A new diet plan? No, just a new way of thinking about food, according to consumer psychologist Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.
Dieters may not need as much willpower as they think, if you make simple changes in your surroundings that can result in eating healthier without a second thought.
“Our homes are filled with hidden eating traps,” said Dr. Wansink. “Most of us have too much chaos going on in our lives to consciously focus on every bite we eat. The secret is to change your environment so it works for you not against you.”
One of his studies showed that people lost up to 2 pounds a month after making several simple changes in their environment, including these:
- Eat off salad plates instead of large dinner plates (note the difference in size in the above image).
- Keep unhealthy foods out of immediate line of sight and move healthier foods to eye-level in the cupboard and refrigerator.
- Eat in the kitchen or dining room, not in front of the TV.
“These simple strategies are far more likely to succeed than willpower alone. It’s easier to change your environment than to change your mind,” he said.
Here’s another technique from Wansink that may be worth trying—it’s called the mindless margin. If you try to reduce you calorie intake by too much at any one time—500 or more calories per day—your body and mind will notice making you feel hungry and ornery.
However, if you reduce your calorie consumption by 200-300 per day, your body and mind may not even become aware. Over the course of a month this can amount to a loss of 2 1/2 pounds. While that may not seem like much, over a year that 2 1/2 pounds could result in a 30 pound weight loss. Not bad for just having one less Blueberry muffin or replacing one Starbuck’s Grande White Chocolate Mocha per day with a cup of black coffee.
I’m sure you can think of many more ways to mindlessly drop 200-300 calories per day from your diet. So, what are you going to do today to mindlessly reduce your calories? Share your thoughts and ideas below.
- Lifestyle Change – It Only Takes Small Steps (well-beingblog.com)
- Super-size me? The psych end of ordering food (ctv.ca)
- Portion control may be all in the mind, studies suggest (cbsnews.com)
- Time to Eat (my.psychologytoday.com)
Image curtesy of Wendt Pottery Dinnerware
Article partially based on material from Health-e headlines™
According to the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, founder of the Brain Awareness Week (BAW)
BAW is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Founded in 1996, BAW unites the efforts of partner organizations from around the world in a week-long celebration of the brain every March. Partners include universities, hospitals, K-12 schools, advocacy groups, government agencies, service organizations, professional groups, and affiliates.
During BAW, partners organize creative and innovative activities in their communities to educate and excite people of all ages about the brain and the promise of brain research. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations.
So mark your calendars to March 12-18, 2012 and join in the celebration of the brain.
- Brain Awareness Week is Approaching: March 12-18th, 2012 (sharpbrains.com)
- Gearing Up for Brain Awareness Week (danapress.typepad.com)
- Brain Awareness Week Campaign Event in Washington D.C. (danapress.typepad.com)