5 Ways to Get Slim on Autopilot
"Just tell me what to eat."
Weight-loss experts say that's the number one thing they hear from women who are trying to slim down. And no wonder: Whether it's the endless aisles of food at the grocery store or a seemingly harmless salad bar, research shows that the more options you have, the more likely you are to blow your calorie budget.
READ: 10 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight
The culprit? Decision fatigue. When faced with lots of choices, the regions of your brain responsible for willpower and regret become overstimulated, upping the odds that you'll make poor decisions — and feel less satisfied with the selections you make even when they're good ones.
"We think choice makes us happy, but the truth is, it can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety," says Judith Beck, PhD, author of "The Diet Trap Solution" and president of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Philadelphia.
Most of your eating habits should be automatic, similar to putting on a seat belt when you get into a car, she says: "Making choices in advance helps you stay on track because it eliminates the 'Should I? Shouldn't I?' struggle every time you need to decide something." (Like when your co-worker brings in brownies — again.)
READ: Does Calorie Counting Help You Lose Weight?
Here are five ways to streamline your day-to-day decision-making so you can drop a few and feel less stressed in the process: