Designing mindful eating behaviour

So, I’m quite sure, that intuitive and mindful eating is the right thing for me and my health. But it’s so incredibly difficult to practice it! It’s almost impossible to remember to focus on listening to your body if all your other habits tell you not to!

I’m sure I’m not the only one that meets this challenge when starting to eat mindfully. That’s why I have decided to take a professional approach to this and use behavioural insights to become full-time mindful eater!

I want to nudge myself to mindful eating. I will try some tricks every day, and judge their effectiveness and usefulness. But first of all I will describe the way experts approach behavioural change.

When you want to change someone’s behaviour, you need to look at the following:

  1. Define the desired behaviour.
  2. Do a barrier analysis
  3. Design the solution
  4. Test the solution

To change the behaviour easily we need to go through these four steps.

In this post I’ll write about the first part of the work process.

 

Design vector created by alekksall – www.freepik.com

Desired behaviour.

The behaviour has to be concrete and measurable and it must not be misunderstood. For example, in our case the behaviour is actually quite complex, because it consists of more than one action.

Mindful eating consists of several actions: a) assessing the hunger level – before, during and after eating; b) being attentive to the food while eating – smell, taste, texture; c) choosing the foods that match the current craving. So in our case we need to either try to do all these actions or take them one at a time.

How can we observe and measure these actions?

In behavioural design there’s something called “video test”. Can anyone outside yourself observe the behaviour? The big problem with mindful eating is that the actions taken are actually internal, and need to be taken out to be measured. One thing that comes into my mind right now is taking time for use of a check list, where the actions taken towards mindful eating are being noted and documented. The other thing is talking through it or writing through it. But any way there’s a need to follow a kind of a plan.

As they say it: Fail to plan – plan to fail 🙂

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Time is money!

There’s good advice. There’s better advice. And there’s advice for money. Which would you like more?

Usually people answer that they want advice for free, because why would they choose the one they have to pay for if they can get the same with no cost. But there’s a rationale behind getting advice for money: this advice is more likely to help you. When we pay for something, we want something in return, and if we pay for getting advice we actually follow this advice much more often then the free advice.

But why??? It’s the same piece of information that you get. Why would it make a difference which way you get to this information?

Continue Reading

How can nudging help with alcohol consumption?

There’s a big problem with alcohol consumption in Denmark. The country is the proud European leader in the amount of alcohol drunk by the young generation. 

The problem is partly influenced by the low price of beer and wine. The other and the most important reason for the enormously big consumption is the accept of alcohol as a “door opener” in social situations. The young and the insecure use alcohol as a common ground for establishing new relations.

All the studies at the university start with a “rustur”, when the students get to know each other while drinking 5 days in a row. Much, much alcohol, resulting in bad decisions and a lot of vomiting. 

So now that we know about the social role of drinking how can we nudge the young to drink less? 

Continue Reading

Sugar over behavior!

As a professional in areas of behavior and psychology, I have a natural inclination to explain people’s decisions based on their beliefs, personal history and their social situation. But there are cases where I just believe most in the physical part of it than the psychological.

One of these cases is sugar addiction.

Sugar is bad for you. Really bad. There’s not much disagreement on sugar’s dangers and its influence on a human body. Refined sugar acts as if it was cocaine on your body, and not just making you terribly addicted to it, but also making you sick. Here is what Harvard professor says about sugar:

The effects of added sugar intake — higher blood pressure, inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease — are all linked to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke,” says Dr. Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

 

Continue Reading

Relativitet i praksis

Jeg bestilte et nyt køleskab i går.

Jeg købte selvfølgelig det køleskab, som fik vurderingen “Bedst i test” og i mellem prisklasse. Det skulle bare være en Siemens. Da jeg var i gang med at lede efter det perfekte køleskab, gik jeg bĂĄde efter A+++ miljømarkeringen, men ogsĂĄ lydsignalen ved ĂĄben dør og stilfuldt udseende udenpĂĄ.

Disse funktioner var afgørende for mig, og mine valg kan forklares med adfærdsøkonomi.

Continue Reading

Non-adherence in diabetes patients – what can be done?

Today I saw a documentary about people who got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but have problems with living the right lifestyle for helping them improve their condition. Both my mother and my grandmother on my father’s side have diabetes, and they have problems with living a healthier lifestyle as well. Why?

