You will probably recognise yourself in several of these situations.
Read along and learn some simple yet logical advice on eating sensibly and thoughtfully.
Trap # 1 – You forget to notice:
Your stomach is not able to decide for itself whether you have had enough food or not, so it is up to you to focus on the meal and to stop and notice when you are full. A lot of eating takes place without you thinking about it, and therefore you quickly forget to listen to your body.
This often happens because there is something else at stake in the meal itself than just the eating, for example, a social situation or that you are in a hurry. Then it may well happen that you do not notice when you are full, and then you will eat too much.
You feel you are about to perish from hunger as you sit down to eat dinner and end up just shovelling the food in. Shortly after, you feel so full that you feel uncomfortable. But how did and why did that just happen? And more importantly, how do you avoid it in the future?
From the time the food enters the mouth until you experience a feeling of satiety, it actually takes about 10 minutes.
This means that if you eat just a little fast, you can manage to eat quite a lot of food in the 10 minutes. It’s about making a habit that makes you physically unable to eat as fast.
You do this by, for example, eating with a teaspoon for a while or putting a knife and fork away from you between each bite.
Then you will be able to register your satiety to a greater extent as it occurs, instead of with a delay. The delayed feeling of satiety can lead to satiety, because you only stop eating when you experience the feeling of actual satiety.
Trap # 2 – We enjoy food
In addition to the most obvious reason to eat – hunger – food is often the centre of most social gatherings. “The meal often has some function. It’s rarely just about getting full. We have all sorts of expectations for each other, ourselves and for the meals, depending on what the theme of the event is.
If a birthday is celebrated, you are expected to eat a piece of the birthday cake. If you meet up with colleagues on Friday for an “afterwork-beer”, it would be weird to say no to beer.
You are going to a family dinner, and you know that, as always, there will be more than enough food on the table. And delicious food too. Yummy! You usually end up sitting at the dining table eating the food for a few hours, as it is cozy. However, you also know that you often end up eating far more than you actually needed.
Eating together greatly affects our eating habits, and it can both lead to you eating more or less depending on the situation.
It is the relaxed and cozy atmosphere of the company of family and friends that often invites to eat and drink larger quantities. If you want to try to eat less for dinner, make a decision about it BEFORE sitting with the fork in hand.
The solution is to plan in advance how much food you want to eat, for example, that you will only take one serving. