Dr. Wansink is called a "food psychologist." From his lab at Cornell University, he conducts experiments into the factors that lead us to eat what we eat. And you'd think that we eat what we eat because it tastes good, right? Wrong!
In some of his crazy experiments, Dr. Wansink has uncovered the many misguided reasons we eat. Among them are these:
- The size and shape of a bowl can almost double the amount of food you eat.
- Restaurants can get you to eat more by describing their menu items with adjectives.
- You will eat more candy if you throw away the wrappers as you go along than if you let the wrappers pile up.
- If you have bread served with dipping oil rather than with butter, you'll consume less bread but more calories.
- Grocery store signs that read 3-for-$3 rather than $1/each can more than double our purchases.
These are just a few of the fascinating facts Dr. Wansink has confirmed with his research. How can you apply this information to your food consumption? "By encouraging healthy, mindful eating, we can decrease obesity," Wansink says. "A keen awareness of all these hidden persuaders is an important step in controlling the amount and quality of food you eat."
For me, "mindful eating" means this:
I will not eat straight from a package. If I want some crackers, I'll put some on a plate.
I will not eat something just because it's there. Most chocolate made in the U.S. tastes like wax. I've stopped eating my son's leftover Halloween candy. If I want chocolate, I'll eat just a little bit of really good chocolate.
I absolutely do not shop when I'm hungry. The temptations are just too overwhelming. I'll have a small, healthy snack before I go, even if I'm in a hurry.
If I eat while watching TV, I choose the snack beforehand and set it out on the coffee table. No trips to the kitchen during a show!
How about you? What does "mindful eating" mean for you?