Health & Wellness

Mind and Emotions Play Important Roles in Dieting, Researchers Say

If you are finding it difficult to stick to your diet plans, it’s probably your heart that’s dictating your decision.

That’s what researchers revealed in their latest study on behavioral patterns connected with dieting and calorie intake. Research proponents Marc Kiviniemi of the University at Buffalo and Carolyn Brown-Kramer of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln identified the distinction between diet plans and diet behavior. “The crux of the disconnect is the divide between thoughts and feelings. Planning is important, but feelings matter, and focusing on feelings and understanding their role can be a great benefit,” Kiviniemi said in a news release.

Results of the study showed that while the brain does the planning phase of formulating a diet plan, ultimately it’s the person’s feelings that will dictate the final decision. “If you’re sitting back conceiving a plan you may think rationally about the benefits of eating healthier foods, but when you’re in the moment, making a decision, engaging in a behavior, it’s the feelings associated with that behavior that may lead you to make different decisions from those you planned to make,” the researchers said.

Kiviniemi suggests adding joy and excitement into diet plans so that the person feels great doing the diet. Eating healthy foods is the first step. “In the dietary domain, eating more fruits and vegetables is fabulous advice. But if you have negative feelings about those food choices, they might not represent elements of a good plan… It’s not just about eating healthy foods. It’s about eating the healthy foods you like the most,” Kiviniemi added.

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