When we are watching “live” television there is very often intentional delay between the actual events occurring and when we see this. This “delay” is used mostly to ensure that inappropriate content is not allowed to be shown/heard. Although the time of the delay varies, the term “7 Second Delay” has been used to describe this. Actually, the delay started in radio and was not intentional: Many years ago when radio was in it’s infancy stages, to transmit the broadcast across certain wires, the technology caused the delay. In the television world, this became standard, as if a curse word was used or another type of offensive event transpired, this could be cut out immediately and the audience would not see/hear this.
So, what does any of this have to do with your weight control efforts? Here goes: The ”instinctual”/pleasure parts of our brain compel us to reach for immediate gratification food/snack items. However, the “intellectual” parts of our brain urge us to NOT eat these foods, but rather, forego them in the quest to control weight and become healthier/happier.
If we act on immediate impulse, we will give in to the eating/drinking/snacking behaviors that will derail our weight control efforts. By taking a slight delay and thinking about the behavioral pattern and the consequences, there is a greater chance of changing that behavior/action.
How can we take a “delay” between the impulse of wanting that immediate gratification food/drink source and actually ingesting it? One way is to keep 3X5 cards on your refrigerator, pantry and wine cabinet that have 5 bullet points as to why you want/need to control weight. Obligate yourself to read those reasons before reaching for that food/drink source. Another method is to obligate yourself to keep a food intake journal. Knowing that you must write the food/drink down will provide a slight delay before the action is taken.
In television, the 7 Seconds Delay is used so the audience cannot hear the f-bomb or some other offensive words. In weight control, the 7 Seconds Delay is used to allow the intellectual part of the brain to triumph over the hedonistic part.