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Mindless Eating: Losing Weight Without Thinking

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#1
Evermont

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Would you mind if you were mindless?

Mindless Eating: Losing Weight Without Thinking

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) — Dieters may not need as much willpower as they think, if they make simple changes in their surroundings that can result in eating healthier without a second thought, said a consumer psychologist at the American Psychological Association's 119th Annual Convention.

"Our homes are filled with hidden eating traps," said Brian Wansink, PhD, who presented his findings and strategies for a healthier lifestyle in a plenary address entitled "Modifying the Food Environment: From Mindless Eating to Mindlessly Eating Better."

"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," Wansink said

Wansink identified several myths about eating behaviors as a way to explain why Americans, on average, have been getting fatter. "People don't think that something as simple as the size of a bowl would influence how much an informed person eats," he said.

However, several studies show exactly that, including Wansink's study of 168 moviegoers, who ate either fresh or stale popcorn from different size containers. People ate 45 percent more fresh popcorn from extra-large containers than large ones and the people who were eating stale popcorn ate 34 percent more from the extra-large buckets than people eating fresh popcorn, according to the study.

They just don't realize they're doing it," said Wansink. This strategy also applies to what we drink. His research found that people pour about 37 percent more liquid in short, wide glasses than in tall, skinny ones of the same volume.

Even a kid's cereal bowl can be a trap, according to Wansink. One study showed children of different weights who were given a 16 ounce bowl were more likely to serve themselves twice as much cereal than children given an 8 ounce bowl.

Another myth, according to Wansink, is that people know when they are full and stop before they overeat. His Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University tested this by designing a "bottomless bowl." They brought in 60 people for a free lunch and gave 22 ounce bowls of soup to half, while the other half unknowingly got 22 ounce bowls that were pressure-fed under the table and slowly refilled. The results: people with bottomless bowls ate 73 percent more than those with normal bowls, yet when asked, they didn't realize they had eaten more. "The lesson is, don't rely on your stomach to tell you when you're full. It can lie," Wansink said.

Simply being aware of such findings can help people make healthier choices, especially those who are already trying to eat healthier foods, according to Wansink. One of his studies showed that people lost up to two pounds a month after making several simple changes in their environment, including:

eating off salad plates instead of large dinner plates.
keeping unhealthy foods out of immediate line of sight and moving healthier foods to eye-level in the cupboard and refrigerator.
eating in the kitchen or dining room, not in front of the television.

"These simple strategies are far more likely to succeed than willpower alone. It's easier to change your environment than to change your mind," Wansink concluded.

(link)



#2
sumi

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It's a good article, Evermont. Some (un)commonsense ideas that don't make me want to strangle whoever wrote them. Thanks for posting.
Susan
DX Dec4/08 FBG 19(342)
Dec4 /08 A1C 10.9
Feb.4/09 A1C 7.6
may4 /09 A1C 5.2:D
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Dec 7/09 A1C 5.2
2010 A1C average 5.4
2011 A1C average 5.5
Current meds: 1500mg metformin, 5 mg ramipril, Victoza
Low carb- started at < 50 , now can handle 100

#3
OrangeClouds

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nice article. very interesting :o

#4
notme

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Ok, fine, but I like stale popcorn. :T

Seriously, this is so true. My husband and I battle about this all the time. From drinks poured to amount on your plate. If the plate was smaller, you would be full. If the plate is larger you just think you are eating less.

Now how to break the nut jar addiction? I keep raw almonds in a clear glass jar in the kitchen. I need to put that sucker away.
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#5
Subby

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I can't stop with an open amount of nuts. Freezer bags came to the rescue for me for them and anything else that can be stored that way. I generally will divide out and bag my nuts or anything else bagable into good portions for me, and leave the baggies in the cupboard/pantry or fridge. It makes you feel like you are a kid sometimes, it is not as nice as being in nice containers, but I find it works. You have no choice but to stick to a portion, if you do want more it has to be a conscious decision.

Personally I'd rather reduce, not increase the use of plastic around my food. But this does works really well.
20 years T1. NPH and Novorapid.
Some essentials for my blood sugar control: dosing via i:c ratio and cf • basal testing when needed • daily 40 minutes moderate exercise (or close) • carbs somewhere below 120g currently • only eating carbs and carb/fat combos that do not cause a problem spike, with or without insulin.

#6
Cormac_Doyle

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Now how to break the nut jar addiction? I keep raw almonds in a clear glass jar in the kitchen. I need to put that sucker away.


I don't need no stinkin' jar ... I just eat the whole packet ...

Oh, hold on, ...

OK, maybe I need to get me a Jar (and some will-power ... once I open a packet of nuts, I j find it really hard to stop snacking!)
HbA1c
2007/2008 - Sept 07: 10.9; Feb 08: 8.5; Sept 08: 7.3;
2009 - Feb: 7.5; Apr: 6.4; Aug: 6.1;
2010 - Jan: 7.0; Mar: 6.4; Jun: 6.1; Oct: 5.9;
2011 - Jan: 6.4; Apr: 6.5; Aug: 6.3; Nov: 6.2;
2012 - Mar: 6.7; May: 6.3; June: 6.2; Sep: 5.4; Dec: 6.0
2013 - Mar: 6.1; May: 6.5; July: 6.3; Nov: 6.1

Meds - Glucophage: 2000mg; Omega 3: 4000mg; Crestor: 20mg; Victoza: 1.8mg; Humulin: 150-250 iu ( originally 1800-2400 iu daily)

Started Pump: 10th April 2011 - Minimed Paradigm Veo

#7
Subby

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There is one disappointing aspect to this article and/or the research. It is all very well to question the assumption that we detect when we are full and to reveal some of the psychological tricks of satiety. I'm not really that surprised at the results (they are intuitive if you accept psychology has a role) and it's interesting to see various ways they validate this phenomenon and it could be quite useful (for instance, buy long skinny glasses if over drinking is a problem!). But another assumption that is not being tested here is whether the lower portions in some instances may have led to more eating or hunger issues later. Take the soup - without knowing the nutritional content of the soup, it may well be that those that ate 72% more had a more suitable meal, and those that ate just the bowl, actually didn't get a very substantial serve because they had the psychological trick that when the bowl was finished, they should be satisfied. In other words, maybe there are times we should be learning to listen to our physiological feedback, instead of treat it like an idiot. (I suspect we need to first retrain it).

It's pretty easy to fiddle these experiments to prove a point, but without looking at all angles the result may well be meaningless or misleading. I'm not saying that's what they've done here. There isn't enough info to really assess some of these claims. There might be in the primary source.
20 years T1. NPH and Novorapid.
Some essentials for my blood sugar control: dosing via i:c ratio and cf • basal testing when needed • daily 40 minutes moderate exercise (or close) • carbs somewhere below 120g currently • only eating carbs and carb/fat combos that do not cause a problem spike, with or without insulin.




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