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Avoid Mindless Eating


Pamela Budhoo, Nutritionist, Health Influencer, Writer/Contributor for Effective Lifestyle

Mindless eating refers to consuming food without paying attention to how much or what is being eaten. We often overeat due to eating mindlessly. This of course can lead to weight gain,since we’re consuming unnecessary calories. External conditions like friends/family, electronics, packages and plates all play a significant role in eating mindlessly. Given these factors you’re more likely to eat faster without giving any thought to how much your eating. To avoid consuming food mindlessly follow these tips.

1. Slow Down

Do not inhale/swallow your food. After every bite, put down your fork or spoon. Chew and enjoy the food before picking up your utensil again. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to send a signal to the brain that you’re full. By taking your time, you will avoid over-eating.

2. Avoid Electronic Devices

Sitting in front of a TV or phone can distract from your food. You might pay more attention the show, hindering your ability to think about how much you’re eating and how fast. In some cases, giving your full attention to an electronic device can cause you to eat slower. Pay attention and learn how your body reacts.

3. Use Smaller Plates

People tend to finish 92% of the food they serve themselves. Big plates are likely to make your food portion look smaller, encouraging you to fill it up with more food. Using a smaller plate will limit the amount of food on your plate, allowing you to eat less.

4. Use Taller Glasses

Choose thin, tall glasses when drinking calorie dense beverages or alcohol. You will pour less liquid with this swap. To drink more water, choose shorter, wider glasses.

5. Avoid Eating from Large Packages

Do not eat directly from large food packages. There’s likely no stop cue which makes it easy to overeat. Pour out a portion of the food into a bowl/plate. Once you finish eating that amount, you know you’ve had enough.

6. Purchase Smaller Packages

Instead of purchasing large bags of chips, choose single serving bags. They’re easy to grab and go as well as being perfect for portion control.

7. Read Nutrition Label

Pay attention to the serving size on the nutrition label. Eat accordingly. Do not mindlessly consume food without knowing the appropriate information.

8. Eat Based on Inner Clock

Don’t rely on the time of day to tell you if you’re hungry. Doing so may cause you to eat more often than necessary. “Lunch time” does not mean eat now. If you’re not hungry, do not eat. Listen to your body and eat according to your own hunger signals.

9. Be Mindful of Dining Companions

Eating with groups of people can cause you to eat more. You might finish your meal with food still left on your plate. Because you’re waiting for everyone to finish, you may continuously pick and eat at your food even though you’re already full. You’re likely to also feel more pressed to consume a dessert that you otherwise wouldn’t eat.

Eating with people who tend to eat slower or less than you can be beneficial. These people can influence you to eat less and at a slower pace which will prevent overeating. If possible, sit next to a slow eater. Also, have the waiter take your plate once you’re done with the meal.

10. Keep Certain Foods Out of Sight

Put away “tempting/unhealthy” food/snacks. Seeing a bowl of candy on your kitchen table may encourage you to eat from it without realizing. Not seeing it will likely prevent mindless eating. Instead, fill the bowl with a healthier option like fruit.

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