Weight Management

Here’s the secret to weight management: you can enjoy your food more by eating less IF you know how to full appreciate what you are eating.

Let’s dive into this concept a little deeper:

You and I share something in common: we both have an opinion about everything that goes into our mouths.  That’s about where our commonality ends. Imagine we both just ate the same slice of pizza under very different circumstances. I happened to DETEST the pizza, while you LOVED it immensely. Our different opinions might be based on many hypothetical factors including the following:

Your situation My situation What’s different
You ate your slice at your local pizzeria during lunch I ate my slice at my desk while working Environmental context
You just won $1,000 in the lottery I just received an overdue bill for $1,000 Personal condition (mood)
Pizza is your favorite food I never liked pizza very much Habituation
Your slice is warm My slice is cold Tactile and in-mouth temperature
Your pizza is crispy My pizza is soggy Mouthfeel
Your pizza is salty and savory (umami) My pizza tastes bitter Basic taste perception (I am on a medication that alters my sense of taste)
Your pizza has a wonderful cheesy aroma My pizza tastes like stinky feet Aromatic perception (I am supersensitive to the chemical isovaleric acid which smells like stinky feet to me)

This concept can be referred to as “Food Acceptability”.  For the sake of this discussion, I’m using the generic term “food” which also includes anything you might drink.  Food acceptability has many implications for weight management.  If you think of the above example, I probably would have eaten less pizza than you, and if I ate less over time because of this and other negative eating experiences, I might be slimmer than you (since you can’t get enough of that pizza!).

The following diagram depicts the many aspects that interplay when we appreciate food:

How Humans Experience Food

Figure 1: How Humans Appreciate Food

If we understand all of the factors that go into food acceptability we can begin to understand WHY we choose to eat the types and amounts of food we eat. For instance, in the realm of environment and psychosocial (the orange shaded part of the diagram), we might gain insight to the fact that we are eating food in the wrong context (at our desk or in front of the TV) which could lead to mindless eating resulting in eating MORE food while enjoying it LESS. We might also begin to understand that the culture we grew up in affects what we deem as acceptable food choices. For instance, you might crave fast food because you grew up in a household that ate fast food frequently.

Regarding these areas and the secret to weight loss: you can enjoy your food more by eating less IF you know how to full appreciate what you are eating.

The green and blue areas of the above diagram deal how our 5 senses appreciate food.  Palatability (in green) refers to sensory cues that happen before we start eating the food, while flavor (in blue) refers to sensory cues that happen inside the mouth and nose after we start eating the food. Regarding these areas and the secret to weight management: you can enjoy your food more by eating less IF you know how to full appreciate what you are eating.