Darya Rose is the author of Foodist and creator ofSummer Tomato, one of TIME’s 50 Best Websites of 2011. She received her Ph.D in neuroscience from UCSF and her bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Darya spends most of her time thinking and writing about food, health, and science. She eats amazing things daily and hasn’t even considered going on a diet since 2007.
When it comes to weight loss, knowing what to eat and what not to eat is rarely our biggest problem. Most of us understand instinctively that salad is a better choice than french fries. The real challenge is making the right decision often enough to have a lasting impact on our health and body weight.
The food and health decisions we make every day start in our brains, not on our plates. Here are five simple brain hacks you can use to make healthy choices easier instead of harder to implement.
1. Don’t call food “healthy”
While there is a small segment of the population that does not react negatively to the word “healthy,” most of us assume healthy food tastes worse and is less filling. Ironically, this is true whether or not the food is actually healthy.
Research has shown that reframing your food choices as “tasty” or “fresh” instead of “healthy,” will help you enjoy the food more and be satisfied with less.
2. Sleep and eat at the same times each day
Our brains have built-in clocks that do their best to predict our behavior and make sure our bodies are ready for things like sleeping and eating. It does this by regulating hormones that control hunger, satiety, alertness, sleepiness, and all the other things we do on a daily basis.
When we are on a regular schedule of sleeping and eating at the same times each day we are far better at regulating our body weight, because we are hungry at the appropriate times. An added bonus is that you’ll also get better sleep.
Be sure to click over for more brain hacks on page two.
Photo: Courtesy of Darya Rose