Pavlov is well known for his experiments regarding dogs. When he fed them, he rang a little bell. Eventually, he only needed to ring the bell and the dogs salivated, even when there was no food.
I know we’d like to think that we’re superior to dogs. But there are lots of things in our lives that act like this trigger. Events that induce salivation due to habit. It might be turning on the television, if you usually eat in front of it. Or driving past a garage if you buy snacks when you fill up. Or walking past a certain bakery if you often buy cakes there.
You weren’t thinking of eating a cinnamon roll, were you, until you walked past the bakery and that delicious sweet, spicy smell engulfed you? All at once, your tongue tingles with the anticipation of the sugary coating, the warm, yeasty bread beneath. You find yourself in the shop. A moment earlier you weren’t even hungry.
Or maybe you’re watching television and there is Nigella, dipping her finger into an oozing mass of chocolatey sauce. All at once, the idea of chocolate, or Nutella or a hot pudding fills your mind. The next thing you know, you’re on the hunt for it.
What in your life, acts like that bell, and has you salivating for food whether you’re hungry or not? Can you retrain the dog?
Excerpt from ‘Why we Cheat when we Eat and how to stop’.