Weight Loss Through Mind Games

My Bariatric Life Health Guide

    I suppose we are all looking for some kind of edge when we diet, something to relax those moments of hunger that we are no doubt going to feel along the way.

    While it would be great if there was such a thing as a diet that is hunger free, we all know better. Even though the process is going to have its share of stomach growling episodes, there are things that can be done to move us along and avoid midnight raids on unsuspecting refrigerators. For instance, we can trick our brains into believing that our stomachs are full.

    Personally, I am partial to the word itself. Trickery suggests a mischief I enjoy, some bit of amusement or wool over the eyes that provides smug amusement. There is just something about the fooled you approach that feeds some sinister little fellow in me. No harm will be done, but there will definitely be a smirk. Being able to fool myself is of special interest, and that is the goal I’m after when I go about the business of fooling my very own brain into believing I am satiated.

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    Cornell University professor Brian Wansink hosted a social experiment on the Today Show to show how our brains can be fooled. Twenty-four participants were divided into two groups of twelve each. The first group was treated to a buffet where fruit and salad was introduced first and fatty pasta dishes were left to the end. Normal size plates and serving spoons were distributed. 

    A second group was given the exact same food choices except the pasta was at the beginning of the buffet and the healthier food was at the end. Group two was also given slightly larger plates and serving spoons.

    The contention is that people will feel full faster depending on the order of what is eaten as well as the plate and utensil size. The end result of the experiment seems to bear this out.

    Wansink maintains that the food first seen at the buffet is the trigger food that sparks the decisions we make after having seen that food. If the first food we see is healthy, all choices that follow will most likely be healthy. On the other hand, if the first food we see is unhealthy then the choices that follow will probably be unhealthy as well.

    During the experiment, 70% of what participants choose were from the first three foods they saw. Those with the bigger plates and serving spoons took 56% more food, most of which was pasta.

    Group one also averaged 890 calories per person from pasta while group two averaged 1250 calories per person from pasta. One of the participants noted that because she had a larger plate she thought she was not eating as much because the plate appeared to have less food on it.

    Wansink concludes that we eat more with our eyes and our minds than we do our stomachs.

    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


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Published On: May 18, 2014