This Crazy-Simple Trick Is the Key to Diet Success

Elinor Block

Why is it when we want to shift a couple of pounds we find ourselves wanting that tasty doughnut instead of the healthy kale even more? Turns out there's a really simple trick to changing your diet successfully and getting rid of excess weight—you just need to know what food you like and dislike.

Obviously, when we put it like that, it sounds ridiculously easy. Like, of course, that's what we should all be doing when we want to lose weight or when taking a healthier approach to our diet. But, turns out, that's where many have been going wrong. According to a new study usefully titled Saying ‘No’ to Cake or ‘Yes’ to Kale, those who are better at losing weight tend to choose the healthy foods they actually like and don't set themselves too hard a bar in terms of cutting out the stuff they love. Basically, they make it much easier on themselves. 

In an experiment conducted by Baylor University and Vanderbilt University, a group of students were asked to imagine they were starting a new diet. One-half tried the "approach" condition, writing out a list of the foods they’d try to eat more of. They also then ranked how much they liked each one on a scale of one to seven. The other half of the group used the "avoidance" strategy, which is all about writing down the foods they should avoid to change their diet for the better.

Keep scrolling to find out the results of the study.

PHOTO:

@urbanoutfitters

So, which group won? Well, neither actually. The trick here was finding out who were the people with the most self-control in both the "approach" and "avoidance" group, as that was really the key indicator to show who would and who wouldn't eat well.

Those who had more self-control were more likely to stick to their diets—they were also the ones who made their lives easier. Those in approach who had more self-control, listed healthy foods they enjoyed, rather than trying to put in foods they would find tough to eat. Similarly, in the avoidance group, the more successful type of people got rid of items they wouldn't mind not eating. And those with low self-control? They made it harder on themselves, adding in items they didn't like or simply adding their favourite food to the restricted list. 

So, the next time you're thinking of changing up your diet, think about this: What do you really love? From there, it should be much easier. 

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