Cooking & KnowingIn the section Cooking & Knowing, health journalist Tijn Elferink delves into a food topic that is confusing. This time: how to get rid of your bad habits; cold turkey or slow down?
Lose ten pounds, don’t drink alcohol during Dry January, quit smoking and run every day for that marathon in a few months; the new year is already almost three weeks old and many good intentions have already been lost.
It’s not your fault, Daan Remarque reassures. What characterizes all good intentions is that they are cold Turkey. “The drastic turnaround,” says the behavioral scientist. In his book The Jojo Effect he explains this on the basis of diets. Whether it’s Sonja Bakker or the keto diet, they’re all based on the same principle. “A radical reduction of calories.”
Teun van de Keuken tested seven diets for his recently published book This is not a diet book. “All diets work and in the end no diet works,” he concluded after a year and a half of dieting. ,, Losing five kilos is not that difficult, but making sure that those five kilos stay off is. No diet is so appealing that you always want to do it.”
As soon as you stop, the pounds just fly back on. Similar to drug withdrawal, Remarque says. “People go home after the clinic, where they fall into old habits.” That’s why dieting, Dry January, and a commitment to exercise every day don’t work. “The beast you fight has habits.”
You quickly forget a cookie with the coffee
And those habits are so insidious because you barely notice them, Van de Keuken knows. “If you go somewhere to drink coffee, you get a cookie with it. At the end of the day I ate four cookies. But if you ask me the next day what I ate, I’ve long forgotten that. Then I write down very well: I ate pasta with vegetable sauce and I keep wondering: where do those kilos come from?”
“You automatically eat such a cookie,” says Liesbeth Velema, of the Nutrition Center. “If it wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have eaten it.” The behavioral expert therefore advocates that we look less at the individual and more at the eating environment. “The environment tempts people to choose an unhealthy snack, for example because there are so many unhealthy snacks at the checkout.”
You eat cookies so thoughtlessly that you forget them when you take back what you have ingested in one day. Health journalist Tijn Elferink and editor Koken & Eten Ellen den Hollander talk about the best way to live a healthier life in this episode of the Koken & Weten podcast.
That is why people themselves are asking for more tasty and easily healthy choices. “This will help all those Dutch people who want to snack and snack less.” Velema previously conducted research into the healthy company restaurant. Healthy lunch choices at the beginning of the walking route and in larger quantities, smaller portions, free water and snacks more expensive. All effective.
Train your self-control
According to Rick Baaren, professor of behavioral change & society at Radboud University Nijmegen, you are not dependent on others. “Self-control can be trained. After all, you don’t jump on every person who looks a bit nice.”
Remarque’s book is therefore about changing habits. “Small steps and set a learning goal,” says the behavioral psychologist. So not ‘I won’t eat meat for a month’ but rather ‘I want to learn how to make a tasty pasta Bolognese without meat’. Meat substitutes, but also alcohol-free beer and oat milk make life a lot easier. “A vegetable cookbook is nice, but you don’t cook from it more than three times. With a substitute, you can keep the habit.”
Do not be alarmed by relapse, experts emphasize. Van de Keuken knows better than anyone that these belong. ,,Stations and filled cakes are life threatening for me, especially at the end of a working day when my brain is too tired to protest. If I had snacked, I thought: now it doesn’t matter anymore because I already failed.”
The ‘what the hell effect’, says Velema of the Nutrition Center. “But a mistake is not a failure.” You can prepare for it, says behavioral psychologist and sports coach Johnny Buivenga. ,,For example, help with a so-called if-then plan. If I feel like a filled biscuit at the station, I eat a banana.”
According to Van de Keuken, as quickly as you can lose your motivation, that is how quickly you can pick it up again. For example with the help of purchased motivation: a personal trainer or dietician. ,,I kept track of everything I ate in an app and my dietician was watching. ‘Oh Teun’, she would say, ‘did you take that filled cake, after all?’”
Small steps, all behavioral experts agree on that. Diets work, but if you stop, the pounds come back. It’s about habits and how to change them. Formulate a learning goal and make a plan. And be prepared for a relapse. That’s part of it.
Do you have any tips?
You can respond at the bottom of this article. Only comments with a full name be placed. We do this because we want a debate with people who stand for what they say, and who put their name on it. If you still need to enter your name, you can do so by clicking ‘Login’ at the top right of our site.
Ilja was much too heavy and had a cerebral infarction in June 2019. She followed a low-carbohydrate diet on the advice of the doctor and in combination with sports she lost more than 100 kilos:
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.
#Sports #alcohol #healthy #food #fell #swoop #succeed