Are you a Mindless Eater?

Each day you make well over 200 decisions about food, according to Brian Wansink, PH.D. in his book, Mindless Eating. Your weight is the sum total of your past food decisions.

According to Wansink, overeating can be greatly reduced simply by removing the cues in your environment that cause you to overeat. He goes on to explain some of the top Diet Danger Zones and below offers a solution on how to stabilize your eating habits.  Below I have summarized them and added one of my own (see #6), as I think we can ALL identify with one or another, right??!!

Which one are you?  A little of each?  More of one over the other?

1.            The Meal Stuffer: At mealtime you really stuff yourself. You clean everything off your plate, eat quickly and often go back for seconds. You consider yourself to have a “healthy appetite” an often feel uncomfortably full after eating.

  • Use the Half-Plate Rule: fill half of your plate with vegetables and the other half with protein and starch.
  • Use smaller plates and wait 20 minutes before deciding if you want seconds.
  • Eat slower so your appetite can catch up with what you’ve already eaten.  (Mom’s, sound familiar? I’m lucky if I can get through my breakfast while it’s HOT!)
  • Don’t place serving dishes on the table. Pre-plate your food and then put the rest out of reach.

2.            The Snack Grazer: You eat whatever food is within reach, and snack at least three times  throughout the day. You can’t walk past a candy dish without dipping in. Your snacking is rarely done out of hunger.

  • Chew gum throughout your day to avoid mindless munching.
  • Keep tempting snack foods out of sight and out of mind.
  • Never eat directly from a package. Portion out your snack into a dish.
  • Don’t purchase tempting snack foods for future snacking. Keep a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on hand instead.

3.            The Party Binger: Whenever you attend a social event where the main attraction is food, you eat without stopping. With all the distraction you quickly lose track of how much you’ve consumed and often stop only when it’s time to leave.

  • Stay more than an arm’s length away from the buffet or snack bowls.
  • Put only two food items on your plate during each trip to the table.
  • Make yourself feel full by eating (and drinking water) the big healthy stuff first, like broccoli and carrots.
  • Remind yourself why you are at the party: first to socialize or to conduct business and secondarily to eat.
  • Eat before you go to the party.  You’ll likely have less temptation to overeat if you are already full.

4.            The Restaurant Indulger: You eat out at least three times a week and enjoy every minute of it.  You love appetizers, large entrees and rich desserts. When you leave the table you are always stuffed.

  • Ask your waiter to remove the bread basket from the table.
  • Before you eat, ask your waiter to box half of your entrée to take home.
  • Decide to either share an appetizer or a dessert, never have both.
  • Skip the appetizer menu and instead start your meal with a side salad.

5.            The Desktop (or Dashboard) Diner: You like to multi-task by eating at your desk or on the go.     Your lightning-quick meals aregrabbed on-the-go from fast food joints, vending machines and convenience stores. You don’t plan your meals ahead of time and end up eating whatever you    can quickly find.

  • Pack a healthy lunch and bring it with you.
  • Stock your work area with healthy protein-filled snacks.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Turn off the computer or pull your car over while you eat.

6.            The “Grab n’ Go” Traveler: You travel often for business or pleasure and find with early or later flights, the options for food are minimal or less than stellar.  This may often lead you to grab that greasy breakfast sandwich at the airport McDonald’s (or any “grab n’ go” restaurant   option), operate just on 20 ounces of coffee, be forced to purchase nasty airline food, or worse, NOTHING.  So, plan ahead.

  • While packing for your flight, also pack a snack bag to take in your carry-on (which means, allow enough room to pack it!).
  • Allow for time to eat a meal before you leave for the airport.
  • Find a grocery store at your destination and stock your room full of healthy meal options ( i.e.: oatmeal, raw nuts, fruit, vegetables, almond butter and/or protein nutrition bars.
  • Stay hydrated while traveling.
  • Keep active.  Don’t let your vacation or business trip get the better of you.  Staying on track with your nutrition and fitness will sustain optimal energy, thus creating less opportunity to make poor decisions.

By making these healthy changes when it comes to your food decisions you will put yourself back on course and moving in the direction of healthy weight loss.

As nutrition is a vital part to any successful and organic weight loss, coupling it with a challenging and progressive fitness program is equally as key.

If you’d like additional suggestions and/or recommendations on how to stick with your nutritional plan or maintain your fitness while on the go, drop me an email or phone call.

Your partner in health & fitness.

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