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    Five Tips for Mindful Eating

    Five Tips for Mindful Eating
    By Psych Central Staff
    December 18, 2008

    As we approach yet another holiday, many of us will be engaging in more mindless eating ? eating simply because food is put in front of us, or we feel like it would be rude if we didn?t eat something. And while indeed eating can be part of a social activity or tradition, that doesn?t mean you need to check your common sense at the door.

    Last year, researcher Dr. Brian Wansink published a book entitled, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think which isn?t a diet book so much as a book that explains why we approach food the way we do (through engaging descriptions of interesting studies), and what we can do about it. Dr. Wansink is the director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, and brings his years of research experience to bear on helping us reduce our poor eating habits.

    One of the core components of mindful eating is simply becoming more aware of the simple activity of eating itself. We so often eat while doing other things ? watching TV, socializing, reading a book ? that we aren?t paying much attention to our actual consumption. Which is a big part of the problem, since if we don?t know how much we?re eating, we can?t reasonably expect to cut back. Here are five tips of Dr. Wansink?s to help you become a more mindful eater:

    1. You?re eating more than you think.
    Most people greatly underestimate how much food, and therefore how many calories, they?re actually consuming. Dr. Wansink points out the example of eating at Subway versus McDonald?s. People who eat at Subway think they?re eating healthier (based upon Subway?s marketing), but often add condiments, cheese or other items to their sandwich to make them just as unhealthy as a Big Mac. According to Dr. Wansink, if you double the number of calories you think you?ve eaten, you?ll probably have a number closer to the reality of your actual calorie intake.

    2. Eating alone means eating less.
    Even though eating is so often a social activity we engage in with our family, friends and coworkers, Dr. Wansink?s research shows that we tend to eat one-third more when with others than when we eat alone. That?s the nature of social activities ? we tend to talk more, linger longer, and focus less on the joint activity itself, such as eating.

    3. Take what you?re eating out of the bag.
    People eat more when they just eat directly from the bag. Whether it?s a bag of cookies, potato chips or candy, according to Dr. Wansink?s research, you?ll double the amount you eat if you just rip that bag open and start gobbling. You can?t really tell how much you?ve eaten if you just keep nibbling away from an endless bag of food. Instead, pour a recommended serving size into a bowl or on a plate, then put the bag away. Eat only what you pour out, and try to resist going back for seconds. (This also works for supersized orders of french fries that you didn?t want but came with the meal ? pour out a reasonable portion and throw the rest away.)

    4. Presentation matters.
    If it makes sense to pour food out of its bag, it also makes sense that what you pour it onto might make a difference into how much you eat. Size matters, and the bigger the plate, the more you?ll eat. Put things on a smaller plate, and your brain resets its expectations of a normal portion size and will eat accordingly (and in most cases, you?ll still feel just as full). That?s why when you go to most American restaurants, they serve food on oversized plates, encouraging you to overeat (and feel stuffed). Even if you don?t normally eat so much food, the bigger plate signals this is the ?normal? portion size for this meal and you may feel guilty if you leave something on the plate (or need a doggy bag).

    5. Keep reminders of how much you?ve eaten or drunk.
    In some situations, we?re presented with the opportunity to engage in ?endless eating? (or drinking). Parties, buffets, banquets, or just hanging out can put us in a situation where we could eat as much as we want ? and even more than we mean to. But there?s a simple trick to keeping track of how much you?re eating or drinking in such situations.

    Dr. Wansink found that when waitresses would clear the bones from eaten buffalo wings from a table, the table ate more than when the bones were left on the table. The bones reminded people how much they?ve already eaten, helping them to keep to reasonable portions (rather than partaking of ?endless eating? behavior). So don?t let a waitress clear your plate if you want to be ?done.? And if you?re drinking at a party, you can keep track of the number of drinks you?ve had by keeping bottle caps in your pocket, or the little paper umbrellas (or toothpicks) common to a cocktail.

    One last tip ? don?t eat just because food is left out in front of you. Just because a plate of cookies is sitting on the counter isn?t an invitation to gobble them down while you chit-chat in the kitchen. Feel free to ask to move the plate if the temptation is simply too great (out of sight, out of mind!).

    Check out your own mindless eating with the Mindless Eating Meter, and keep up with Dr. Wansink?s efforts at his blog.

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    Re: Five Tips for Mindful Eating

    Just because a plate of cookies is sitting on the counter isn’t an invitation to gobble them down while you chit-chat in the kitchen. Feel free to ask to move the plate if the temptation is simply too great (out of sight, out of mind!).
    Or throw the cookies in the freezer and eat them next year
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

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    Re: Five Tips for Mindful Eating



    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

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    Re: Five Tips for Mindful Eating

    7 Diet Tricks that Really Work: Change your environment
    LiveScience.com

    A new finding from researchers at Cornell University suggests that the secret to a successful diet can lie in changing your surroundings. Whether this involves using smaller plates, keeping "seconds" out of immediate reach, or hiding the chocolate, altering the food environment helps people lose more weight than trying to change eating habits or food choices, the researchers found.

    "These types of changes are much easier to follow than saying you will eat smaller meals, substitute fruit for sweets, or give up chocolate and French fries," said Brian Wansink, the study's lead researcher and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Bantam, 2007), in a statement.

    And changes that are followed consistently can make a real impact on a person's weight, Wansink said.

    The study was presented at the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif.
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

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    Re: Five Tips for Mindful Eating

    A top Cornell food researcher has had 15 studies retracted. That's a lot. - Vox
    Oct 24, 2018

    ...In all, 15 of Wansink’s studies have now been retracted, including the six pulled from JAMA in September. Among them: studies suggesting people who grocery shop hungry buy more calories; that preordering lunch can help you choose healthier food; and that serving people out of large bowls encourage them to serve themselves larger portions.

    In a press release, JAMA said Cornell couldn’t “provide assurances regarding the scientific validity of the 6 studies” because they didn’t have access to Wansink’s original data. So, Wansink’s ideas aren’t necessarily wrong, but he didn’t provide credible evidence for them.

    According to the Cornell provost, Wansink’s academic misconduct included “the misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship.”

    But this story is a lot bigger than any single researcher. It’s important because it helps shine a light on persistent problems in science that have existed in labs across the world, problems that science reformers are increasingly calling for action on...



    Cornell Food Researcher Brian Wansink's Downfall Raises Larger Questions For Science -- NPR
    September 26, 2018

    ...Despite the questions surrounding Wansink's work and the unraveling of his academic career, some of his findings — such as the suggestion to use smaller bowls — can be useful to people with healthy relationships with food, says Jean Fain, a psychotherapist affiliated with Harvard Medical School who has contributed to NPR on dieting topics in the past.

    But, she adds, "they can be dangerous to people with diagnosable eating disorders, who, in following Wansink's advice to a T, are more apt to ignore their internal experience of hunger and fullness, satisfaction and nourishment, and focus exclusively on externals, like plate and portion size."

    "We can't simply reduce our portion sizes and stop overeating," she says. "In fact, restricting food in the short-term is one of the best ways to predict out-of-control eating in the future."
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

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    Re: Five Tips for Mindful Eating

    Having weevils in your rice is also a compelling invitation to be mindful whilst eating it, but that's not a technique that I'd recommend using regularly.

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    Re: Five Tips for Mindful Eating

    Let Gwyneth Paltrow know so she can put weevils in her online catalog.
    “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.” ~ Rumi

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