I noticed that the argumentation that professionals in the documentary use to make people understand their problem was telling them the numbers. Your blood sugar is THAT HIGH. Here is your number!

So? When they know that, what happens?

Continue Reading

How to get a cecycling habit?

The world is talking about making a change by doing what we can to protect the nature from… ourselves!

We talk about nature being polluted without realizing that we are polluting it and that we can make an effort to start making better decisions. This is what this article is about.

First of all, let’s find out why is it so hard for us to recycle.

There’s a bunch of reasons for that. First, it’s the inner psychological mechanisms that make us take short-term decisions instead of long-term. Our minds are constantly trying to find ways to get instant appraisal, and it seems like recycling doesn’t deliver that.

Continue Reading

Sveriges største nudge

Har du været i Sverige? Hvis ja, så har du nok set, at man kun kan købe alkohol i specielle butikker.

Hvad har disse butikker at gøre med nudging, vil jeg prøve at forklare her.

Der er flere mekanismer, der er i spil her, blandt dem er tilgængelighed og socialt pres.

Continue Reading

SĂĄdan nĂĄr du dine fitnessmĂĄl!

Der er mange måder, man kan blive sundere på: man kan meditere, skrue op for bevægelsen i hverdagen, spise mindre kød og så meget andet. 

Vi hører om sundhedsanbefalinger i TV og medier nærmest hver eneste dag. Vores venner og familie minder os om, hvad der er af nye tendenser pĂĄ “sundhedsmarkedet”.

Alle de talrige informationer gør os klogere, og vi kan ofte konkurrere med slankeeksperter og fitnessguruer på området sund livsstil. Men hvordan kan det være, at vi stadig kæmper med overvægt og dårlige vaner? Hvorfor kan vi ikke omsætte vores viden i praksis? 

Continue Reading

Hvad er adfærdsdesign?

Adfærdsdesign er en metode til at ændre adfærd uden brug af følgende midler:

  • forbud
  • prisregulering
  • viljestyrke

Ved forbud fjernes der mulighed for at handle. Det virker på de områder, hvor de fleste er enige om den skadelige påvirkning af en bestemt handling. Som vi ved, indførte Danmark rygeforbud på offentlige steder i 2007. Denne beslutning var der ikke mange, som satte sig imod. Som følge af dette forbud, holdt mange faktisk helt op med at ryge. Men forbud er ikke en del af adfærdsøkonomi, da et forbud er en metode, som skaber meget modstand og oprør. Tænk bare på slankekure, hvor nogle bestemte madvarer er forbudt – mange savner de forbudte madvarer så meget, at de overspiser netop disse ting når slankekuren er slut.

Prisregulering er også en metode, som er effektiv, men er ikke en del af adfærdsdesign. Vi kender det fra dengang der blev indført fedtafgift i 2011, hvor fede madvarer koster mere end deres mindre fede versioner. I slankekursammenhæng kan man sammenligne det med weightwatchers kur, hvor alle madvarer har nogle pointer, hvor nogle scorer flere point end andre. Målet er at tage de madvarer, som “koster” mindre på kalorieregnskabet.

Viljestyrke er heller ikke adfærdsdesigns metode. Det kræver en masse energi at bruge ens viljestyrke, om, som Baumeister påpegede i sin bog Willpower, har vi en begrænset mængde af viljestyrke til en hel dag. Har vi brugt den på vores børn, på krævende arbejde og motion, er der intet tilbage når man står i en forretning foran en pose chips.

Hvad er så adfærdsdesign?

Det er metoder, der opnår adfærdsændring ved at ændre på følgende:

  • omgivelser
  • smĂĄ ændringer i hverdagen
  • design

Adfærdsdesign ser på, hvordan de eksisterende omgivelser og triggers i hverdagen påvirker os til at gøre nogle ting. For eksempel ved at ændre på placeringen af sodavand i supermarkedets køleskab fra at være lige i øjenhøjde til at stå nede ved gulvet, kan man ændre på, hvad man køber. Står der vandflasker i øjenhøjde, køber vi mere vand. Står der cola – bliver det cola. Denne type ændring er en lille og påvirker ikke umiddelbart menneskers livskvalitet, men den gør, at man i sidste ende ændrer deres adfærd.

Jeg håber, denne lille definition af adfærdsdesign har været nyttig!

KH,

Natasha

Continue Reading