More Mindful Eating

Original Image by Trace Nietert via Flickr
Original Image by Trace Nietert via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

I just finished reading the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink.  While I recently wrote a blog post encouraging you to read the book, I enjoyed it so much and find “mindful eating” an effective way to eat moving forward, that I couldn’t help myself from writing a follow up post.  If you haven’t heard of Dr. Brian Wansink, but are fan of food, healthy eating and/or love to learn, get on board now! Wansink, a food psychologist, is the leading spokesperson on the concept of mindless eating.  He’s given many speeches and talks on mindless eating.

Forewarning, the book covers many studies. Yet, wouldn’t you want someone’s accounts of more “mindful eating” to be back by lab studies, not on mere hunches? Wansink does a great job walking us through the WHY of our natural tendency to eat more than we actually need.  And the best part, you don’t have to give up the four C’s, cookies, candy, cake and ice cream, of overeating entirely! Yay!

Main Takeaways from Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think:

  • Food Trade Offs: “I can eat x if I do y”–>”I can eat dessert if I I’ve worked out” or “I can have chips if I don’t have a morning snack.” This is a great technique as you’re able to enjoy the foods you like as long as you make small concessions.  These trade offs put you back in the driver’s seat in regards to food choices and makes you think about what “price” you’re willing to pay for overeating
  • Food Policies: Are a great way to regulate your eating by eliminating one or two habits; opting to forego habits that have somehow encroached into our lives, but won’t be sorely missed; i.e. 1/2 size desserts, no bagels on weekdays, never eat at my desk and/or don’t buy snacks from the vending machine
  • The Power of Three: Since most diets fail due to their restrictive nature, it can sound daunting to think that any changes could stick.  However, with the “Power of Three”, by choosing three reasonable small changes can make a difference! Since it takes approximately 28 days for old habits to break, you need to have the “Power of Three” checklist on hand to help you “check off” the daily changes. This type accountability makes you more mindful and it’s great to visually see how much you’ve accomplished!  While your record may not be perfect, who’s is? You can still walk away from the month better than started.  By focusing on the positive, moving forward will be much easier!
  • Slow and steady can win the race: While we often embark on lofty goals, sprinting out of the gates, it’s better eat in moderation and make small changes that you can proudly say you’ve stuck to in the past year.  These “successes” will add up to 1-2 pounds a month and in the long run, you’ll be lighter emotionally and physically! Win-win!

The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on.

If you’re intrigued to learn more, get your hands on the book! While the above bullets provides a quick synopsis of the book, you can’t beat the actual book! Go on, read!

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