Classical conditioning examples in everyday life | Weight Loss
Classical conditioning might be one of the critical factors why you don’t lose weight or can’t maintain it.
It’s one of the weight loss techniques you have to master to succeed.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know what it is or how it affects their life.
That’s why I will explain to you precisely what classical conditioning is and show you examples in everyday life.
It’s one of the reasons why we experience cravings or hunger and why we do or don’t exercise.
And in this blog, I’ll teach you how you can recognize the signals and how you can alter it into something healthy.
You can also buy this book, which will teach you techniques to overcome classical conditioning situations in your own life. It wil make it easier to reduce cravings and start exercising, which is essential if you want to lose weight.
So let’s start:
1. What is classical conditioning?
“Classical conditioning occurs when a conditioned stimulus (CS) paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US). Usually, the conditioned stimulus is a neutral stimulus (e.g., the sound of a tuning fork), the unconditioned stimulus is biologically potent (e.g., the taste of food) and the unconditioned response (UR) to the unconditioned stimulus is an unlearned reflex response (e.g., salivation)”.
I don’t know about you, but I had to read that several times before I understood it.
It means that something that usually doesn’t affect you now activates you to do a specific task or activity.
A standard response would be that when you smell a hamburger, you want to eat a burger.
A classical conditioning response would be that you want to eat a hamburger after hearing a bell, or a car or a door slamming.
It sounds weird, but this is proven through research by Ivan Pavlov’s research in 1901. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist who studied digestion in dogs. He noticed that his dogs began to salivate in the presence of the technician who usually fed them, rather than simply salivating in the presence of food.
Their stimulus altered, and they become hungry, seeing the technician instead of seeing the food.
These alterations are also present in people and have a significant influence on when we feel hungry or experience cravings. When you recognize these situations, you can avoid them so that you’ll consume fewer calories.
2. How does classical conditioning affect your weight?
What we eat and drink highly depends on the tv commercials we see and what our friends are eating and drinking.
Since big companies like Mcdonalds and Coca Cola spend a lot of money convincing us, we have to eat and drink their products, that’s what we do.
And because everyone around you does it too, you do it yourself. That is how classical conditioning makes us eat and drink specific foods.
Unfortunately, these foods are often high in calories, sugar, and fat. Classical conditioning shows to play a big part in the formation of cravings for these types of foods because of their highly palatable taste (sweet taste) and energy repletion (due to a high energy density)
A study conducted in 2004 showed that these often liquid calories reduce the ability of your body to measure the amount of energy it received from the food.
It results in higher calorie intake and causes weight gain.
Other research shows that people with overweight and obesity are not very good at withstanding these temptations and are easy to persuade by commercials or others.
Self-control is an important skill to learn if you want to lose weight.
To help you with that, here are a few examples of these classical condition situation in everyday life.
3. Classical conditioning examples in everyday life causing cravings or hunger
There are several different Classical conditioning examples in daily life that can interfere with your weight loss goals. It’s essential to identify that situation to reverse them.
I’ll show you later how you can change it.
Read more: How to stop cravings | Reduce calorie intake to lose weight
But first a few examples:
1. Eating French fries every Friday
At home, we have the custom to eat French Fries every Friday. It’s something my wife grew up with when she was young. I like it so much that we continued the tradition.
So after all these years, all I want to eat on Friday are French Fries. It feels bizarre not to.
I’m sure all of you have some sorts of food you always crave for on a specific day or time if you know what and when it is, you can do something about it.
2. Cola and potato chips during the weekends.
When I was young, we always got a small bowl of tomato chips and one glass of cola for the evening. That was only on Friday and Saturday evening. During the rest of the week, potato chips and cola were not allowed.
And to date, we still do the same. Now it’s one sack of potato chips and a bottle of cola for the weekend. During the week we still don’t eat and drink it.
This way we don’t crave for it during the week. The exception is about once a month for my wife; you know what I mean.
You see that when you teach your kids specific structures, they will often stick during adulthood. It makes it easier for them to maintain the healthy habits you’re trying to show them.
Read more: How many calories do I need to lose weight | calorie deficit
3. Breakfast every morning
Another thing is to eat breakfast every morning. It sounds like a sure thing for many people, but there are still a lot of people that don’t eat breakfast.
