Do You Eat More Than You Think?
April 24, 2012. I just finished reading a fascinating book called, “Mindless Eating,” by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. If you are concerned about your weight slowly creeping each year, this book is for you. The book attempts to explain why we often eat more than we think which leads to sneaky weight gain. Brian Wansink is a researcher who studies people’s eating habits and how they are affected by various cues such as plate size and dining music. He runs experiments in restaurants, movie theatres and mock living rooms and manipulates various variables to see if they lead to mindless eating and over consumption. His findings will shock you!
Yes, the book is a little depressing but the author does offer us some hope in fighting the battle of the bulge. At the end of the book he offers some techniques so that we can be more successful in avoiding mindless eating and the inevitable weight gain associated with it. My favourite two techniques are “food trade-offs,” and “food policies,”
“I can eat X if I do Y.”
“I can eat potato chips if I skip my morning snack.”
“I can eat a piece of chocolate if I’ve worked out.”
Food trade-offs are great because they still allow us to enjoy our favourite foods.
“I can eat dessert if I always share it with at least one person.”
“If I have a glass of wine with dinner then I don’t eat dessert.”
Food policies eliminate mindless habits that have encroached on our lifestyle.
I recently read an article about an actress who still allows herself to eat a soft pretzel every now and then but she throws away half before she bites into it. I know it sounds a little harsh to some of you but it is a strategy that works for her. You could share the pretzel with someone instead but lets be honest if you are alone and only eat half and tuck the rest in your bag “for tomorrow,” you will most likely find yourself eating it within the hour. Pretzels (or insert favourite treat here) have magical powers that demand they be finished. It could be just me, but I have a feeling you know what I’m talking about.
Get your hands on a copy of “Mindless Eating,” and let me know what you think. I would also love to hear what your personal strategies are for avoiding mindless eating.