Are you a mindless eater?
“Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.” -Dr. Brain Wansink, PhD
Want to lose weight? Don’t change what you eat, that comes later. Change how you eat!
The one simple step to losing weight subconsciously is to change your dinnerware!
Sizes have increased since the 1970′s and most of us now eat on 12″ plates in comparison with the previous standard of 10″ plates. How much have those extra 2″ cost us? According to smallplatemovement.org, “if a typical dinner is 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to a weight loss of 18 lbs. per year for the average adult.” I can think of numerous people who would love to lose almost 20 lbs. without even trying!
Dinnerware changes from 1985 to 2005
We also use larger glasses for drinking which has led to an increase in liquid calories ingested on top of more in daily food calories. The larger the plate you serve your food on the more likely you are to fill it. The same goes for glassware. You can see from the pictures above how we could easily we can overserve ourselves without even realizing it.
If you are drinking anything besides water use a glass that only holds 8oz. so you can always visually see a standard serving size. Use bowls no bigger than 5″ and plates no bigger than 10″. Just making this one small switch will help you control your portion sizes without having to think about it. Also, no cheating and piling food on your plate. If you mindfully do this then you need to address why you feel you need to eat that much. Dinnerware with a clear distinct border helps prevent you from over-filling the sides of the plate which should be left clear. Do not fret about the cost of new dinnerware as you can always visit your local thrift store or use paper goods for cheaper alternatives. If you eat out be aware of the plates on which your food is served and try to down-size your portions accordingly.
8 oz. glassware or smaller
10″ plates or smaller
5″ bowls or smaller
How someone can be thin but unhealthy? They eat regular portions.
How you eat and approach food is a large part of your body composition. You may know someone classified as ‘skinny fat’. This is someone who eats mainly processed foods and has poor body composition (their body is more fat versus muscle). These people are thin but still are at a high risk for chronic disease because of their diet and lack of exercise. This is typical of all people with unhealthy lifestyle habits regardless of size. They are skinnier in comparison with their more obese counterparts because they eat real portion sizes and only eat when they need to. They don’t starve themselves, but they don’t eat for their emotions either (or because they are bored). Eat your regular diet and change your eating behaviors first. Then you can start to incorporate healthier choices and other lifestyle changes on your own personal path to health. Take it one step at a time. Why do you have to change behavior first? Because you can still be overweight on ‘healthy food’ due to over-eating and unaddressed eating triggers.
I also recommend you read the book, Mindless Eating-Why We Eat More Than We Think by Dr. Brian Wanskink. There are many subconscious eating behaviors that affect our waistline. His book is a great eye-opener to the multitude of choices we make every day about what and how we eat! More importantly, visit his site to take his Mindless Eating quiz and see how you score.
Take the Mindless Eater Quiz (its at the bottom of the linked page)