Breaking Old Links: strategies for changing food behavior
Old habit die hard .they are never easy to change but , in the
case of undesirable eating behaviors that contribute to excess
body fat and are harmful to health , are worth the effort . Here are
some behavioral suggestions.
First deal with behavioral cues
Eliminate as many cues for the problem behavior as
possible. Avoid situation and contacts associated with problem
behavior as difficult reach, and make the problem behavior as
difficult as possible. Freeze leftovers, remove problem food items
from the kitchen or store them in hard-to-
Get places, and take a route other than by the familiar bakery or
Suppress the cues that can't be entirely
eliminated. Control social situations that maintain
the behavior, reward he alternate desired behavior, have a trusted
person monitor eating patterns, minimize contact with excessive
food, use smaller plates to make smaller food portions appear
larger, control "poor me" moods with positive non-food
"treat" activities or physical activity.
Strengthen cues for desirable behavior. Collect
information and guides for a wide array of appropriate food choices
and amounts. Use food behavior aids (e.g., records, a diary, or a
journal). Distribute appropriate foods in desirable food
behavior as attractive and good-tasting as possible.
Next deal with actual food behavior in response to cues
Slow the pace of eating _Take one bite at a time
and place utensil on the plate between bites. Chew each bite slowly.
Sip a beverage. Consciously plan bits of conversation wit meal
companies for between bites. Delay starting the meal when first
seated. Visualize eating in slow motion. Enhance the social aspect
Savor the food-Eat slowly, sensing the taste,
smell, and texture of the food. Develop and practice these sensory
feelings to the extent that they can be described and brought to
mind afterward. Look for food seasonings and combination that will
enhance this process and bring to mind positive feelings about the
Finally deal with the follow-up Behavior that Result
Decelerate the problem behavior. Slow down its
frequency, and respond neutrally when it occurs rather than with
negative talk or thoughts. Give social reinforcement to the
decreasing number times the problem behavior is occurring. Focus on
the ultimate consequences of the undesirable behavior in health
Accelerate the desired behavior. Update the
progress records or personal journal daily. Respond positively to
all desired behavior; provide some sort of material social
reinforcement for all constructive efforts to modify behavior.
Such a program requires effort and motivation and work.
Continuously evaluate progress toward desired behavior goals. Then
plan individual or group maintenance and support activities during
an extended follow-up period.
How to apply behavior modification strategies to weight
1. To eliminate in inappropriate eating cues:
* Buy foods that are low in fat.
* Shop when you are not hunger.
* Serve low fat meals.
* Let other family members buy, store, and serve their own sweets
(monitor children's intakes).
* Change channels or look away when food commercials appear on
* Shop only from a list and stay away from convenience store.
* Carry appropriate snacks from home and avoid vending machines.
2. To suppress the cues you cannot eliminate:
* Eat only in one place (at a table), and in one room use plates,
bowls, and eating utensils.
* Clear plates directly into the garbage.
* create obstacles to the eating of problem food (for example,
make it necessary to unwrap, cook, and serve each on separately).
* Minimize contact with excessive food (serve individual plate,
do not put serving dishes on the table, and leave or clean the table
when you have finished eating).
* Make small portion of food look large by spreading food out and
serving on small plates.
* Control deprivation (eats regular meal, donít skip meals,
avoid getting tired, and avoid boredom by keeping cues to fun
activities in sight).
3. To strengthen the cues to appropriate eating and
* Encourage other to eat appropriate food with you.
* Keep your favorite appropriate food in the front of the
* learn appropriate portion sizes and prepare on portion at a
* establish specific times for meal and snacks.
* prepare food attractively.
4. To engage in desired eating or exercise behavior:
* Eat only at planned time; plan not to eat after a specified
time (say, 7:00)
* Slow down (pause several times during a meal, put down utensils
between mouthfuls, chew thoroughly before swallowing (swallow before
reloading the fork, always use utensils).
* Leave some food on plate.
*Engage in no other activities while eating (such as reading or
* Move more (shake a leg, pace, fidget, flex your muscles).
* Join in and exercise with a group of active people.
5. To arrange or emphasize negative consequence of
* Eat meal with other people.
* Ask that others neutrally when you deviate from your plan (make
no comment). This is a negative consequence because it withholds
* If you slip, donít punish yourself.
6. To arrange or emphasize positive consequence of
* Update records of food intake, exercise, and weight change
* Arrange for rewards for each unit of behavior change or weight
* Ask family and friend for reinforcement (praise and
For more information and advices for your health please
contact me at my E-mail. Nisreen_wafai@yahoo.com
I am available upon request.