Better Choices, Better Results

OMG! It’s True!

I read a great article in the Nutrition Action Healthletter last week.  The subject:  How External Cues Make Us Overeat.   To read more about this publication, go to http://www.cspinet.org/nah/index.htm.

The point of this article was about how different external cues, such as the size of the container, the name of a food, how surrounding people eat and perception of a food’s “Health status” can make us eat more.

I found the information really interesting and I totally agreed with each point they made.

A few minutes ago, I went to our break room to fix up a little fruit and yogurt for my afternoon snack.  Fresh pineapple, strawberries and blackberries plus some fat-free, low-sugar vanilla yogurt.  Yum!  I was mindlessly* eating my food – not even half-way through with it and thought to myself, “I’m starting to get full.”

Then I looked at my bowl.  It’s a pretty decently sized bowl.  It’s what we had available. 

I had filled it up!

Why?

I wasn’t THAT hungry.  I’d eaten lunch only 2-3 hours earlier.

I had filled this bowl because it held that much.  Filling it only half-full wouldn’t have looked as appetizing and I wouldn’t have been visually satisfied. 

I had filled this bowl nearly full. I estimate that I had close to 2 cups of fruit and yogurt in here.

We’ve all heard this before.  Eat off smaller plates.  It’ll make your smaller (read: healthier) portions look like the huge portions we, as Americans, are used to getting.  I eat off smaller plates at home.  In fact, I started doing that a few years ago, and it’s a rare occasion that I pull out the larger plates.  I’ve even brought smaller plates to work to use.  Unfortunately, there were no small bowls available.

What does this tell me?  That if I don’t really pay attention to what I’m doing, I’ll overeat without even thinking about it!

I will be bringing in small bowls to use at work. 

Pay attention to how much you serve yourself and see if you fall into the same trap I fell into.

* Did you notice that I admitted to “mindless” eating?  That’s another no-no.  I’m sure I’d enjoy my food more if I actually took the time to appreciate its flavors and textures.

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