January 18, 2022

"To start, some people were given milkshakes, and everyone was asked to taste and rate cookies, cakes or nuts. After filling up on a milkshake..."

"... most of the testers ate less. But the dieters in the group did the opposite. If they had the shake first, they actually ate more during the taste test. It appeared that because they had 'blown' their diet anyway, they decided they might as well just eat more food.... The researchers called this cycle of dieting, breaking the diet and then overeating the 'what-the-hell' effect." 

From "Try Intuitive Eating to Break the Diet Cycle/Today’s Eat Well Challenge will help you avoid the 'what-the-hell' effect and tune into your body instead" (NYT). 

"Intuitive Eating" is reverse-engineered from the "what-the-hell effect." Step 1 is to convince yourself that this isn't a diet and you are completely disconnected from the "diet culture." Step 2 is to observe your patterns of hunger attentively. Step 3 is to very attentively observe your relationship to all the various foods. How do you really feel? 

I'm putting all this in my own words, so let me add, in my own words, that this sounds soooo boring. I look ahead to see how many more steps, and there are 10! 

Let me try to compress the next 7 steps into as few words as possible — damn the steps format: Eat mindfully. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy life in your body.

49 comments:

Yancey Ward said...

Anything sort of behavioral plan over 3 steps is basically ridiculous. Keep it simple, Stupid.

Rollo said...

Try Paleo grazing. Order nothing and nibble what's on other people's plates.

Joe Smith said...

So much new-agey gobbledygook...

Don't eat bad things.

And if you do, don't eat too much of them.

Exercise.

Where's my best-selling book?

Achilles said...

I am making a video series on this very topic.

The point that I make is that you control want you want to eat and to turn food into a tool that works for you instead of you being a slave to your food.

I will post some links to videos that people should watch if they want to know the nuts and bolts about how the neuron pathways to the GI affect our decisions to eat or not eat something.

Achilles said...

Blogger Yancey Ward said...

Anything sort of behavioral plan over 3 steps is basically ridiculous. Keep it simple, Stupid.

What drives people to disdain knowing how their body works and making conscious changes in how they eat?

Gahrie said...

Eat mindfully. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy life in your body.

What if one of the main ways you "enjoy living in your body" is by indulging in your love of food?

Achilles said...

How Foods and Nutrients Control our Moods.

If you want to see why that study had the results it had watch this video.

It is a long video for people with a lot of background information.

If you want to remain a slave to your food and let your choices to be made for you that works too. I understand this is a lot of work.

What's emanating from your penumbra said...

Just give up and be fat. "Evidence suggests" that not eating everything that you want might increase the risk of being sad.

Scott Patton said...

"If they had the shake first, they actually ate more during the taste test".
That would be my pattern.
Eating makes me hungry. Seriously, once I start eating, the only signal to stop is the physical limitation - no more room. The "stop eating and wait and the hunger will subside" theory is mostly ineffective. The compulsion to keep eating will mostly go away for a short time only, then the hunger comes back until I go to sleep. You get used to it. Bananas help.

Sebastian said...

"Eat mindfully. Be kind to yourself. Enjoy life in your body."

Sure. OK. Except that many minds are full of junk, being kind to yourself can become a form of self-medication, and enjoying life in the short term has costs in the long term.

Wa St Blogger said...

Not sure if this will work. Would need some witness testimony to be sure, but maybe kill your sense of smell and food won't be that tasty, and so you will eat when hungry and be more ambivalent toward what you do eat. Might be much easier to manage the nutrition and caloric intakes. I wonder if anyone can corroborate my theory.

mikee said...

As a fat person, here's the bottom line: Calories in versus calories burned is the sole issue for weight. How you do it doesn't matter at all. Every calorie you burn removes a bit of flab. Every calorie you ingest adds a bit of flab. Diabetics understand this in relation to blood sugar. Those with severe food allergies understand it in relation to anaphylactic shock. Steroid-injecting body builders and athletes understand it in relation to muscle mass. Fat people need to understand this, in relation to belt size and other fat metrics.

Remembering that every bite counts, and limiting them to less than a specific number of calories per day, is the only, only, only way I have ever lost weight over several decades of obesity.

