Mindless eating can be loosely defined as overeating due to unconscious hand-to-mouth munching. It can be influenced by environmental factors, such as family and friends, shapes and size of portions, size and shapes of serving plates and packages, lighting, colors, smells, distractions, etc. The danger in this is that it leads to overconsumption of calories, a disregard for natural hunger and fullness cues, and often weight and size gain.
Expert Brian Wasnick started the awareness of mindless eating back in 2006 with his book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think as he showcased his many experiments from his food lab at Cornell University. Despite awareness of mindless eating and promotion of mindful eating, we have a long way to go.
The December issue of Today’s Dietitian highlights the Top 10 Mindless Eating Traps. (To read the full article, go to http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/dce7ca7c#/dce7ca7c/30)
Do you see yourself caught in any of these webs?
- Convenience foods (vending, food carts, fast food, snack shops, EVERYWHERE)
- High-calorie, junk foods EVERYWHERE (and marketed heavily)
- Mega-portions reign supreme.
- Cheap foods are abundant. King-size candy bars are cheap.
- POP = calories. People who drink 1 or more sodas a day are 27% more likely to be overweight than non-drinkers. (2 servings per soda)
- “Healthful” food labels = backfiring when people eat as much as they want.
- Eating with other activities (driving, watching TV, reading, etc.)
- Grocery shopping without a list.
- Club store binges (large-size purchases = large-sized consumption)
- Appetizer overload.
I challenge you to look at the list above and note which ones are “trouble spots” for you. All of the above can lead to weight and size gain. My motto is “change your environment, change your life.” If you need a life and wellness coach with many years of nutrition experience, I’d be happy to help you brainstorm a mindful eating plan for your home. Please contact me at [email protected] and let’s get started!