Wednesday, August 1, 2007
You can learn a lot from a chick
The food was delicious, and I was ready to grab seconds during dinner, but the thought came to my mind (remember I had prayed for guidance)
“Are you two people?”
“No”, I thought back.
“Do you want to look like two people?”
“Um, no. . .”
“Then why would you eat two peoples food?”
If you go to the Spencer Kimball tower at BYU you can take an elevator to the very top floors (I think you need a key). Here they keep the chicks. I know that because I have held those chicks in my hands. These are not the co-ed kind but the kind that eat feed, peep and live in little cages. For one of my classes we were offered extra credit if we would help the graduate students train the chicks using operant conditioning. This is the use of consequences (in this case feed) to modify behavior (teach them to peck a button). One teacher told how he conditioned a girlfriend to come and clean his kitchen. (Beware of psych majors)
I know that each one of us is given free agency; I also know sometimes trained habits take away that free agency. Let’s say you want to teach me to not over-eat. First you need to figure out what the reward has been. Of course, food tastes good! I love food! Food takes me to a happy place. While I place chunky monkey ice cream in my mouth, I am completely focused on the mmmmmm. In order to go to that happy place I have conditioned myself to use food to put me there.
Second, and here is the tough part; in order to modify your eating you have to find a different reward to get the mmmmmmm (or live without the mmmmm, but who wants that?)
Surely in those days long ago when you were thin you had things that kept you busy that you enjoyed, ways you got the chunky monkey out of life. Learning, dating, dancing, driving, swimming, flirting. What was it that kept you from eating so much on your dates? Didn’t we all have better manners then? We ate slower, dressed better, flirted more and never grabbed something from the serving bowl with our fingers.
Back in the thin years I had a million ways to get the mmmmmm. When I got fat I only had food. I had a million reasons I couldn’t keep up my hobbies, most of them were my children. So I had to pick new ones.
I eat when I watch TV, I took up embroidery. It is impossible to eat and sew at the same time. I eat with the kids when they get home from school, I found the joy of bubble gum and placed it in all my kitchen drawers. I eat when I get tired. I go to bed. Find mmmmm’s not m&ms. Find things that payoff and make it impossible to eat. Can you eat French fries while on the back of a bike? Can you eat seconds while you are busy cleaning up? (Clean up immediately after finishing your plate of food – it is a bit easier to resist food that is in the garbage can).
Remember you conditioned yourself to get the habit started; you can condition yourself out of it.
If this works for you, don’t thank me, thank a chicken.