Today, we are focusing on eating with our stomachs and not with our eyes. Here is a truism I want you to memorize:
Skinny people eat with their stomachs, overweight people eat with their eyes.
What does this mean? Researches have found that skinny people are more likely to stop eating when they feel full, while overweight people stop eating when their plate is empty. In other words, skinny people listen to their bodies while they eat. Overweight people, especially those of us in North America, eat with their eyes. They finish when their plate is empty.
This research article describes several scenarios which put the empty plate theory to the test. It explains how environmental factors do in fact influence how much we eat. What it boils down to is mindless diet heuristics cause you to load up your plate and then the same mindless activity means you finish everything thats on it.
Starting today begin to train your mind to listen to your stomach while you eat. Here are some ideas on how to do this:
- Implement a 20-30 pause between mouthfuls. Eating slower will give your stomach time to send the signal to your brain that it is full. Eating slowly takes a deliberate and conscious effort but is likely the best method to begin curbing how much you eat.
- Down a large glass of water or diet soda right before every meal. I am not a big fan of diet soda but guzzling 16 ounces of it before sitting down to eat will cause your stomach to complain once you start over eating. We want our stomachs to play a part in this process and getting it to complain early will help.
- Realize that you may be mimicking those around you. Children of obese parents tend to be obese because they observe and adapt to how their parents act. We adults do the same thing subconsciously when we dine with others. If those around us are gorging themselves this sends a silent signal to our brain saying “It is OK to go nuts. Everyone else is doing it!”
- Serve your meals on smaller plates. Trick your eyes into thinking you have a lot of food.
- Consider eating off of bright red dish ware. Another way to trick your eyes is to make your food uncomfortable to look at. A bright red stop sign should remind you of what you are doing can be ‘alarming’
- When full stand-up and get away from your plate as fast as possible. Grab a piece of chewing gum and put the memory of the meal far behind you. Sitting down looking at food means you will likely resume eating with your eyes.
Eating with your eyes is a bad thing especially if you want to lose weight. Think about this over the course of the day. How often are you caught looking at food and yet still blind to what you eat?
For more tips and tricks read: The Diet for a Busy Life by Phillip Gerard.