Why are we not aware of how much we eat? … it seems that what we see is more important that what we actually eat. We are greatly influenced by packets, colours, because it’s in reach, because it’s free – nothing to do with hunger.
The bottomless soup bowl experiment contrived by Brian Wansink, a Cornell researcher who studies how we eat, proved that our eyes deceive us. He rigged the bowls with a tube so they continually filled up. It appeared that everyone had half a bowl of soup however those with the unrigged bowls ate just half a bowl of soup but those with the rigged bowls just kept eating…three times more actually! With a couple of exceptions people just didn’t notice.
We eat for a variety of reasons… not just because we are hungry or to replenish fuel as we would put petrol into a car. We eat because…
…others are, because its lunchtime, because it would be rude to refuse or because we remember the TV advert & think we ought to try whatever it was.
If we eat too little or too much we know about it but Wansink says there is a ‘mindless margin’. People really don’t notice eating 100 calories more or less every day but compounded over a year that would mean the difference of approximately 10 lbs lost or gained. He suggests that by manipulating our environment we can lose 10 lbs mindlessly.
He studied people at a buffet & found that slim people sat facing away from the food while fatter people were three times more likely to sit closer the food & go back for more if someone passed them with a full plate.
He came up with these statistics:
- Fruit visible in your house? You probably weigh 8lbs less than someone who doesn’t.
- Have biscuits/cookies or crisps/chips within sight? You probably weigh 8lbs more.
- Cereals on breakfast counter? You probably weigh 19lbs more.
- Soda [fizzy drink] visible? You’ll weigh, on average, 25lbs more than someone who doesn’t.
- Eating with friends you’ll eat more
- If you are a woman eating with a man you’ll eat less
Google experimented recently in their New York office. They had M&Ms in baskets which they switched for lidded bowls. Just having to lift a lid reduced the number of M&Ms consumed in that office by 3 million a month.
Here are some strategies you can use:
- put food away so you can’t see it;
- make it more difficult to reach;
- plan ahead;
- don’t shop when you are hungry;
- read labels;
- slow down, chew more
These are just some of the subjects I cover in my “lose weight & keep it off forever” programme & apart from happy successful clients, I am now thankful to have Wansink’s studies as added social proof.
You can ditch the weight if you make some small changes, one at a time, changes that you can keep up forever.
If you would like to join in just get in touch we’d love to hear from you
Do let me know what you think…