CNN’s David S. Martin recently had an interesting article on portion control. Many of us have been on “See Food Diets.” Eating is most influenced by food’s visibility and convenience. One solution is to keep unhealthy food out of sight, stock up on healthy snacks.
We are powerless to ignore the clarion call of the candy jar, the beckoning of the buffet, the summons of the snack cupboard.
That’s the conclusion of Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating” and head of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.
“We believe we have all the free will in the world. We believe we overeat if the food is good or if we’re really hungry. In reality, those are two of the last things that determine how much we eat,” Wansink says. What really influences our eating, he says, are visibility and convenience.
In one experiment, Wansink placed candy jars of chocolate in office workers’ cubicles for a month. Then, he moved the candy six feet away. Simply having the candy closer meant the office workers ate five more candies a day. That adds up to 125 calories a day, or 12 pounds a year. Take an interactive quiz on eating and your environment.
“Something that’s very visible, every time we see it we have to make a decision. Do I want to eat that? Do I not want to eat that? Do I want that candy on my desk, or do I not want it? We can say no 27 times, but if it’s visible, the 28th or 29th time, we start saying, ‘Maybe.’ By time 30, 31, we start saying, ‘What the heck? I’m hungry,’ ” Wansink says.
“In a similar way, convenience also tends to do the same thing. If it’s really convenient and there’s nothing to stop us from reaching out and grabbing something, we’ll continue to do something until something tells us to stop.”
Wansink has found you’ll eat more if you’re eating:
- “family style” with the serving bowls on the table.
- directly from the bag or carton.
- on a bigger plate or from a bigger container.
- in front of the television, in the car, with friends.
Even if we know all about mindless eating, Wansink says we can’t help ourselves. He’s proven this point by giving a 90-minute class to graduate students about eating more from larger containers and then secretly observing them at a Super Bowl party six weeks later.
Wansink‘s solution: Surrender. Accept that you will give in to temptation and eat mindlessly.
What really influences our eating, he says, are visibility and convenience. Keep healthy snacks close at hand.
“When it comes down to it, we’re efficient people,” Wansink says. “We want something that’s convenient. And if it’s fruit or vegetables that’s a whole lot more convenient than that cake that’s wrapped up in the freezer, guess what’s for snack today? Fruits and vegetables.”
Since 1999 I have been assisting people to take back the power from food and put themselves in control. How? By using hypnotherapy. In the Slender For Life™ hypnotic weight loss program I teach you self hypnosis so that you can be in control. Many clients tell me that thanks to hypnosis they are now able to have cookies in the cookie jar and not even think about them – where before they couldn’t have had them in the house.
Have you been successful at overcoming the “See Food Diet?” I’d love to hear from you on how you did it. To help determine if you are truly hungry, watch Am I Hungry?
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I am in control of what I eat, how much I eat and ultimately my weight.
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