Have you ever eaten your way through a pint of ice cream or a bag of chips without realizing it? In today’s world of distractions, it’s easy to eat more food than our bodies are asking for. Here’s why this happens, and what you can do to prevent it.
The Dangers of Distracted Eating
In 2005, Brian Wansick, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, performed an eye-opening experiment. He studied two groups of people as they ate a bowl of soup. One group was given an ordinary bowl. The other was unknowingly given a bowl that automatically refilled itself. The people who ate from the refilling bowl ended up eating 73% more than those with a normal bowl.
But it gets even more interesting. When the participants were surveyed after eating, the people who used the refillable bowls did not believe they ate more soup. They also did not perceive themselves as feeling more satiated.
This experiment highlights the dangers of relying on visual cues to determine when we are full. Because we are paying attention to what is going on outside of us (how full a bowl is, how much we think we’ve already eaten), we lose track of our internal cues (what our bodies actually need).
In a distracted environment, we rely on visual cues even more than normal. Whether it’s eating popcorn at a movie theater or sitting down in front of the TV for dinner, we’re more likely to overeat when distracted because we are not paying attention to our food intake and satiety levels.
The solution to distracted overeating? Eating mindfully.
5 Ways to Use Mindful Eating
When we eat mindfully (paying attention to our body’s cues and eating only until we are full), we are less likely to give our bodies more fuel than needed. Here are a few changes you can make to eat more mindfully.
- Slow down when eating: When we feel full, it’s because of a hormone called Leptin. Leptin is released from our fat cells as we eat, a process that can take up to 20 minutes. If you finish your plate in five minutes, you may still feel hungry and be tempted to go back for seconds. Slow down to give your body a chance to tell you that it’s full.
- Enjoy your food: Sit back and pay attention to the flavors and textures in your meal. Finish one bite before starting another. The more you experience your food, the more satisfied you’ll feel.
- Use smaller plates: Break the habit of over-serving yourself by using smaller plates.
- Remove distractions: When you sit down to dinner, turn off the TV, put down the phone, and pay attention to your food. Doing so gives you the chance to recognize subtle cues that tell you you’re full.
- Take your Balance: Unicity Balance contains a patented blend of phytosterols, policosanol, Chrysanthemum morifolium, vitamins, and minerals. Altogether, these components help you feel more sated.
Your Next Steps
Staying mindful while we eat allows us to be more in tune with our bodies. By really paying attention to what you need, you’ll be much less likely to overeat. We’d like to challenge you to be more mindful while eating all of your meals. Follow the five steps above for every meal (including your morning shake) to break the habit of distracted eating.