Pavlov for the Holidays

Pavlov for the Holidays November 27, 2013

Kyle Duarte BA Nutrition and Wellness

During the holiday season, your senses will be on constant overload and it is going to take everything to remain on the path you have chosen. Let all of the smells and sounds take you back to the great times with your family, but do not allow those memories to control the progress that you have seen from all of your hard work.

This holiday season make sure you understand a few concepts:

-        Lateral Hypothalamus: The “Hunger Center” in the brain. This is one of the areas followed by the stomach and mouth that tell you that you are hungry.

  • Test this hunger center by drinking 8 ounces of water, and if you are still hungry make sure you eat according to the PN principles that we have all integrated into our lifestyles.

-        Ventromedial Hypothalamus: The “Satiety Center” in the brain. This is the point in which volume, and content receptors in the stomach are triggered to send signals to the brain to make eating less desirable.

  • Do not try to BEAT the (VMH)!

-        Hyperphagia: Excessive food intake; Overeating. Commonly seen during the holiday season with an overabundance of foods and lack of control.

-        Conditional Hunger: Hunger resulting from environmental factors, produced by conditioning. This is commonly seen when someone sees an advertisement and then consumes a food that they enjoy and every time they see that commercial they develop a sense of hunger.

  • Also occurs when people see that one person (usually grandmother) who makes them eat everything that was cooked including fried, baked, and broiled foods. This person never lets you get off by eating what you need to fulfill the body’s needs, but forces you into hyperphagia.

Classical conditioning, explained by Ivan Pavlov, is a stimulus paired with a biologically significant stimulus a sufficient number of times for the novel stimulus to elicit the behavior or conditional response. WOAH, that sounds like Spanish! Let me put this into a scenario for you.

Grandmas pumpkin pie is sitting there and you see and smell the pie. This stimulus is paired with the wonderful taste that you have enjoyed for the entirety of your life and before you know it the conditional response is an empty plate with a fork on it and a feeling of regret……….that is quickly replaced by another slice, thank grandma!


  • This holiday season it is important to ask yourself if all of the hard work that you have done and are going to do is worth overeating these few months in a row? Control the conditional responses that occur by noticing them before they happen and have a back-up plan in order to stay true to the lifestyle that you have adopted!



UncategorizedB.J. Bliffert