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.

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 🙂

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