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Using Psychology Instead Of Diets To Control Your Weight

Ever been on a diet, lost the weight and then put it back on? This has to do with conditioning; a type of learning that occurs, which dictates how we behave. If you want more control over your weight; learning about conditioning is better than any diet, you will ever try.

What is conditioning?

Conditioning is the basis of how we learn to behave. This includes our habits, which cause us to be the weight we are. Three types of conditioning have been identified; classical, operant and observational. Each plays a vital role in controlling weight gain and loss.

Classical conditioning

Learning via association. For example: have you ever been to movies and headed straight to the snack bar for some popcorn, even though you aren’t hungry? That’s classical conditioning at work. In many people’s minds, they associate a trip to the movies with popcorn or a snack, while they relax and enjoy a movie.

For people wanting more control over their weight, they need to be aware of conditioning which pre-exists for them, about food and exercise. As an example; if you consume your nightly meal on the lounge, in front of the TV (as many people do); each time you sit down to watch TV, there is a greater chance of you associating this activity, with eating. This is why it’s recommended that you find a designated place to eat; like at the dinner table. This reduces the likelihood of eating in front of the TV at night.

Some people also find that they eat when they experience different moods or physical states; such as being tired, anxious, confused or worried. Eating, is therefore, a coping mechanism. From past experience, food made them feel better and it becomes a viable solution, each time they experience this feeling. The only way to cease it, is to identify, acknowledge and change these types of associations.

Operant conditioning

Learning via consequences. For all behaviours, we are either rewarded or punished. Rewards encourage us to increase a behaviour, while punishment reduces it. These can be added or removed. For example; when we diet, we are usually rewarded with removal of weight. However, when we gain weight, we are punished by addition of weight.

Rewards and punishments, encourage which behaviours to choose. Sometimes the punishment of weight gain, isn’t enough to deter, increased weight gain. Perhaps the reward of consuming particular foods, overrides the compulsion to avoid the punishment of excessive weight gain.

Observational conditioning

Learning via observing others. For example; large people usually have large family members. Sure, genetics comes into play, but learning and adapting the habits of parents is much greater. Children are like sponges, absorbing a significant amount of knowledge from their role models. If their role models are healthy and active; they will likely, be so too.

By the time kids reach adulthood, they have learned a great deal from mere exposure. For example; if you take the kids shopping, be aware, they are learning what types of foods to put into the trolley. Even if it appears they aren’t really paying attention; repetition and exposure is teaching them. This is primarily where most habits begin.

Lastly, when you become fully aware of the roll food and exercise plays in your life, long term weight control can be achieved. Ask yourself these 6 vital questions and you will be well on your way.

  • Why are you eating?
  • When are you eating?
  • Where are you eating?
  • What are you eating?
  • Who’s watching you eat?
  • Exercise… pleasure, pain, chore or choice?

By Kim Chartres

How Often Should You Change Your Pyjamas?

Now that we’ve finished daylight savings, we’re preparing to hibernate in our pyjamas until the warmth of spring creeps over our faces. It gets dark so early now that when you get home from work, it’s almost natural to slip straight into your flannelettes.

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But sometimes you get so comfortable in your pyjamas that you can forget to switch to the next pair when those ones get a bit dirty – and we all have a different definition of dirty. So how often should you change your pyjamas?

Not nearly as much as you should be, according to a survey by the Daily Mail earlier this year. It found that the average woman will wear the same set of pajamas for 17 days (that’s two and a half weeks!), while men will go 13 days before switching to a new pair. If you really think about, that’s pretty gross. You wouldn’t wear the same clothes to work or to the gym for over two weeks, so why are we wearing them to bed?

I’m going to take a wild guess and say laziness and comfort. We love the feeling of warm, worn in pyjamas so much that it can almost be related to a cuddle. There are serious implications from wearing your pyjamas too long, however, as they become a haven and breeding ground for potential infections.

Seriously harmful microbes like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can build up in your pyjamas and lead to infections that are very hard to treat. The transfer of E.Coli into our urinary tract can cause cystitis and/or a urinary tract infection, which can be quite painful. These microbes can also be transferred to underwear and other clothes.

So, what’s the best way to prevent all this? Change and wash your pyjamas at least once a week to avoid the build up of these dangerous microbes and prevent any future complications.

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