As to the psychology of eating: I keep away from all you can eat buffets, endless pasta at Olive Garden, and nachos. I have the willpower of a drunken party girl.

Scot said...

A philosophy I like:
Eat when you're hungry.
Sleep when you're tired.
Walk around the block.
When you're horny, do the other thing.

And make a salad from time to time.

Curious George said...

I just practice intermediate fasting. I have a reduced calorie diet, but squeeze it into just eighth hours, 12-8. So basically skip breakfast. I just drink green tea, which has appetite suppressant qualities, and ice water. After the fist few days you really aren't that hungry, and from 12-5 you really can eat frequently.

It works, and really helps control blood sugar levels if that's an issue.

Achilles said...

This Person said...

Just give up and be fat. "Evidence suggests" that not eating everything that you want might increase the risk of being sad.

Well being is perceived through the continuum of alertness vs. calmness. When we anticipate eating the body releases hormones that raise anxiety and alertness.

If you eat foods with particular levels of amino acids your body releases more serotonin.

Foods with Glucose in them drive another message that promotes the release of Dopamine which is the signal for desire and motivation.

All of these communications travel through the Vagus nerve from the GI Tract to your brain.

I personally and training myself to turn the anticipation of eating and hunger into a signal to work and get other stuff stuff done.

What is being found is that people who are "naturally" thin just have different hormones released in different situations.

I believe this is trainable.

MadisonMan said...

@Curious, my wife is doing something similar to control blood sugar. And I find I am doing it as well, because eating in front of her when she's fasting seems rude to me.
In general, I think you should ask yourself: Are you eating because you're hungry, or because this is when you usually eat, or because you're stressed? If you're not hungry, drink some water.

Howard said...

Human beings did not evolve in a cornucopia of unlimited tasty salty sweet fat and fused food. To think that will power and silly catch phrases can get your eating under control is the best way to support continuing the obesity epidemic.

Looking forward to Achilles video on how the lizard brain controls that eating impulse and how to hack that to your advantage.

Diets are easy just look at the greatest loser TV show people lose tons of weight and almost none of them are able to keep it off. One would think that the keeping it off phase would be the focus. But no keeping people victims in constant cycles of guilt and failure is much more remunerative.

Howard said...

Most of the naturally skinny people that I know have sensitive stomachs and or chronic GERD.

Howard said...

Most of the drunks that I know never get serious hangovers.

rhhardin said...

I find that is you heat a glass of milk before stirring in the malted milk, it dissolves nicely. Otherwise you're alternately drinking a malted milk and chewing dry lumps of malted milk. A second alternative is use a genuine mixing technique but that leaves you drinking mostly air.

Ann Althouse said...

"Anything sort of behavioral plan over 3 steps is basically ridiculous. Keep it simple, Stupid."

The thing is, they need to make it into a book. They have 1 page of info and they need to fatten it up for sale.

Achilles said...

MadisonMan said...

In general, I think you should ask yourself: Are you eating because you're hungry, or because this is when you usually eat, or because you're stressed? If you're not hungry, drink some water.

The signals your brain receives from your body are different if you are in ketosis vs. carb based.

If your body is primarily adapted to carbs then it goes into a cycle where satiety signals are constantly overwhelmed by ghrelin. Ghrelin is linked to insulin and glucose and fat storage. Your liver can hold only so much glycogen and when it runs out your energy levels drop and hormones are released that promote eating.

It also releases hormones that cause you to store fat.

Conversely when in ketosis and you are using fat for energy if you are in energy deficit the body releases hormones that unlock fat stores and release stored lipids into the blood where they are carried around by LDL to the tissues that need energy.

You can say calories in calories out all you want and it is true if your body is in equilibrium.

But fat people are not in equilibrium. They are addicted to carbs and constant eating by neuronal pathways that are now understood.

Understanding how your body actually works and how you make decisions and where your emotions derive from is the first step to taking control of your weight.

gilbar said...

this is the old "eat to live don't live to eat" thingie

The Problem with that is: bacon tastes Good! porkchops taste Good!

But Yes; if we live a life that's boring, and dull; without Pleasures...Then we'll be Glad to Die

rhhardin said...

