Monday, July 9, 2012

Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, PhD.

After reading about Mindless Eating on The Rich Life (On A Budget), I immediately put it on hold at the library. She mentioned as part of her weight loss journey. I was impressed by her results and how she said the book helped her shed pounds regardless of how she was eating. Mindless Eating is not your typical weight loss/ diet book. It also appealed to my love of research.
First off there are no recipes, no tips on how to lighten your meals, no encouraging stories of people who have lost hundreds of pounds. What there is a lot of research about why you eat, how you eat and how you can control what you eat. You might think you are in complete control of everything thing that you eat but you probably aren't. Advertising, smells, colors, other people affect what you eat. I buy Cheetos a couple of times a month. I "buy them for Jeff". When he comes over he likes to snack on chips especially Cheetos. But in reality I buy them for me. I like Cheetos but I want to feel like a good hostess so I make sure I have Jeff's "favorite" snack on hand. I bought these Applegate hot dogs based on advertising. We all buy things based on other factors besides hunger and good nutrition.
Here are some "tips" I learned from Mindless Eating:

  • Use salad or dessert plates for your meals. The smaller plate will make your meal appear larger.
  • Resign from the clean plate club. Try to leave a little behind from each meal.
  • Plate your meals and leave the leftovers in the kitchen. No serving meals family style.
  • Move snacks away from you. If you can reach it, it'll be easier to eat. When candy dishes were moved six feet away from office workers, people ate less.
  • Similarly, find ways to create a pause before you eat. It might deter you from eating or eating too much.
  • Wait 20 minutes before getting that second helping. It takes that long for our stomachs to signal to our brains that we're full. 
I also especially loved the chapter on eating out and the study on Subway. Just because Subway seems healthy doesn't mean that you can eat 2 footlong sandwiches and lose weight.
Mindless Eating doesn't promise to help you lose a lot. But by making some small changes this book can help you lose 10-30 lbs less a year. I really enjoyed learning how I am affected by so many outside factors. I've adopted some habits. I've been doing the salad plate trick for years and recently stopped serving food family style. I'm going to create more pauses in my snacking and find healthier snacks to serve my friends :) Regardless where you are on your weight loss journey, I think you will learn something new and find ways to make small changes that will help you in the long run. Others who shared their thoughts on Mindless Eating: Mark Larson, Our Fight Now, Watermarked One, and Deligted.


  1. Sounds like an interesting and helpful book. I have learned to put food out of sight. If I leave it on the counter, I'll nibble on it every time I pass by.

  2. Honestly, I learned so much about myself just by reading your post!! My husband and I are both on a quest to get healthy and we've really had to stop and analyze our eating habits. It's amazing how much we are influenced by media, smells, and our surroundings. This sounds like a book I need to investigate!!!


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