Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Drink More Water through Sensory Adaptation

drinking waterToday while reviewing the kaizen theory of making small changes with a client, in this case to reduce the amount of sugar she puts in her coffee, she stated that the first cup of the morning is always the most difficult. She reported that if she is able to drink the first cup with less sugar, the rest of the coffee that she has that day goes down much more easily. This makes sense because coffee is one of those things that is an “acquired taste;” however, she said the same thing was true for drinking water. If she worked out earlier in the day, she would drink water throughout the day, put down the coffee, and not pick up any more calorie-laden beverages.

The phenomenon which she is describing took me all the way back to Intro to Psych in undergrad. Sensory Adaptation is the tendency for sensory receptors to have decreasing responsiveness to stimuli that continue without change. This is why you stop smelling your own perfume or cologne, or those in the city get used to the sound of traffic. It also applies when eating; you get less and less pleasure from every bite of a food following the first bite, the introduction to a new flavor.

You can remember this phenomenon to remind yourself that the large bowl is not going to be more goodness, but rather more of something that is losing goodness, and manage your portion sizes. However, there is a positive spin to this phenomenon as well. Like my client, you can use it when you are trying to have less of something or more of something in your diet. Just start and see if it gets easier (Let us know how it goes!). Especially, if you are busy with other things, you will likely be able to drink more and more water, noticing it less and less.

October 30th, 2009

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Brooke Randolph

Thanks for the comment and advice, Prosperity. There are so many ways that we can apply this theory and it does seem to make change easier on us, as long as we keep the goal in mind. Portion control makes a major difference. I find I can restrict calories and still eat everything I want if I watch portion sizes.

posted Nov 2nd, 2009 2:32 pm

Prosperity Red

I'm very familiar with Kaizen theory from my background in manufacturing. It works. I don't see any reason why it would not work with dieting. From a conference I went to on hypnosis for weight loss, the key finding that stayed with me is that we tend to eat past our point of satisfaction - that point at which our body says that it is satisfied and doesn't need any more food. With today's portions, it is usually about half of what's on your plate. Reducing incrementally a portion each time you eat would arrive at a corresponding point. Two things that are hard - one is leaving food on your plate; and, the other is to actually put less food on your plate.

posted Oct 30th, 2009 2:00 pm


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