I spent a good portion of the day yesterday reading “Mindless Eating” by Brian Wansink. It’s a good read and a wonderful alternative to the many diet plans that exist today. I thought I’d share a few of the high points of the book.
- Over 95% of people who lose weight on a diet gain it back.
- When on a diet, our bodies and minds fight us. Deprivation diets that cut daily intake from 2000 calories to 1200 calories a day are stressful and can slow down our metabolism. But the body doesn’t really notice a smaller reduction of 100 or 200 calories per day.
- In order to reduce our calories by 100 to 200 per day, we need to re-engineer our personal environment and set up either “tradeoffs” or “policies” that work for us.
An example of a “tradeoff” would be the following: “no potato chips unless I exercise today.”
An example of a “policy” would be the following: “I don’t eat second helpings of any starch. If I want a second helping it has got to be fruits or vegetables.”
- The author suggests that you pick 3 policies or tradeoffs that you are sure you can follow each day and try to lose weight slowly as in .5 lbs. per week. This can lay the foundation for long term habits that can help someone lose 24 lbs. over a year and keep the weight off.
Here’s some more food for thought.
- We consume more from large packages.
- Increasing the variety of foods increases how much everyone eats.
- Simply thinking of food can make us hungry. When we think of food, the pancreas starts to secrete insulin which lowers our blood sugar level and makes us hungry.
- The more hassle it is to eat (like pomegranate seeds or a whole artichoke), the less we eat.
- The longer we sit at a table, the more food we are likely to eat.
- If we eat with one other person, we are likely to eat 35% more food. If we eat with a group of 7 or more, we will generally eat 96% more than when we are alone.
- The best part of a dessert is the first two bites.
There is lots of blame to go around for our “obesigenic” environment. But on the other hand, with more than 200 daily decisions that most of us make about food, constantly tracking every bite might work for the short term but can grind most of us down for the longer term. The gist of this book is an effort to get readers to go from mindless overeating to mindless better eating. Wansink states that “the best diet is the one you don’t know you are on.” I highly recommend this book to anyone trying to lose weight. If you don’t buy the book, at least go to his website which is www.mindlesseating.org.