Obesity

10 Tips To End Mindless Eating

Mindless Eating is such a vice in which we all indulge in to a certain extent. Food is more than just a means of sustenance. Eating is not always hunger driven. A lot of times it is satiety driven. Beyond physiological factors, there are a lot of emotional, psychological and environmental factors which determine how much we eat.

A study at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab had established that people make 20 times more involuntary decisions about food than they think they do. Small little things in the environment like having family around, meeting old buddies after a long time, an engrossing television program, an engaging book, packages, plates, colors, lights, candles, shapes, smells etc can all influence when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat.

The mind and the body have a lesser role to play in this type of eating. And it is this type of uncontrolled eating that leads to weight gain. America has some appalling statistics when it comes to obesity. 8 out of 10 people above the age of 25 are overweight. A total of 58 million people are overweight. Around 40 million people are obese. And 3 million people are morbidly obese. It is the greatest hurdle as far as weight loss is concerned.

In the book Mindless eating by Cornell University consumer behavior professor Brian Wansink, the writer opines that the environment which has caused people to be over weight can be re-engineered to make them lose weight and that too mindlessly. He says choosing to make three small changes in the environment that anyone has set up for himself at home or work can make him eat 200-300 lesser calories everyday. 200 fewer calories per day would amount to eating 73000 lesser calories in a year. This could transform into a 20lb weight loss in a year.

The body can be programed to shun mindless eating to a certain extent. Educating individuals and families about this concept and making the required changes in the environment can be a huge step in obesity prevention.

To learn more about the phenomenon of Mindless Eating, watch the video below:

Read on to find out what changes can be done to end Mindless Eating.

1. Never allow yourself to be too hungry:

Extreme hunger can make one falter no matter how determined you are. If you are not famished, chances are that you will not reach out to unhealthy foods and will make mindful choices.

2. Eat healthy without depriving yourself:

Do not opt for extreme dieting options. They are impractical and are not feasible in the long run. Low fat does not always mean you can eat more. Research shows that people who eat low fat versions of food ends up eating 14% more than people eating normal food. It is important to be mindful about the total calories consumed whatever you eat.

3. Buy food in smaller packs:

Stop going to the wholesale discount stores and buy huge packs of food. Instead buy packs which have single servings. This prevents you from eating mindlessly.

4. Do not mix eating with any other activity:

It is important not to eat while engaging in any other activity. It is quite possible to be misled by an engaging conversation, a good television program or a football match and eat beyond your point of satiation. Eat slowly and in small amounts constantly focusing on the food while you eat.

5. Do not eat from larger packs:

Always serve yourself a serving. Never eat from larger bowls or packs of food. Divide the food into smaller servings even when storing leftovers. This is self checking measure which can prevent overeating.

6. Eat from smaller bowls and plates:

Research has proved that eating from smaller bowls and plates can help to eat less. Use smaller serving spoons. Finishing a plate is associated with the same level of satiety no matter if it is big or small. The only advantage is that a smaller plate holds a lesser amount of food than the big plate and enables you to be full with a lesser amount of food.

7. Never go for second helpings:

Program yourself to serve yourself just once. Fill your plate with whatever you think you will eat just once. Prohibit yourself from serving yourself twice.

8. Never serve bigger bowls of food on the table or opt for Buffet Meals:

Make it a habit to serve the larger containers holding food on the kitchen counter. Serve yourself in a plate and be seated at the table. The distance from the table to the kitchen counter might just be enough to discourage you to go for the second helping. The same goes for buffet meals. A typical plate in a standard buffet meal could easily be above 1200 calories.

9. Make your home healthy diet friendly:

Avoid buying and storing snacks like chips, pretzels, caramel corn, cookies, candies visible to the eye. Rather store healthy snacks like nuts, granola, fruits, string cheese, single serving cups of low fat yogurt and cottage cheese. This will help you mindlessly inculcate a healthy snacking habit.

10. Get friendly with individuals who are on a weight loss journey just like you:

Peer support can be the greatest incentive when it comes to losing weight. Find a partner and exercise together. Share your weight loss journey with a support group. It will definitely help you stay motivated. It might work wonders in molding your unhealthy mindless eating habits.

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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