Tag Archives: mindless eating

To Lose Weight, “Be Present” (vs. Distracted) During Mealtime

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

Want to feel more satisfied after meals? You can, if you put your mind to it.

Eating mindfully, which can mean everything from simply noticing what you’re putting in your mouth to practicing stress reduction techniques to help end stress eating, can really help. When you become a more mindful eater, you savor, enjoy, and remember fondly each bite and sip of your meal. The end result: You’ll feel more satisfied and less likely to rummage around for more food.

mindful eating

In a recent University of Southern California review of 21 mindful eating studies, 18 of them helped improve in eating habits, cut calorie intake, and reduced bingeing.

There are entire books on the subject, so I won’t attempt to cover every aspect. Instead, here are my top five strategies; they work for me—and have helped people who’ve come to me for nutritional counseling.

  • Identify why you’re eating or drinking. Is it because you’re actually hungry? (Rating your hunger for a week can be an eye-opener.) Or are you eating because you’re bored, stressed, or have another emotional trigger? Is it just habit (as in “I always have a 3 p.m. snack.)? Name the reason without judgment or guilt; these negative emotions can stress you out, driving you to overeat even more. (more…)

What NOT to Do When Dining Out, from a Guy Who’s Lost Over 100 Pounds

Eli Caro RT smiling hands on waist

You would think that after losing over 100 pounds, getting in the best shape of my life, maintaining it for 5 years. becoming a weight loss coach, motivational speaker and published author on the book “Fat Boy to Fit Man: A One Step at a Time Story of Success“, that it would be easy for me not to revert to old habits, right? WRONG!

Although it has become some what easier for me than when I first started on this journey, there are still times that I fall prey to the desires of wanting to eat mindlessly. (Eat mindlessly. HA! Who am i kidding? Pigging out is really what I want to do sometimes.)

Just last weekend, my fiancee and I went out to meet some friends for brunch.  That morning I had gone to the gym and done an intense work out. Shortly after I arrived home and showered we left for our Sunday brunch.  I was STARVING, yet I didn’t eat anything post work out because I reasoned that I was going to have a nice meal at brunch. BIG MISTAKE!  Before we even got to the restaurant, my stomach was growling and I was about to chew my fiancee’s arm off! (Ok, I’m exaggerating. I was just going to nibble on her ear!)

Hungry or Bored: Is Your Eating Emotional or Essential?

Hunger:

1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
2. a severe lack of food
3. a strong desire or craving

Those are the dictionary definitions of hunger. But what does hunger really mean? If you break hunger down to the most basic definition, what is it?

plate and utensils

A medical definition states that hunger is “an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach.”

We’ve determined hunger is the contraction and churning of an empty stomach. Now when was the last time your stomach was truly empty? Claims vary on just how long a healthy, well-nourished person can survive without food; usually it’s somewhere in the area of three to ten weeks. However, the feeling of hunger usually happens after just a few hours of not eating.

Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, R.D., recommends using the Hunger-Fullness scale to determine how hungry you are. The scale goes from one to ten, with one being extremely hungry and ten being extremely full. “It’s best to train yourself to eat at 2.5-3.0 and stop at 7.5-8.0, and then get hungry again in 4-5 hours.” (more…)

Find the Right Diet for Your Personality in “Who Are You Meant To Be”

Every year, more new diets pop up claiming to be revolutionary and suitable for everyone. And every year, millions try them out, hoping that they’ll finally find the solution to losing weight.

Dr. Anne Dranitsaris, PhD and Heather Dranitsaris-Hilliard believe that this model is not how weight loss should be approached. In their new book, Who Are You Meant to Be?, released January 1, 2013, they outline how an individual’s personality affects their behavior and, in turn, their dieting styles.

“We’re looking at [dieting] through a different lens than most. What is it that’s driving our behaviors? Why do we people behave like we do around food?” said Dranitsaris-Hilliard.

The mother-and-daughter team’s book is not a diet guide, but it may be applied toward eating styles as part of an integrated look at human behavior. Through their research, they have identified eight different “striving styles” and find most individuals fall under one of these. (more…)

Bob Greene’s 5 Dangers of Nighttime Eating

By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com

When is a calorie not a calorie? Many experts argue whether you eat 300 calories in the morning or in the evening, it’s still 300 calories. This may be true in a physiological sense, but as you are no doubt aware, losing weight is about more than just calories in and calories out.

In my experience helping people lose weight, I’ve seen first-hand how dangerous nighttime calories can be. That’s why one of my Best Life guidelines (one that I’m a stickler about) is to stop eating at least two hours before bed. Here’s why I’m a strong supporter of a nighttime eating cutoff:

1. You miss the opportunity to burn off extra calories at night. If you overeat during the day, you have a chance to be more active in the ensuing hours (when you’re more likely to have the energy to do it) and burn off those extra calories. At night, as your body prepares for sleep, you don’t get this chance.