Diet books are an eternal genre for women. The rebuttal is always Thurber's Let Your Mind Alone! series reveiwing self-help books.

Achilles said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Anything sort of behavioral plan over 3 steps is basically ridiculous. Keep it simple, Stupid."

The thing is, they need to make it into a book. They have 1 page of info and they need to fatten it up for sale.

Just like anything else there is as much information out there as you want to find. You can find anyone to tell you what you want to hear and they will even sell you stuff!

But I challenge you to watch the Huberman video I linked to above and say that everything we know is just fluff for a book. There are 4 or 5 more videos in his series that have more information about this subject.

My series is going to focus on two things. First how to gather information and how to design your diet based on what you want to do.

Second how to actually train yourself to make the changes you want and how to change what you "like" and what your brain "wants" to do to reinforce good habits based on our biology and neural linkages.

Your choice of sources is kindof important to the process.

Lem said...

They have 1 page of info and they need to fatten it up for sale.

Did Althouse just flummery-shame somebody?

Achilles said...

gilbar said...

this is the old "eat to live don't live to eat" thingie

The Problem with that is: bacon tastes Good! porkchops taste Good!

But Yes; if we live a life that's boring, and dull; without Pleasures...Then we'll be Glad to Die


Why does bacon taste good?

Why do Pork Chops taste good?

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

The article mistates the findings of the studies and thereby grossly overstates the findings. Surprise!

The article says: "The dieters behaved in an unexpected way. If they ate the diet pudding, or thought they were eating it, they ate less afterward. But when they ate the 600-calorie bowl — or thought they had — they ended up eating more sandwiches."

This is wrong because it is saying that ALL dieters did X. But not all dieters did X. Rather, ON AVERAGE the diet group TENDED to do X more often than the non-diet group. And when you look at the actual studies, the difference is usually quite small, so it is usually more accurate to say that a SLIGHTLY LARGER percentage of the diet group did X. But this is close to worthless. How is it useful to know that, out of a hundred dieters, 57 did X while only 53 non-dieters out of a hundred did X?

But of course the article would be a yawner if it accurately portrayed the results.

Achilles said...

I can tell you right now that Potato Chips and Soda Pop are absolutely revolting to me right now.

I would not eat/drink either of them unless I was dying.

Same for pasta. I wont eat it if there is any way not to and I would hope it makes me nauseous if I did.

I am eating Chicken Alfredo right now. I substituted zucchini and cucumber cooked in butter for the penne pasta.

It really depends on what you want to do.

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

Another vote for intermediate fasting.

The only way I can lose weight is to get used to being hungry for a while. Skip breakfast and don't eat until noon. Stop eating at 8:00. Get used to the idea that you don't have to eat even if you are hungry. You'll survive, and you're only hungry for a few hours.

Fasting would be a drag every day, but only have to do it occasionally.

Curious George said...

"Fasting would be a drag every day, but only have to do it occasionally."

So you do intermediate intermediate fasting.

gilbar said...

Achilles said...
Why does bacon taste good?
Why do Pork Chops taste good?


mostly, the nitrates, the salt, and the smoke (don't forget the pepper!)
It's EASY to only eat enough to live on, IF your food tastes like sh*t
Delicious food, is delicious! and it is a pleasure to eat

Leland said...

If a person has inhibitions and becomes uninhibited, they act uninhibitedly. That does seem boring.

MadisonMan said...

You know, if I'm somewhere to judge nuts and baked goods, and the first thing they do is give me a milk shake, I'm giving them the stink-eye and asking: Why are you filling me up with a milkshake first?
Profoundly un-curious research subjects for this study.

Wa St Blogger said...

I've done intermittent fasting. It is the best way I have found to control caloric intake without it being boom or bust. I can manage to get used to eating at certain times, and I know that it is quite possible to have "cheat days" if I get invited to dinner or something. Trying to change what I eat has never worked, and trying to manage calories on a day by day basis never worked. But if I limit the range of eating hours I can enjoy all the foods I like just fewer meals over-all. No "massive" weight loss (but then I am at 170 to begin with, so there is not a lot to lose), but it does work to gradually reduce weight on a continuous basis.

