Mindless Eating – a semi-book review

A friend recently recommended the book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” by Brian Wansink to me. As my university library had it, and at that the branch right across from the building I work in, I figured it was a sign that I should take a look at it.
This book is an easy read. I picked it up Tue morning and finished yesterday shortly after getting home from campus (it helps that we didn’t have internet access for those few days either). The authors basic premise is that the very marketing strategies that companies use to get us to eat more are some of the same techniques we can use to help us eat less. In that sense, he advocates that if you make small changes you can eat 100-200 less calories a day, what he calls the mindless margin, and not notice it. The end result is that you slowly lose weight.
I really suggest reading the book, or at least skimming it. These are SOME of the basic ideas he suggests (and this is my paraphrasing and interpretation, others I’m sure will take away different ideas from this book):
-Dish out 20% less food overall
-Eat 20% more fruits and veggies
-Don’t feel you have to ‘clean your plate’
-Eat until you are no longer hungry (NOT don’t stop until you’re full)
-Drink out of tall thin glasses, not short stubby ones
-Dish out what you want to eat, preferably into/onto small dishes/plates/bowls
-Put food (especially snacks) away
-No eating in front of the computer
-Eat fruits and veggies FIRST
-Don’t deprive yourself
-1/2 plate rule = 1/2 the plate should be veggies/salad
-Drink ice water
-Do I really want to eat this? Am I actually hungry?
-Use smaller plates/bowls

By doing *some* of these things you can cut 100-200 calories a day and not feel it, as he argues our bodies don’t really notice a lack of so few calories in the sense of how hungry we are, but it does help in how much weight be gain or lose. Basically it’s the idea that small changes make a difference over time.

The last thing he suggest is the Power of Three. Pick three things that you think you can easily do (ie, mindlessly) and try them for a month. And keep track of it.
So here are my three for the next month:
1. No eating at the computer
2. Eat fruits and veggies first, then the rest of my meal (or snack)
3. # servings of ice cream = # times I walk up the stairs in the building I work in (ie, if I do it 20 times in the next month, then I can have 20 servings of ice cream)

On Sept 20th, expect to see an update about this. And we’ll see if it makes a difference in my weight.

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