By Brian Wansick, Ph.D. http://www.mindlesseating.org
Introduction We make over 200 food decisions each day! Food is a great pleasure in life, not something we should compromise. We need to shift our surroundings to work WITH our lifestyle not AGAINST it. The best diet is the one you don’t know you are on.
Mindless margin Why do we overeat foods that aren’t good? 2 studies: –Stale popcorn – those with larger buckets ate 173 calories more than those with medium buckets –Same meals, same wines. Different labels, different reactions.
Mindless margin 100 – 200 less calories a day would prevent weight gain in most people We probably won’t miss these calories Cutting out favorite foods = bad idea Cutting down on how much we eat them is do-able
Mindless margin Strategy #1 – – Think 20% less when you start your meal, probably won’t miss it –For fruits and veggies = think 20% more
The forgotten food Study on chicken wings – clean plate, clean table, get more, eat more. Orange jumpsuits in prison = weight gain because they don’t notice 1 lb a week gain We eat the volume we want, not the calories Parisians stop eating when no longer hungry, not when plate or glass is empty
The forgotten food Strategy #2 – See all you eat –See it before you eat it –Put snack on separate plate and leave box in the kitchen –See it while you eat it –Leave empty glasses on table, leave food on plates without clearing food
Surveying the table-scape We consume more from bigger packages, whatever the product We think we get more from tall, skinny glasses than short, wide glasses Bigger bowls = bigger servings We eat more when there is variety
Surveying the table-scape Strategy #3 – Be your own table-scaper –Mini-size boxes and bowls –Use mid-size or small plates, rather than large –Think slender with glasses –People tend to pour 30% more into a wider glass than a slender one
Hidden persuaders around us Visibility – people will eat more candy from a clear dish than a white one Make healthy foods easy to see and less healthy foods harder to see Move candy dish further away, convenience = impulse
Hidden persuaders around us Strategy #4 – Make overeating a hassle, not a habit –Leave the serving dishes in the kitchen, put salad and veggies on table –Put tempting foods in the back of the cabinet or in a basement, inconvenient –Repackage jumbo sizes into smaller containers –Hide the extras from view –Reseal packages. Tape works better than a clip
Re-scripting your dinner Be the last to start eating Pace yourself with slowest eater Leave some food on your plate, helps avoid one more serving Think about how much you will eat before the meal Ask breadbasket to be taken away or other side of table
Re-scripting your dinner Pick two rule: appetizer, drink, dessert – pick only two Best part of a dessert is the first 2 bites Strategy #5 – Create distraction-free eating scripts –Distract yourself before you snack –Eat snacks in only one room –Dish out how much you want before you eat –Minimize distractions
The name game We taste what we think we will taste (strawberry vs. chocolate yogurt) Lemon jello with red food coloring, said it was cherry, no one suspected it Menu names and descriptions, lead to more appeal and tastier Presentation is key Brand loyalty
The name game Strategy #6 – Create expectations that make you a better cook –Add two-words that are descriptive to the name of the meal or food (Cajun, homemade, succulent) –Spend time on prepping the atmosphere – soft lights, soft music, tablecloth, nice glasses, etc.
In the mood for comfort food Comfort food connections are subconsciously formed Physical hungerEmotional hunger Strikes below neck (i.e. stomach growling) Above the neck (i.e. “taste” for ice cream) Occurs several hours after meal Unrelated to time Goes away when fullPersists despite fullness Eating leads to feeling of satisfaction Eating leads to guilt and shame
In the mood for comfort food Strategy #7 – Make comfort foods more comforting –Don’t deprive yourself –Keep comfort foods, but in smaller amounts. –Pair healthier foods with positive events. Celebrate with strawberries and a small bowl of ice creams rather than a chocolate brownie sundae.
Nutritional gatekeepers Gatekeepers controls food decisions Children start learning what they like and don’t like before 4 months old, due to cues and reactions by parents Use positive associations with foods to make children more likely to eat them
Nutritional gatekeepers Strategy #8 – Crown yourself as the official gatekeeper –Be a good marketer –Offer variety –Use the half-plate rule – half the plate should be veggies and fruits, the other half protein and starch –Put snacks in containers and hide extras
Fast-food fever Healthy restaurants = free reign? Reduced fat or low fat really better? 10-20 rule –Thin drinks = about 10 calories per ounce –Thick drinks = about 20 calories per ounce We underestimate the calories we drink by 30%
Fast-food fever Strategy # 9 – Portion size me –Healthy restaurants – not everything is always healthy, watch the extras –Think small, or share –Food companies could create packages with pause points – i.e. Every 7 th Pringle chip is colored a different color –Adding air or water can add volume but not calories
Mindlessly eating better Eating better means different things to different people Reengineer your food environment –Food trade-offs – I can eat X if I do Y, I can have popcorn at the movie, if I have a healthy salad for dinner, etc. –Food policies – No 2 nd helpings of X, never eat in front of the tv, only half-size desserts, etc.
Mindlessly eating better The power of three –Three small 100 calorie changes per day is do- able –Takes 28 days to break a habit –Keep a log or checklist, so you don’t forget The best diet is the one you don’t know you’re on