Eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge – especially during the holidays. But recent research suggests that mindset has a lot to do with it. In fact, just seeing yourself as a healthy eater can make a huge difference…
If you want to eat healthier, imagine you already do, suggest researchers Amanda Brouwer and Katie Mosack in a recent study published in the journal Self & Identity.
Researchers found that envisioning the concept of “self as doer”—labeling yourself as a vegetable eater, water drinker, or sugar evader, for example—can merge the healthy behaviors you want to adopt into your identity.
To test this theory, Brouwer and Mosack tried influencing the eating habits of 124 women. Each was given information on portion sizes up front and asked to keep a food journal for six weeks. They were then divided into three groups.
The first group was provided with additional nutrition information, the second received nothing else and served as a control group, and the third group was asked to create six identity statements from their healthy eating goals. A woman wanting to eat more vegetables, for example, created an identity statement of already being a “vegetable eater.”
Throughout the six weeks, women in the “self as doer” group maintained their healthy eating habits, while the same habits digressed week by week in the other two groups. Women in the “self as doer” group also averaged one more serving of healthy food per day than the other women.
Reframing your identity can significantly motivate you to stick to your goals, Brouwer and Mosack conclude.
“The more one identifies with a particular role, the more likely one is to participate in role-related behaviors,” they explain. “The very process of conceptualizing the self as a ‘healthy eater’ brings about greater identification with this role.”
Most of us don’t realize how connected our minds and bodies really are. Even just a simple change such as seeing yourself as a “doer” can make a big difference in your health!
Source: Motivating Healthy Diet Behaviors: The Self-as-Doer Identity: Self & Identity, Issue 6, Vol. 14, 2015.