation of a meal making you hungry (3). So by having regular eating times you can literally train your body to feel hungry when suits you.
The last tip I will give you is to be mindful of the food you are eating. This basically means don’t do jack while eating except, well, eating. This allows your mind to register how much food you are consuming and signal you to stop. And is the reason why people always eat more in social situations and while watching TV (4).
So just concentrate on chowing down the food before you. Yep, the next episode of insert whichever TV show you are watching at the moment will have to wait until after you have eaten. In conclusion, I am not saying that dieting is or should be easy. There is a lot of habit building involved and many obstacles to
overcome. However, know that you are capable of great things. Of enduring many hardships and growing stronger from them. If you are not where you want to be yet, you will be in time with the right effort. Don’t limit yourself with false beliefs and learn to not only train your body but your mind as well.
Craig is the owner of Lapsley Fitness a Personal Training service transforming bodies and health in Dubai and online.
Craig is a specialist when it comes to helping you lose weight in Dubai with his personalised online and at home personal fitness plans.
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