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Mindless Eating

September 6th 2011

mindless_eatingOriginally published in Grow With Nutrition.

As a dietitian, I’m fairly active with all the knowledge and expertise to have reasonable, healthy eating habits, however, I too sometimes get caught up in ‘mindless eating’.

What is mindless eating?

  • It is a term Brian Wansink, Ph.D. made famous from the title of his book, Mindless Eating and his research at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University.

What does it mean to mindlessly eat?

  • Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry.
  • We overeat because of boredom, of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.

Wansink’s studies show that the average person makes around 250 decisions about food every day:

  • Breakfast or no breakfast?
  • Cereal or bagel?
  • Part of it or all of it?
  • Kitchen or car or at work?

…& it is not even 7 am yet.

Out of these 200+ food decisions, most we cannot really explain. The book shows what these decisions are and how to make them work for you for a healthier lifestyle.

The best Mindful Eating tips are personalized and tied to your diet danger zone, which can include:

  • meal stuffing
  • snack grazing
  • party or weekend or vacation binging
  • restaurant indulging
  • desktop, car or Internet dining

Mindless Eating has many tips, but to really personalize them, it’s good to use food trade-offs and food policies to make small, stylized changes that fit with your life.

The more than helpful suggestions:

  • Discover how eating from smaller plates decrease food amount
  • Eat at the table away from the computer, your desk and the television
  • Use smaller serving spoons to lessen portion sizes
  • Put healthier food options within sight in the refrigerator and the pantry, while pushing back all the unhealthy, processed food and beverages

If you are constantly struggling with weight gain and not sure why, I highly recommend keeping a food journal for seven days, reading this book and consulting a Registered Dietitian for a full food, diet and lifestyle assessment.

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Posted by Jane

One response to “Mindless Eating”

  1. Michael Muryn says:

    250 decisions a day about food, wow!

    We love the taste of food, but we also have to listen to our body when it is full. ;-)

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