Control of Eating Habits
Verbal & mental techniques
CONTEMPLATION (a silent verbal process): Think about positive effects
of being slim, and conversely the negative effects about being fat. Imaging you
are engaging a close friend in a conversation thereon. Consider how you life
has changed since you have become fat. Think about the quality of life of your
slim friends. Think about what you have done to yourself and how you are reversing
that trend. Plot out a course of action. Repeat to your self various statements
as though you are rehearsing a speech. Practice repeatedly this mental dialogue,
for such practice makes future discussion that much easier.
CONVERSATIONS: Tell everyone about how you are going on a diet. Describe how important it is and that you are now being a new phase of your life. Talk about how so many important things will be improved, such as your health, ability
to work, play sports, sex, and your marriage. Ask them questions about diet. Engage your friends in conversation about diet.
VISUALIZATION (a visual process): Carry a photo of you when taken
when prior to becoming fat and a current photo. Put similar photos on your desk. Have a picture taken of you in a bathing suit, make copies of it, and place them in
several places such as the refrigerator, kitchen table, and desk, where they will remind you that you are on a diet. Visual participating in activities that you dont (or dont do well) because youre fat,
such as sports, lovemaking, jogging, cycling, hiking, swimming, etc. Imagine
yourself thin and having to carry 50 or more pounds of fat around wherever you go.[i] Now visualize yourself as thin doing those things. Visualize how much happier your spouse will be when you become physically attractive again, and how this
will improve your relationship.
READINGS & STUDIES: Find books on diet and read them. Find medical articles on metabolism, diet, and medical intervention. Take notes and discuss the subject matter with friends. Especially
study the negative health consequences. The moderately obese person lives
on an average 5 years less than the person who is not obese, and 8 years less than the fit person. Many diseases are drastically increased with weight gain including cancer (most carcinogens are fat soluble),
arthritis, diabetes, and coronary disease being the most significant.[ii] Knowledge is one of the cornerstones to success.
NOTE TAKING: Keep track, a journal, of what you have done: the
hours, the subjects, and any good ideas. Carry a stenographers tablet with you. And while you are about keep a journal include a section concerning your eating habits. Pay particular attention to those events preceding your eating too much or
eating when not hungry. Also note the amount and what were eaten, and how hungry
you were. Keep a daily log, then weekly work out your cumulative record. Enter the log in your computer. Records
are much, much better than recollections.
A. EATING HABITS, QUANTITY
AND TYPE OF FOOD, AND SITUATIONS:
1. Before beginning to eat, discuss
your diet with your companions. Bring up, among other things, what you are doing
to limit the amount of food to be consumed.
2. When eating by yourself,
get out the amount you plan to eat and put it in your plate, and then put away the containers you got your food from.
3. Don't leave out snacks
or leave them in handy places. Some people even put a lock on their refrigerator,
to make not so easy to open it.
4 Avoid large meals.[iii] If going to a restaurant, chose one with small portions and cheap food.
5. Putt off the first meal
as long as possible. Wait till you are good and hungry.
6 Put off each subsequent
meal until you are good and hungry.
7 Don't eat a couple of hours
before going to bed.
8 Eat only enough to take
away your hunger.
9 Eat slowly, this will give
a chance for what you have eaten to take away your hunger.
10. Eat small snacks between meals to help reduce the number of meals. Moreover, by snack you wont need to load up at the dinner table to prevent between meal hungers. .
11. Control the portions of your
snacks. If necessary, have pre-measured portions in baggies.
12. Eat less than your normal portion.
13. Learn to eat slowly (obese people
typically eat faster).
14. Choose filling, low-fat, low
sugar, high protein meals and snacks. Avoid foods that improve your appetite
and things that are not filling such as fruits and chocolates.
B. RECORD KEEPING:
1. Set up a log and in this
log track when you got up, when you ate, how much and what you ate, how fast you ate, and what things you should have done,
such as cooked a smaller portion.
2. Track special circumstances,
such as with company, during break at work, etc.
3. Record any causal observations.
4. Purchase a copy of the USDA handbook
on foods, Composition of Foods, from the Government Printing Office. Read
it and type out a table of the foods you commonly eat, their percentage water, carbohydrate, protein, and fat grams.
5. Purchase and read a university
6. Take notes on these books.
C. SOCIAL/PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF EATING:
1. From your log you will learn what occurred prior to you over eating.
Avoid those situations.
2. Avoid social situations
conducive to over indulgence, such a spot lucks, dining out, and drinking parties.