But if you are not used to eating breakfast, these vital hunger signs don’t kick in when you wake up.
That is, however, something you can learn. You can start small by just eating a cookie or a small bowl of yogurt.
Slowly you can increase the amount over time to train your body to get used to it. It’s the same with the amount of breakfast you eat. You can get costumed to eating a lot for breakfast, and you can unlearn it as well.
Remember that your breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I need it to get my body and brain started in the morning. The same goes for lunch.
And it doesn’t matter if your breakfast and lunch are the same every day, as long as their healthy.
Read more: What to eat for breakfast to prevent cravings and lose weight
4. Drinking whiskey
During my weekends, I love to drink whiskey.
And because I stick to the weekend, It doesn’t come up in my head to drink whiskey on a Wednesday.
I don’t smoke myself, but I see people around me with particular routines when It comes to smoking.
It often starts right when they come out of bed. The first thing people do is light up a cigarette. Then after breakfast, the second one comes up.
Some say they smoke one because it’s a habit, not because they want one at that time.
It’s a perfect example of daily classical conditioning pattern.
And because smoking often accompanies eating, this habit will help you gain weight as well.
The best example of classical conditioning is probably drinking coffee.
When do you need coffee the most?
It’s either after eating or when you return home.
And when you’re at work, it’s every time your coworker asks you if you want some.
No real biological cue asks for coffee unless maybe a headache because of a lack of caffeine if you’re addicted.
Other than that it’s just a habit.
7. Your position in the room
Did you notice that you’re always sitting at the same place in your living room?
Also when you’re in a classroom or a conference room, you’ll sit in the same place. And after the break, everyone returns to the same position they sad before the break.
These are all classical conditioned behaviors. We do what we always do.
8. You become hungry just before the time you always eat
It’s almost 12 a clock. That means it almost time to head for lunch. That is often the time when you start feeling hungry.
It is not a biological cue. The time you get hungry depends on the time you usually eat. It depends from person too person. If it were biologically, then the moment you get hungry would be the same for everyone, right?
You also might have experienced that when you know, already you’re going to skip lunch for some reason that you’re not getting hungry at the time you usually start feeling hungry. That’s because the situation is different and you know you won’t eat.
There is no reason to get hungry unless you need more fuel. Since there is enough reserve in your body, this is not necessary. Only when your sugar level drops too low, the feeling will kick in.
That is usually a few hours after your regular lunchtime.
Read more: Why am I always hungry even after eating and how to change it
A specific song can remind you of the movie it’s played in, or an exceptional situation you were in when you heard it.
I have it with a song that also plays at my wedding video. When I hear that song on the radio, I instantly think back to the best day of my life.
It’s the connection between sound and a specific activity or cue.
One of the best recognizable classical conditioning situations is the development of fears.
Everyone knows a scary situation they’ve been.
Every time you’re in a similar situation, you will think back to that specific situation to help you cope better with the current situation.
It’s a protection mechanism for yourself. It creates an intense learning process to help you survive.
There are plenty of examples of commercials that use classical conditioning to make us buy things.
One of the best examples is this coca cola commercial.
It shows you that buying a coke for someone will let him become your friend. The conditioned response is that you buy more coke to make more friends.
4. How to reverse classical conditioning using systematic Desensitization
Systematic sensitization, also known as the extension, is proven to be an effective way to reverse classical conditioning.
What it does is providing the cue, such as a Friday in my first example, without actually eating the French Fries.
When this happens over and over again, the urge for the French Fries, because it’s Friday, will eventually vanish.
So what you have to do to let this work is first identifying what you crave for and why you crave for it at that specific moment.
If you know this, you can make sure that the craved food is not within reach for you during that specific moment.
Eventually, you will lose the craving, which makes it easier for you to reduce your calorie intake and to lose weight.
To help you even further, I’ve selected a book you can buy online with practical exercises to overcome your classical conditional response.
In de end….
In the end, it’s all about containing yourself from the urges you feel about eating or drinking the wrong foods.
If you can do that these urges will disappear and you will start to lose weight.
So let me know which classical conditioned situations you face every day.
How are you going to solve them so that you will start losing weight yourself?
Let’s make the world healthy again!