Attention Management for Weight Loss!

March 15, 2007 at 10:41 am | Posted in Attention Management, Fun | 5 Comments

While I’ve been clear to point out my view that attention in an attention management sense should not equate to action (for example, as “pay attention to your schoolwork” means “do your schoolwork”). But I do think there is an interesting phenomenon where attention leads to action at a subliminal level.

A great example is weight loss. The Wall St. Journal (1/16/07) had an article called “Latest Weight-Loss Advice: Slow Down and Pay Attention” which said “There’s a lot of evidence that simply changing your habits and attention level while eating can make a difference in the quantity of food you ingest”. The more distracted people are when they eat, the more they eat.

There’s an interesting book called “The Inner Game of Tennis” by W. Timothy Gallwey. Forget the title – it’s not really about tennis. It’s a tennis instruction book that only spends about 1 page on technique. The thesis of the book (in my view) is that people have internal mechanisms that correct behavior and affect action as long as attention is paid to an activity (the brain is actively focusing on what is going on, processing it, building an internal database of what is happening in various situations). One need not mentally recite advice about how to swing up at the ball, follow through, etc. Just being an active but non-judgemental observer can have tremendous effect. To quote a statement from Gallwey that appeared in Amazon.com “”No matter what a person’s complaint when he has a lesson with me, I have found the most beneficial first step,” he stressed, “is to encourage him to see and feel what he is doing–that is, to increase his awareness of what actually is.” “

Most of what I talk about with Enterprise Attention Management is of a more explicit variety – by pulling more important messages forward and paying attention to them, the information worker can take optimal action. But it is interesting to note the more subtle ways in which this happens. A mantra of Total Quality Management is that monitoring and measurement encourages optimization and change. As the Wall St. Journal article and Gallwey book show, this mechanism is even ingrained in our psyche.

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5 Comments »

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  1. […] Fun | I wrote previously on how attention management can be applied to losing weight (see Attention Management for Weight Loss!). Now I’m wondering if technologies commonly associated with social software can do the […]

  2. Weight loss is about being very concious about what you eat most of us eat unconsciously, as in emotions and habitual eating patterns as in we don’t think about how or what we are eating. Hence we gain weight.

  3. […] worker feels that dealing with the overabundance and addictive nature of information (just as with food) is a matter of self-discipline.  But there are a handful of people in any organization that […]

  4. Thanks for the info. Its very encouraging.

  5. High quality article. I cherished to read your article. You must be putting a lot of time into your blog


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