3. Avoid friends who have eating
problems, they will reinforce behavior inconsistent with weight loss.
4. The more ritualized your meals;
the easier it is to control your consumption. Thus by eating at the same time
and same location, it is easier to establish a pattern of good choice of foods and amount of foods, and repeat that pattern.
5. Try not to make the meal something
looked forward to. Limit its social setting; choose bland foods, find other activities
that you prefer, so that eating is taking you away from those enjoyed activities. In
other words, try to turn eating into an activity like refueling the car, a necessity, rather than a pleasure.
6. Avoid cooking for others (and
thus the social reinforcement), rather do the dishes and clean up.
7. Tell your beloved that
he/she is not to make preparing a meal an expression of love, rather to keep it simple, nutritional, and low in fats and sugars.
WHAT TO EAT:
1. Avoid foods which you are likely
to eat too much of.
2. Drink water or diet soda. Many people consume over a 1,000 calories per day in fluids.
3. Avoid foods with more than 10%
fat content. Fats contribute 3 times as many calories per gram as carbohydrates.
4. Avoid foods that arent filling
such as fruits and sherbet, and other foods that increase your appetite or reduce the amount of time after a meal that it
will take before you are again hungry.
5. Dont use calories as a guide,[iv] rather the percentage of fat and of simple carbohydrates. Cellulose calories
are not an accurate measurement of the energy derived from foods.
6. Eat foods that are high in protein
ACTIVITIES AND DIET
1. Increase your metabolism by engaging
in more physical activities: walk more, climb stairs, mow the lawn, and such. Take up active sports such as running, cycling, tennis, roller-skating, and swimming.
2. Increase your muscle tone, and
thus increase your metabolism. Join a gym and take up weight training. Do isometrics and isotonics (tightening your muscles) frequently throughout the day.
3. Get your family and friends involved
with you in sports and weight training. Set a schedule for sports and weight
1. Avoid drugs that make you relax
or make you make you doppie. You need all your energy so that you can exercise,
so you can work harder, and so you will have the sharpness of mind and drive to stick to your diet. .
2. Avoid alcohol; it contains empty calories and will reduce your activity level.
3. If you must take a recreational
drug, choose amphetamines or LSD; both suppress your appetite and increase your activity level.
4. Take a diet drug at the beginning,
it will surpass your appetite and will increase your motivation to lose weight. The
best routine would be to take 5 or if necessary 10 mgs of amphetamine (a small dose) in the morning, for it will reduce your
appetite and increase your drive.[v] Do this for about 2 weeks, so as to establish good diet habits. After that discontinue for you will grow tolerant of the drug. Thus
if some months later you find that you are going off your diet, start again with 10 mgs, but continue only for a week.
FOOD AS A DRUG
Why it is so difficult for humans to follow the dictates of reason and do the very obviously prudent
things? The remaining discussions are designed to shed light on human behavior
and the obesity phenomena. It is one thing to set down the techniques of weight
reduction (as I have done in the previous sections); it's another to implement them.
There are deeper reasons for gaining weight, reasons deeper than the afore described taste of food, social setting,
and peer conditioning. There are deeper answers than: The obese person eats to
much, has bad eating habits, and is week willed. It is the deeper reason that
I am about to set out. There is a better way to understand animal/human behavior. Insight is power.
There is a relationship between behavior and environment.
In the previous section I went into social reinforcement;[vi] that is an obvious example of how environment influences eating behavior. The
pattern of reinforcers that create the behavior problem is far from obvious. Many
of the reinforcers are mild. Think of vectors forces (as in vector algebra) deciding
the direction of an action. Only with humans, the types, and intensity of forces
are hidden in the complex and long history of the person. Further complexity
is added by the biological inheritance that establishes the proclivities to respond in certain ways to stimuli. However, a listing of the events that reinforce (for the following example) Toms problem behavior is instructive.
Consider the example of Toms drinking a pint of milk and eating the last half of a Maria Callanders
cherry pie for an evening snack. Tom will, being lactose intolerant, have a gas
attack, later energy from the sugar in the pie, prevent the negative reinforcer of hunger, and deprive others of the pie. He likes the kidding he gets about his great appetite.
Moreover, this evening there is nothing interesting going on, so he agreed to watch on television a movie with his
wife. Adding the desert to his large meal insures that he will feel tired during
the film, and thus be less bored. Moreover, about the time the movie is over,
the sugar from the pie will take effect, and he will have energy to work on several business correspondences, an activity
he will find more enjoyable than to continue to watch television. By depriving
others of the pie, he is expressing hostility in a subtle way, which is mildly enjoyable.
