Saturday, 8 October 2011

Recently published paper: A new theory on how to eat less

(Plus short story from my other blog and pics at the end)

It was reported on UK national radio this week that a psychologist by the name of David Neal has presented a paper with the University of Southern California, published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

It’s entitled “The Pull of the Past: When do habits persist despite conflict with motives?”, (also with colleagues Wendy Wood, Mengiu Wu and David Kurlander.) I think it’s of interest to anyone aspiring to lose weight, so I wanted to tell you about it.

By means of two field experiments he tested the conditions under which people eat out of habit and noted what happened when two aspects of this habit were changed, removing the participants from their comfort zone.

Apparently people associate the cinema with eating popcorn to such a degree, that when they were presented either with very stale popcorn or fresh, they ate the same quantity, even if they were not hungry. If on the other hand they were asked to eat (fresh) popcorn with their non-dominant hand, their consumption went right down – it took them much longer and they stopped eating sooner, presumably because their brains had caught up with their stomachs and told them they were full.

So there you have it folks –

1. Break the cycle of eating always in certain situations (watching TV… sitting comfortably?) Try eating only at the table, and – say – on a stool.

2. Eat only with your fork or spoon in your other hand.

David Neal claims that we eat significantly less in these situations. I’m fascinated by the second one, and would be very interested to know what you think. I intend to try it. (At Chinese restaurants I’ve often thought that if I was forced to eat with chopsticks I’d not only eat less, I’d starve…)


Bariatric Surgery Source website - I've written another article ,in case you're interested.


From my Eavesdroppings Blog.  204.  Garden Party at Buckingham Palace


Hilda and George have been faithful members of the Scout movement in Bristol for many years, rendering countless services to the association they so heartily believe in. In recognition of their marvellous efforts they have been rewarded with an invitation from Her Majesty herself to attend one of her famous garden parties at Buckingham Palace. There is great excitement, and new clothes are purchased for the great day. They immediately reject the plan to take the car, in view of parking problems and the expense. The train will be cheaper and less stressful anyway.

Timings are carefully rehearsed to ensure they do not arrive late, which in fact results in them leaving for Bristol Temple Meads railway station very early. Despite their care they are both a little stressed, and unused to wearing such smart clothes in the morning. They settle into their carriage, and a couple of stations flash by. For want of anything better to do, Hilda gets the invitation out of her handbag…

Hilda (60): …er…George…

George (65): Oh what NOW.

Hilda: Well, it says here that showing the invitation isn’t enough. You have to show proof of identity, preferably passports. Have you brought anything?

George: …… you were hanging on to the invitation. Didn’t you read it?

Hilda: Not that bit…. What do we do?

With panic rising George thinks fast and rings his daughter back at home. They alight at the next station – Reading – and leaving Hilda on a bench, George crosses the line and takes the train back to Bristol. Their daughter is waiting for him on the platform with their passports, and he then races back across the line and takes the train back to Reading station. He collects Hilda from the bench and they take the next train to London.

Although they have allowed plenty of time, they hadn’t envisaged this sort of problem, and they realise that there will not be enough time to get across London to Buckingham Palace by public transport. Their stress levels overflowing, not to mention their tempers, they are therefore forced to go against their principles and take a taxi.

However they arrive in the nick of time, and all goes smoothly.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: (stopping to speak to them briefly as she proceeds across the garden) I see you’ve been members of the Scout Movement for many years. How wonderful. I imagine you’re terribly well organised.

George: Oh yes Mam.

(With thanks to Karen)

 Photo Finish
from Lonicera's non-digital archives


Foothills of the Andes in the province of Salta

Church Tower, City of Salta

Fountain in the Plaza - playing around with Photoshop
(I know, I've overcooked it!)

Woodpecker on a tipa tree, Province of Entre Ríos

Province of Tucumán.  John took this one and I'm at the back,
photographing this lovely stream which reminded me powerfully
of my childhood holidays.

Another shot of Nancy's garden,
Loma Bola, Province of Córdoba

Continuing with my interest in dusty old shelves and window-sills,
this was in a shed which was about to be pulled down.
The old baking powder tin looked strikingly out of place
and was a nice splash of colour.

Like most people, I'm a sucker for sunset pictures
(I would also love sunrises, but I'm never up early enough
to see them...)



Joyful said...

I've tried the latter suggestions off and on when I was much younger. Not sure why I did that, lol. It is true you east less because you are not usually ambidextrous. But I imagine that with practise you will become much more skilled at using your less dominant hand and therefore eat just as much. Also, with regards to the first point, if what the research said is true, I wonder why we eat just as much when we visit others or go to a restaurant for example? Just some thoughts. I'm always looking for "tips" ;-)

Lonicera said...

And if the food at the restaurant didn't taste very nice or was stale, would you still eat as much? I know I push my plate away in disgust and refuse to eat any more (and then admittedly stuff myself with something else when I get home!!)
I agree you could get used to eating with the other hand - these sorts of tests should be conducted over a sustained period, shouldn't they?

Joyful said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyful said...

To be honest, I think I've only ever had bad tasting food in a restaurant once in my entire life. I've been fortunate. My mom and I used to eat out a fair bit and she would always get the "bad" food while I got the "good" stuff. I don't know why that happened. I'd taste her food to see if I agreed with her assessment or if she was just complaining. I would say she did indeed get the worst end of it on a regular basis. I used to tell her that God was trying to teach her not to complain so much in general and maybe the food would improve, lol. I didn't know what else to say :-)

I agree that studies are only helpful if they are conducted over a sustained period of time. I think this whole area of obesity is now causing more studies to be run but it will be some time yet before they have real answers for us.

My doctor told me they have been working on a pill to take but personally I don't believe in taking pills if I can do something more natural.

Sandy Lee said...

Love your blog layout. I tried using chopsticks for awhile and got really hungry. My hand would cramp and it was really really hard eating peanuts (one at a time). But I've been working on slowing down and putting down the utensils and it does work. I can no longer rush through a meal. Habits are really what the band helps us work on.

Lonicera said...

Thanks Sandy. Peanuts with chopsticks? Now there's patience!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...