Tricks To Combat Mindless Eating

You have probably heard the term mindless eating. It actually refers to findings from scientific experiments showing that people make almost 20 times more daily decision about food than they realize – approximately 250 decisions each day.

Mindless Eating suggests that a considerable part of our hunger is psychologically-driven, which leads us to be easily driven by tiny cues around us, such as family, friends, packages, names, labels, lights, colors, smells, shapes, distances, containers, cupboards, and distractions. Is it possible that we are not calibrated well enough to know when we are full or to know when we are hungry?

The gist of the study goes like this:

Endless bowl group – participants ate from a bowl that automatically refilled from the bottom. The participants did not know this was happening.

Normal bowl group – participants ate from a bowl that did not automatically refill. As they ate, they could see there was less food left on the bowl.

Those in the endless bowl group ate 73% more food until they thought they were full, compared to those in the normal bowl group. This confirmed scientific hypothesis — that our eyes are the main factors in determining when we think we are full.

Obviously, mindless eating can lead to unhealthy habits and weight gain. However, mindless eating can also be used to your favor, so that your habits become healthier.

Some easy fixes or tricks are to get smaller plates and bowls. This works great with kids too. I actually just did this with all my kiddie plastic bowls. Now with smaller bowls, I don’t hear whining complaints like “that’s all I get?” or “that’s not enough!” when I pour an appropriate amount of food into the bowl. Reducing the number of times you look at unhealthy snacks is also key.  Either don’t buy them at all or keep them out of sight. You can move healthier foods to eye-level in the refrigerator or pantry. And of course, food should be eaten in the kitchen, rather than in front of the TV.

Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat, and then ask ourselves if we’re full. The secret is to change your environment so it works for you rather than against you.

I AM ENTERING SCALE REHAB

“I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT”

When talking about fitness and nutrition, this is the most common phrase for women. I am just as guilty as anyone, and I know better. It is true that many overweight individuals (both men and women alike) need to lose drastic amounts of weight for health reasons, but many who utter this phrase want to lose body fat, not weight.

So, what’s the difference? If weight goes down, doesn’t body fat follow? Yes, but not always. An exercise routine that includes cardio and resistance training increases muscle while eliminating body fat. The overall effect is a tighter, more toned physique, but body weight could stay the same (or even increase).

Therefore, the obsession with numbers on a scale is unfounded. You can greatly improve appearance, enhance fitness levels, and eliminate unwanted fat all while maintaining a constant weight. Instead of only focusing on the numbers on the scale, focus on a combination – body fat measurements, weight, and image in the mirror.

My biggest “crime” lately has been this obsession with the numbers on the scale. In a previous post I told you that I went out and bought a scale because the one at the gym was clearly “off”. I know better, but to reaffirm…again, the numbers on the scale are of little importance in the short run. I hear too many women (including me) expressing genuine concern over a fluctuation of two or three pounds in bodyweight. There are so many factors, none of which have to do with “getting fatter,” that could have caused such a minor gain, so there is no need for panic.

Weigh yourself at the same time every day because the difference in weight between stepping on the scale first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and stepping on the scale after dinner can be quite noticeable. This difference, however, is normal and cyclical.Water weight can also be a culprit of minor differences, and this too has nothing to do with a permanent weight gain. Therefore, the scale should only be consulted about once a week and the long-run changes are what matter.

I am going into “scale rehab”, so hopefully I will get over this stupid obsession!

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