A similar pleasure is derived from the foul odor caused by his lactose (milk sugar) intolerance. His wife will become annoyed and they will quarrel some, a thing that will break up the monotony of the
movie. And he likes the taste of cherry pie, and the milk to wash it down. The list goes on: the activity of eating
the pie and milk during the beginning of the movie is a mildly reinforcing distraction from a film that bores him. He will sleep sounder this night following a second snack. These
are the principle reinforcers that occur that evening.
There are other long-term ones. Given Toms dislike of physical exertion, being obese permits him to avoid such exertion. Given their less-than-loving marriage, being physically unattractive yields subtle reinforcements. Man by instinct will strike out against the source of both adversive stimuli and the
cause for the blocking of the obtainment of pleasures.[vii] In this case his wife, being physically unattractive and poor in bed are two
subtle ways of disappointing his wife, and thus they add to the vector algebra of his obesity.
By far the greatest long-term reinforcer is the effect of weight upon his physical energy level. A large percentage of our society at least several times a week take substance (alcohol, valiums, marijuana,
etc.) that reduce their energy level; food in quantity does the same, as also does obesity. It is these long-term and the
prior mentioned short-term reinforcers that are stronger than the prudent rational reinforcement that would come from properly
managing his weight.
Many small, some long term, others like breaking wind, short-term contribute to the total of reinforcement
Tom gets from eating more than he burns off. While Tom could easily, if challenged
cease from any of the weak reinforcers such as the silent but chocking farts he makes near his wife, or the consumption of
the last slice of cherry pie. He cannot overcome at the same time the collection
of these reinforcers. They result in Tom eating more than he burns. Changing the pattern of reinforcers, so that he would obtain those associated with a person of normal weight
is like climbing over a mountain to get out of a valley. Tom is in the valley
of obesity and he cant escape its pattern of reinforcers to get onto the other side and be one of the beautiful people.
[i] My friend Terry told me in 1985 that when he joined weight
watchers, at his first meeting he was given during this meeting from their refrigerator a package of fat in a clear plastic
bag that was approximately equaled to his excess weight. He then spoke to the
group while holding this package.
[ii] Weighing the Risks
Percentage increase in risk by levels of obesity
BM (body mass index)
26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 35
BMI < 19)*** _________ ______________ __________
(versus BMI < 19)
_________ _____________ __________
BMI < 19)
Type II diabetes 1,480% 2,600% 3,930% 5,300%
__________ ________ ________ _______
High blood pressure 180% 260% 350%
BMI < 25)
BMI < 24)
Natural birth defects
(versus BMI 19-27)
Published in Scientific American article, Gaining on Fat, August 1996, p. 91.
[iii] Large meals stretch your stomach, thus requiring more food in subsequent
day to create the full feeling.
[iv] Carbohydrates are inaccurate for several reasons. It is a simple measure of food energy: one calorie is defined
as the amount of heat necessary to raise one gram of water one degree centigrade. The
dried food is burnt in a closed container and the increase in the temperature of water determine the foods calorie rating. However, not all things that burns in a calorimeter or sources of energy in the body. Normally protein, for example, is not used to convert ATP molecule to ADP, the principle
source of biological energy in our body. Moreover, cellulose is a complex carbohydrate
for which we lack the enzyme to break it into simple carbohydrates that can be absorb into the body. Cellulose doesnt count for us, though it does in the calorie measurement.
[v] This small dose in the morning will not effect sleep or adversely
affect behavior. For decades amphetamines were the diet pill of choice, and would
still be if it werent for federal regulations.
[vi] A positive reinforcer is operational defined as a thing that will
increase the frequency of the behavior that follows it (the converse for a negative reinforcer). Operant conditioning (the production of new behavior) is the result of reinforcers. For example, adult social reinforcement has been used to condition smiling at four months, vocalization
at three months, and milk has conditioned head turning at four months. In The
Analysis of Human Operant Behavior, Ellen P. Reese, p. 13. Reinforcers and the process of operant conditioning are the building blocks of complex behavior.
[vii] The use of adversive stimuli is the way a baby manipulates its parents
to attend to its needs and to entertain the baby. When hungry, she cries. Much of social training indirectly deals with suspension of this behavior. Adults do the same but in lesser degrees. Being bored by a
conversation, we say something inflammatory, argumentative, changes the topic, or simple ignore the speaker.