About a year ago I had a major shift in the way I thought about eating, and it has improved my health ever since.
The way I used to eat: I associated unhealthy food with pleasure, and healthy foods with pain.
I would think about that burger, fries, and milkshake all day. About how juicy and tasty it would be, how satisfied I would be afterwards, and how good it make me feel.
Isn’t this what most people do? They ‘reward’ themselves with chocolate cake when they have ‘been good’ or ‘deserve a break’, where the salad feels like punishment.
Sometimes after an especially hard day at work, when I was stressed out and exhausted, I would reward myself with some junk food. In a sense, I was using food like medication. The food was a drug I took to relieve stress!
That’s the fundamental problem. If you associate unhealthy foods with pleasure and healthy foods with pain, then eating right will always be difficult. Mentally, you are telling yourself that eating healthy food is a burden and hard to do, so what do you expect? Eventually, you will lose that battle of will power.
But then one day I was watching a Tony Robbins video, and he helped me make this shift in thinking…
The way I eat now: I associate unhealthy food with pain and healthy food with pleasure.
Have you ever noticed that after gorging yourself on that burger, fries, and shake…you feel a little bit tired? Have you ever had indigestion, and felt like a brick was lodged in your stomach?
These are the sort of feelings you can begin to associate with unhealthy food.
Tony Robbins took it a step further. He asked you to vividly imagine your heart and arteries being clogged, and showed you graphic images to imprint it in your brain.
Warning, clicking the links below can be disturbing if you have a weak stomach!
The next time you are thinking about eating that slice of pizza, with all the oil and fat dripping off of it, picture your arteries filling up with that fat like this. Picture a surgeon having to cut open your chest and putting a stint in your heart so that the blood can keep flowing. Try to find a picture that actually makes you feel a little bit sick.
If you vividly imagine these things, you can train yourself to actually feel pain (in the form of nausea or disgust) at the idea of eating unhealthy foods.
Similarly, you can train yourself to associate positive images with healthy food. Imagine yourself with tons of energy, ready to take on the world, and achieving high levels of productivity (making more money).
Start to think of your body like it was a super-sonic airplane that you fill with high-energy jet fuel. You wouldn’t pour sugar in the gas tank of such a marvelous machine, so why put it into your body?
Use whatever is motivating to you in particular and train yourself to recall that image any time you need it. Eventually, just bringing up that picture in your mind can cause the same emotions to flood your body. This will help you make the right decisions when eating.
Instead of using food to make you feel better, use it as a way to get energy, and you’ll see dramatic changes in your health over time!
Brian Armstrong is an entrepreneur who achieved financial freedom working for himself by age 23. You can learn how to start your own business, transition out of the 9-to-5 rat race, and get other life-hack tips on his website.