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Mindless Eating ~ Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 4

Fad diets don't work. So what does? The secret to losing weight is to deal with the psychological matters that make us overeat. With this proper plan, based on tackling the psychology of eating, you can lose 10 to 20 pounds a year if not more.

LOSING WEIGHT WITH THE SHERLOCK HOLMES OF FOOD

According to Brian Wansink, in his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,

we have more than 200 either conscious or subconscious thoughts about food or eating EVERY SINGLE DAY. Brian Wansink who is director of the Cornell University Food and Brand lab and is often called "the Sherlock Holmes of Food" looks at the subtle influences in our life that cause us to overeat. Dr Wansink has conducted over 250 studies, written over 100 research articles and been asked to speak in dozens of countries on the matter of overeating.

He jokes that "DIET" is "DIE" with a "T" on the end. But his method is about eating without feeling guilty and learning to whole-heartedly enjoy food without thinking of the calories or fat content. Food should be a great pleasure in life and why should we have to compromise it by a diet? And most diets just do not work. Have you ever been on a diet? Did you eventually put the weight on again? Did you feel like you were making a great sacrifice? Did it make you miserable?

As he puts it:

"THE BEST DIET IS THE ONE WE DON'T KNOW WE ARE ON"

WE EAT WHAT IS AROUND US

Wansink starts by saying that we eat what is around us. So we might eat because of family and friends who are eating, because of enticing labels on food, because the food is just there in front of you, it's easily available in the supermarket, cinema, gas station, florist, post office...you name it. We eat because we can smell it, see it in bright colors, see it brightly lit up in lights, in sales stickers: food is everywhere. And we are not smart enough not to be tricked by these hundreds of temptations around us every day.

Most of us think we know why we overeat (greed, hunger, laziness, boredom, emotional eating) but there are far more subtle mind games at play. We are tricked by labels, plates, fancy colors. We might think we're not - we might think other people are victims, not us, but we are being tricked just as much as anyone else.

Every time we see some food, we make a decision: open the cupboard door in the morning: bagel or croissant? Breakfast or no breakfast? A whole bowl of cereal or just half? Apple or yoghurt. Eat something at home or grab a McDonalds drive-in on the way to work?

WHY DO WE LIKE TO FINISH OUR PLATES?

Did you ever scrape out and eat up the final piece of birthday cake even though it had gone stale and tasted more like cardboard than chocolate? Did you ever finish up the bargain bucket of KFC though you were almost sick with fullness? Ever wondered why you do this? We do this because there are signals and subconscious messages all around us telling us to eat. Our stomach's do not tell us straight away that we are full. So we look for other signals that we 'should be full'. For example, when the plate is empty, we can now stop eating. Or when the lights go off in the dining room and everyone leaves the table, then it's a sign that dinner and eating time is done.

STALE POPCORN EXPERIMENT

"Mindless Eating" talks about an experiment they did when they gave away a free bucket of popcorn with a free cinema ticket to a Mel Gibson movie. Here's the catch: the popcorn was STALE. But not matter how hungry the movie-goers were, if they had just had dinner, or if they also bought a hot dog, big box of nachos and a large coke for the movie, most of them would eat the popcorn. Plus, those people who were given an extra large bucket of popcorn would eat more than the ones who were only given a medium-sized bucket even though the large bucket was so big that would be near impossible to finish it. That's one form of attack when it comes to combating mindless eating. Switch large containers for small containers, or large plates for small plates.

In another study, he labeled some wine as from "North Dakota" and the other label was called wine from "California". The bottles contained exactly the same wine. However, the restaurant goers did not like the concept of wine from North Dakota and they drank less than the ones who assumed the wine was from California vine.

THE MINDFUL EATING DIET

"Mindless Eating" looks at some popular diets such as the South Beach diet and weighs up the pros and cons, and then sets a simple, easy-to-follow mindful eating diet. It's about re-engineering the hidden 'persuaders' that cause us to eat when we don't actually want to. The great thing is that the mindful eating diet program can be combined with other diets should you choose.

There are more compelling customer reviews for Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think on Amazon.com

SO WHY DOES THIS REVIEW RECOMMEND MINDLESS EATING?

  • It's filled with practical suggestions in an easy-to-read form
  • It works...unlike so many other diets
  • The book uses proper studies to convince you
  • It will change the way you think about food

WHAT'S NOT GOOD ABOUT THIS BOOK?

  • The truth is that I can't think of any reason why I would not recommend this healthy eating book to you if you want to lose weight and get healthy. I guess there isn't an actual meal plan/exercise plan in this book but that is not the point at all. Dr Wansink believes that restrictive diets don't work ~ you have to understand the underlying psychology of eating ~ and after reading this book, you would have to agree with him

Here's to a healthy you


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Comments

Jan 6, 2011 2:23pm
Introspective
Interesting take on weight loss. I agree with the notion that restrictive diets don't work in the long run; if you want a permanent change, you must change your lifestyle. Nice article LLL.
Jan 6, 2011 8:15pm
LouisLovesLouis
thanks Introspective!!
Jan 7, 2011 10:12pm
bayoulady
You got me! Just before I started reading your article, I picked up a stale pretzel on my end table and ate it without even thinking. It was THERE.
Jan 8, 2011 5:03am
LouisLovesLouis
Hi Bayoulady. Tell me about it!! I think about it all the time now. Like this morning - I poured out my cereal and noticed there wasn't "that much left" in the box so I poured the rest of it out into the bowl. THERE. Actually I don't think I really mentioned in my article how funny the book is - the experiments would actually make you laugh!
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