Today I read an interesting article today about how the consumption of food that we eat is based on more then just the supermarket advertising.
While supermarkets continue to encourage you to by the most profitable and often the worst for you ingredients, they can even manipulate you into buying the unhealthier option over the healthier even when they are paired side by side and both on sale. Sow hat else really gets us edging toward the ‘not so good for me’ food choices?
We are exposed to over 200 food choices a day, whether that be an obvious decision based on what to order for lunch or a subconscious one when we see an add and make a mental note to go and try the new subway 6inch. So it is not surprising that sometimes, given the right moment, mental state and even distraction, we opt for the not so good for you choices even without thinking about it.
We have all heard of being emotion eaters. For women their hormones, that time of the month can be huge diet wreckers. Not to mention stress, anger, happiness and relaxation can all play a part. How often do you head out with friends to say you will only have one drink, but all of a sudden the happiness of the end of a good work week, friends and enjoyment override us to consuming the bottle instead. Not only that but that wine then leads to the munchies and often the deep fried, crispy and filling bar snacks are the best option.. and probably the only option. A good day of healthy eating, ruined.
Then there is the emotional break up, where you were so strong and never ate the valentines day chocolates he gave you to make sure you remaining looking trim, tort and terrific.. but now they have been demolished, sorry inhaled.. you didn’t even taste them.. and they were your favorite. So the night of healthy eating has been ruined now, might as well get take out?
We have all been there to some point whatever that trigger and that’s okay, as always said its how you pick yourself back up and try again that matters, and that means waking up int he morning back to routine, plenty of water, no meals skipped and go punch out your anger on a punching bag, or blast some tunes in your ears with a jog.
These are some issues though that are not as frequent, it is the other almost daily occurrences that can have that lasting affect. And if your aware of them, may just be the answer about how to trim those last kgs!
Plate settings – We have been told for a long time that if you have smaller plates you will eat less. Its also the color of dinning ware, and of course location fo where you choose to eat that can encourage you to fill your plate up with more food. Sitting in front of a TV, computer etc can cause your mind to shut off from what its doing, that being eating, so you don’t have a chance to acknowledge your eating and feel full often the killer for wanting seconds or dessert. We have also known this for a long time. But think about this; which would seem like a busier plate, a plate fresh clean white one, or a patterned, bright, maybe Aztec design? We have been stocking out shelves with clean crisp crockery for years as it looks better and often that steak on that huge plate in the restaurant no longer seems like a 300g’er does it? This is where the mind plays tricks! Studies have even shown that those that eat spaghetti on a red plate will eat up to 20% less then those that eat on a white plate. It’s the color contrast! Your mind wants to fill the gaps. So a combination of eating at a table and focusing on our meal, a smaller plate and some funky dinnerware may be worth a kitchen restock?
Ambiance – Restaurant owners have been on this for years, they know that they can manipulate us into what we feel, eat and our overall experience. When we go to fine dinning often the lighting is set low, soothing music and overall a pleasant feel, but this is where they have gotten it wrong.. or right.. This calming scene encourages us to slow down, consider our surroundings, the person we are with, we are less likely to be distracted by our phones and allows us to focus on our food. These combined encourage our brain to notice when we are full, take more time eating our meal and feel overall satisfied with it. We are more likely to take our time over the menu and consider our choices and not be overwhelmed as well as less inclined to stay for dessert, even if the experience was great. However thinking on the restaurant side, perhaps that is the point, have you ever noticed the vast size difference from a 5 star to a pub meal? If you got the 5 star in a pub meal you would be severely peeved, no matter what the price, but in fine dinning not an eyelid is batted at this. All fast food joints are busy, loud, bright and full of energy (this is how children feel down the lolly isle) and it can cause your mind to be overwhelmed and you pick the item on the menu that stands out the most – the triple topped parma with crispy fries chilli mayo and no salad of course. The speed of these places doesn’t allow you to make rational thoughts, as well as encourages you to eat quickly to, be distracted by your phone as it may be to load to even talk and therefore not process, well, anything.
Movies – Well first things first, if your at the cinema the easy avoidance of leaving eating the equivalent of a dinner meal in popcorn is easy, don’t buy it. Buy your tickets online in fact then you can buy pass the candy bar all together! but what about at home? Movie night, with the friends etc can call for meal in front of the TV (we talked about this) as well as snacks and popcorn at hand. First things first, have then at arms reach away, so you HAVE to get up to eat some, perhaps even put a blanket over you sot he idea of getting up then having to get comfortable again is to much hassle. But did you know its the type of movie that can also encourage us to eat more? A tear jerker goes without saying and it’s reasons why. The surprising one is that action movies, in depth and thoughtful are actually also a culprit for movie food intakes. Why? Because they require your focus, your mind is not fully focused on what you are doing, therefore mindless eating can again set in and sometimes its the motion of hand in bowl, hand to mouth, chew, motion that is so mindlessly easy. My take home? I love to have a cup of tea in my hand while I watch a movie, it keeps that motion in play but with far less detriment, the other one; watch a comedy.
Health add on’s – How good is ice-cream, frozen yogurt, pancakes, what about cake? But does it get any better for you when you add nuts, seeds, grains, calorie free sauces, fruits and berries? No, not one bit. It just ups the calories, provides you with at least some good nutrients but the shit ones are still there! This is where you need to be careful in your dessert choices. Opt for the fruit with some ice-cream not ice-cream and some fruit, or make mini pancakes and have 6 so your brain still thinks it’s eating 6 anyway. Food pages, blogs and photos can be deceiving as well. Those fitness pages you love where they eat an entire stack of pancakes for breakfast EVERY day? You know they have the diameter of a match box? It’s all portion control and if you can’t control it, its the ‘smaller bowl’ trick again, or portion up your food as soon as your home from the supermarket!
The specials board – I love this one, they always sound the best and they use such great descriptive words; caramelized, tender, juicy, farm fresh, grain fed, succulent, moist, creamy, buttery goodness! Why wouldn’t you want one of those? In fact order me the special entree, main and dessert! It’s easy to get greedy eyes when you go out for dinner, especially on an empty stomach after a big day! I was only speaking with a work friend the other day and I try to have a protein shake or small handful of nuts before I go out so I am not famished and make a bad move. I even Google the menu sometimes before I go to make a thoughtful decision in what I will have. Try saying what your ordering out loud straight away, that way people will question you if you change your mind, making you rethink. Another idea is not to indulge everywhere. Opt for a reasonable entree/main if you want dessert, and have a fresh salad with grilled protein for entree if you want that delicious crispy pork belly for main. Just think about it and be aware!
Basically all these suggestions are about preparation, knowing where and when you might slip up, and we all do. I got of a flight the other night at 10:30, hadn’t had dinner, still had to collect luggage, find accommodation and get up early for the next flight.. those three bars of chocolate I brought home with me? I ate them on the taxi to the airport, after a dinner of wedges and nachos… I should have just got everything sorted, been mentally organized and things may have been different but no changing that now, the nachos were delicious 😉