Achilles,

Glad you can marry your food interest with your diet. That is always a win. If you can love celery like a treecat, you would be styling!

rehajm said...

Yah- eat less move more. Physics and chemistry will confirm…

A loved one who struggles with weight lives what the post is talking about. Indulging in a food or meal after a period of ‘being good’ leads to an eating binge at least as large as all the foods ‘sacrificed’ during the ‘good’ period. Oh, and I don’t like to exercise, and when I do I don’t like to sweat, and I don’t have time for walking.

tim maguire said...

Here's all you need to know about health: eat a wide variety of foods in moderate amounts. Be active, don't sit around too much.

PM said...

World-class athletes wouldn't be world-class athletes if they ate the junk food they promote on TV.

Achilles said...

Wa St Blogger said...

Achilles,

Glad you can marry your food interest with your diet. That is always a win. If you can love celery like a treecat, you would be styling!


I personally focus on nutrient density.

Celery is the antithesis of that.

There are foods we are very good at deriving the nutrients we need from. These foods also provide satiety oddly enough. Our bodies tell us to eat until it determines we get what we need.

As amino acids go into your stomach your body senses that and sends signals through the Vagus nerve to your brain where serotonin is released causing the relaxed feeling of satiety to build up.

Things like salt and sugar that Gilbar is talking about have a different effect in that the GIT sends signals to the brain that result in the release of Dopamine which causes feelings of desire and motivation.

The foods that send the signals of satiety are a combination amino acids. The best foods to generate signals of satiety are as most people would guess red meat and eggs. Red meat and eggs are the most nutrient dense foods for humans out there. After that comes chicken and fish.

You can eat wheat and vegetables and fruits til the cows come home and you will not get these signals of satiety. You also wont get the right balance of amino acids in general and you will be dependent on your stores of glycogen for energy.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

The sort of people who are dieters tend to be binge eaters, that’s why we are on the diet. I think I’ll go have some ice cream.

Gahrie said...

The only way I can lose weight is to get used to being hungry for a while. Skip breakfast and don't eat until noon.

Your metabolism adjusts.

Ted said...

The concept of "intuitive eating" has been around for decades. My guess is that it works best for people who don't have serious problems with food in the first place. For compulsive / binge / emotional eaters, I imagine it's probably about as effective as "intuitive drinking" would be for alcoholics.

TheDopeFromHope said...

The body needs protein and fat, but not carbs. Cut down on the carbs--bread, potatoes, cakes, donuts, etc.--way down, and you're feel a lot better, mentally and physically. And then you can have a beer once in a while.

cubanbob said...

If dieting and keeping it off were easy then few people would have a problem. Most heavy middle aged and older people eat about the same number of calories they did when they were late teens but without the late teens metabolism and physical exertion.

Old and slow said...

Blogger PM said...

World-class athletes wouldn't be world-class athletes if they ate the junk food they promote on TV.

Oh, you might be surprised. Runners like to say "if the furnace is hot enough it will burn anything". World class athletes are largely young people who burn a lot of calories. Long term health might require a good diet, high performance does not.

I may be old and slow, but I wasn't always... And I ain't that slow now by most people's standards.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Achilles said...

Red meat and eggs are the most nutrient dense foods for humans out there. After that comes chicken and fish.

Your body is a temple...

...to a god that demands animal sacrifices.

(Ever wonder why God favored Able over Cain?)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I look ahead to see how many more steps, and there are 10!

Is one of them If you are on a diet, don't start your meal with a fucking milkshake?!?

John Scott said...

Serve in the kitchen, eat in the dining room. Want that extra heaping of mash potatoes and gravy? You're going to have to get up to get it rather than just reaching for it with a spoon.

Bilwick said...

I find that I can eat as much as I want, any kind of food I want, as long as I puke most of it out.

Rolf, the big guy I pay, helps me with this. As soon as my belly gets distended from over-eating, it's Rolf's job to punch me hard in the lower stomach. New Agers talk about"doing a cleanse; but one of Rolf's post-prandial punches right in the labonza cleans out my gut better than a Drano enema.