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Improve Eating Habits with Mental Imagery and Action Plan

Improve Eating Habits with Mental Imagery and Action Plan

Mental imagery… a simple, yet effective way to improve your eating habits.

It’s as easy as one, two, three.

1. Decide to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Picture yourself touching, preparing, and enjoying fruits and vegetables.

2. Create an action plan:

  • choose specific foods each week;
  • decide when and where you will purchase the foods and make a grocery list;
  • decide when and how you will prepare them.

3. Savor it and give the process time to become habit-forming.

“Telling people to just change the way they eat doesn’t work; we’ve known that for a while,” Bärbel Knäuper of Montreal’s McGill University, Department of Psychology, said in a press release. “But research has shown that if people make a concrete plan about what they are going to do, they are better at acting on their intentions. What we’ve done that’s new is to add visualization techniques to the action plan.”

In a study published in Psychology and Health, 177 students were asked to set a goal of eating extra fruit for seven days.

All the students in the study ended up eating more fruit than they had before the study. But those who created an action plan, wrote it down, and visualized how they were going to carry out the action — when, where, and how they would buy, prepare and eat fruit — increased their fruit consumption twice as much as those who only said they would.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, , , , , ,

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

55 comments

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8:02AM PDT on Mar 17, 2011

I believe that will power IS an important factor, but certainly not the only factor in eliminating or at least reducing bad food habits...as the author said, give it time to become a good habidon't expect miracles over night!

10:56PM PDT on Mar 13, 2011

I love veggies. Thanks for sharing this great article.

11:49AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

oops... computer glitch... I am sorry for the repetition :-)

11:46AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

As to older folks asking what a particular fruit/veg. is... this is an opportunity to not only show kindness, but to help educate. I admire those who do not know, but who want to know. Asking is how we gain knowledge.
Heather,do not despair... ignorance is not necessarily a permanent condition. Were you helpful to those people? Perhaps offering ideas as to how to prepare these heretofore mysterious (to them) foods?
I do find that I have little patience for those who know what healthy nutrition involves and who do not apply this knowledge.

11:46AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

As to older folks asking what a particular fruit/veg. is... this is an opportunity to not only show kindness, but to help educate. I admire those who do not know, but who want to know. Asking is how we gain knowledge.
Heather,do not despair... ignorance is not necessarily a permanent condition. Were you helpful to those people? Perhaps offering ideas as to how to prepare these heretofore mysterious (to them) foods?
I do find that I have little patience for those who know what healthy nutrition involves and who do not apply this knowledge.

12:41AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Standing looking at food displayed today, one man asked what an avocado is - a man in his sixties. Another looked at a pumpkin and asked what it was. Sometimes I think people here have survived on bread and beer for all their lives......
I dispair at their ignorance.

10:41PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Applelmoes met frambozen en sinaasappelsap

1:57PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

I have to have a at least 3 or 4 pounds of carrots a week and I have to have one as soon as I get out of the store. I put the fruits and veggies around where I will be sure to grab and eat.

3:46AM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Thanks for sharing!!

6:11PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Just another "solution" to bad eating habits that seems to think that will-power is the end-all-be-all...

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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