Your Environment is Making You Fat?
What if I told you that the food decisions you make on a day to day basis are shaped by your surroundings. You’d probably tell me that I’m wrong and that you’re in complete control of your own mind and the choices you make.
Yes, some people have control but most of us don’t. Brian Wansink is a researcher that has devoted his life to this particular topic of how the environment can be your friend or your enemy when it comes to eating.
Here are a few examples of what he’s found over the years.
Bigger v Smaller Plates
People who ate of bigger plates on average consumed 22% more food than those using smaller plates. Also, people tended to serve themselves more food when the colour of their food matched the colour of their plate.
Change No1: Buy smaller plates and serve meals on plates that are different colour to the meal
Out of Site Out OF Mind
If you see it, you’ll eat it.
To illustrate this point, one study gave Secretaries chocolate sweets in covered bowls that were either clear, so they could see the sweets or solid, so they could not.
Those given clear bowls opened them to get candy 71% more often. They consumed an extra 100 calories per day on average, compared to the other group.
Scientists believe that seeing food pushes you to consciously decide whether to eat it. Seeing it more often increases the chances you’ll choose to eat the food.
Make this work in your favor by hiding tempting treats while keeping healthy and nutritious food visible.
Keep foods that tempt you to overeat out of sight. Switch the sweet bowl to a fruit bowl.
Do Not Stockpile
You’d swear the end of the world was near the way people shop for food. Try to buy only what is necessary. I hear this one all the time “I’m just buying all this food in case anybody visits”
Guess what? You end up eating most of that crap yourself anyway. The more that’s there, the more you will eat. Fact.
Try to get in the habit of only buying what is necessary.
Be Careful Who You Dine With
This is a tricky one because eating out is a great way to socialise with friends. However, studies have shown that when you are with 1 other person you’ll eat 35% more, with a group of 4 it’s 75% more and with 7 or more it’s 96% more!
Be careful next time you’re in a group. I’m not saying don’t eat with friends but what I am saying is be aware of falling into the trap of just eating for the sake of eating.
Be mindful when in groups as you will over consume unneeded calories.
Your Stomach Can’t Count
Have you ever been munching away at a packet of biscuits or box of sweets and suddenly realise you haven’t a clue how many you just ate?
There was 1 study where one group of people ate chicken wings and their bones were kept in front of them. In the other group, people’s plates were cleared every 15 minutes.
Guess who ate more? The group that had their plates cleared. The first group could see what they ate and tended to eat less.
Keep a visual. Use your eyes not your stomach to be the judge of food you’ve ate.
We have to make over 200 food-based decisions a day. Willpower only lasts so long before we fold. Anybody that tells you that will power is the way to avoid overeating it’s probably because it’s the way they do it. But these people are the minority. I personally am totally and environmental grubber, if I see it I usually eat it.
If you can master your environment you are well on your way to success.
Hope this helps.