Have you ever noticed the roles we play out with eating? I’m currently reading a new awesome book, titled “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think” by Brian Wansink, PhD.
Brian’s theory is that the majority of food signals we’re getting everyday to eat more (even when we’re satisfied), even to what type of food we crave, comes down to the media’s influence and the external factors around us. One of those would be roles we obtain while growing up in our families. For example, it’s a normal thing for the Dad to serve himself another portion of each dish to pass time while everyone is still eating their first. It almost goes down to a complex of being the Last One Eating. Another example would be routinely grabbing a bag of chips/popcorn/candy when you sit down and watch TV after work each day. Your mind begins to wander, you’re not interested in portion sizes, and once the *show* is done- that’s when you stop eating. Pretty soon, you’ve scarfed the whole bag of chips, box of cookies, and pan of pizza. You’re bloated, miserable, and gaining weight. Fun.
Then, I began to wonder what eating roles that I played 73 pounds ago. I definitely had a crazy relationship with carbs (which is now controlled, thanks to Shakeology) and refined sugars of all kinds. I could happily park at any dessert tray, birthday cake, apple pie for Thanksgiving, bread basket at a resturant.. and just consume and consume. Whenever we had a family meal, I secretly was trying to show my mom appreciate for the nice meal by eating second and third servings even though I was already satisfied, and then stuffed. When we’d go out to buffets, I felt it was my “job” to eat 5-6 platefuls to get “my money’s worth.” Looking back now, that all seems so stupid and unecessary. What’s the fun in eating delicious things and splurging on treats when you gorge yourself past full? Suddenly, the treat loses its value and it just like every other food out there and not something to look forward to.
I now have to remind myself to put down my iPhone while eating lunch (curse you, addicting Facebook app), not to bring my breakfast to my computer, and to eat my food more slowly so I can actually enjoy it instead of inhaling it. What a concept.
The book goes on to explain other external factors that cause us to eat more than we should or want to. The color of the food, our percieved enjoyment going into the meal, the atmosphere around us (eating in a big group verses being on a date), the smell of the food, the size of the plateware, the quality of the plateware, the name of the entree… things I never would’ve thought of, but make complete sense. I definitely recommend this!