2. Evening hours are a danger zone for dieters. A lot of mindless eating happens at night. In front of the TV, after a long, stressful day at work, many of us just want to check out as we fill up. That’s a sure-fire recipe for disaster. One of our bloggers struggled with this problem, until she tried the eating cutoff. (more…)

Switch Hands During Meals or Snacks to Prevent Mindless Eating

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

Have you ever sat in front of the TV with a full pint of ice cream and before you know it your spoon is scraping the bottom of the container, yet you have no memory of tasting beyond the first five bites? Or, how about that full bowl of popcorn that you were just going to have a few nibbles of, why is there nothing but salt and butter residue on the bottom of the bowl? How did it happen? How did you go from knowingly consuming a few bites to unknowingly finishing the entire thing? This, my friends, is mindless eating. Mindless eating is one of the biggest dietary pitfalls that keeps you trapped in an unhealthy relationship with food and your body.

Mindless eating happens for a variety of reasons, from eating out of boredom to eating out of sadness. The eating functions to block an uncomfortable emotion and as its name suggests it happens without any awareness at all, it is of course, mind-less.

Mindless eating is best addressed with a good healthy dose of mindfulness. Bringing a sense of mindfulness to all instances of eating can literally stop the compulsion in its tracks. Geneen Roth, New York Times Bestselling author and weight loss guru, says it best, “Awareness and compulsion cannot coexist.” As we begin to tap into awareness, or mindfulness, eating compulsion can begin to subside.

As it turns out, tapping into mindfulness can be as simple as the ‘ol switch-a-roo. (more…)

Prepare Your Home For Weight Loss Room by Room

I love the heat of summer, so although there is much to love about fall – football, cider, pumpkins, boots, etc. – I cannot say I look forward to fall. I certainly relish it once it arrives though, because fall also brings tailgating, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and the promise of Christmas parties. It can be a dangerous season for dieting, especially combined with more inclement weather which tempts us to stay inside and inactive. At the advent of the autumn season, I encourage you to prepare your home to help you meet your weight loss goals throughout the cooler months when you will likely be spending more time inside.

Kitchen: Clean out the pantry and fridge, eliminating temptations. Place the healthiest options within sight and easy reach. Take the fruit out of the crisper and put it on the top shelf or on the counter. Make it easy to grab smaller plates, bowls, and flatware. According to Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, when we choose a 12-inch plate over a 10-inch plate we are likely to eat up to 22 percent more, we eat up to 14 percent more using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, and we will fill a shorter, wider cup 30 percent more than a taller, thinner cup.

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The 3 Most Important Habits to Break if You Want to Lose Weight

Rebecca Wilson practices cognitive & mindfulness-based therapies and researches health psychology and behavior change. Her website, habitspark.com, focuses on how to use positive habits to create healthy and happy lifestyles.

First of all, what exactly is a habit? A habit is a behavior that you do so regularly that it becomes almost automatic. Although many habits are good, like brushing your teeth, some habits are devastating to a healthy lifestyle and weight control. Here are the 3 worst habits and how to break them:

Bad Habit #1: Eating mindlessly. Eating on the run, eating without paying attention to your hunger signals, and eating to escape painful feelings.

Break It: Replace eating mindlessly with eating mindfully. Eat at a dining table and make sure you aren’t doing anything else while you are eating. Before you start eating, notice your hunger level. As you eat, pay attention to your senses: the taste of the food, the feel of it, the smell, and how it looks.

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5 Strategies for Beating Mindless Eating

Whether you’re at your computer chomping on a bag of pretzels or watching television shoveling spoonful after spoonful of ice cream into your mouth, mindless munching is one surefire way to pack on the pounds. In fact, just mindlessly eating 100 calories a day, the equivalent of a large apple or a palmful of almonds, can lead to gaining up to 10 pounds in a year.

To prevent this mindless eating weight gain, put into practice these five ways to beat unintentional extra calories.

1. Never get too hungry. The more powerful your stomach growls, the more likely you are to ravenously consume a surge of calories before your body and brain can register that you’ve had enough. Therefore, aim to eat every three to four hours with meals and snacks comprised of healthy carbs, good fats and a lean protein.

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Child Weight Gain Linked to Video Games

As you might suspect, if children play videos games to excess, they may be more apt to being overweight. The logical conclusion would be that it’s because they are sitting on their keesters and not outside breaking a sweat in the front yard with their friends.

While that might be true to some extent, the focus of new research is on what they put in their mouth while they are in the midst of their video game playing. According to new research, adolescent boys will eat more when they are playing video games, even if they aren’t hungry- the definition of mindless eating.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, makes a direct link between kids’ gaming habits and overeating.

Lead researcher Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada and his colleagues had 22 normal-weight teenage boys play video games for an hour. They also had some kids just sit for an hour. In each situation, they watched the children eat their lunch. (more…)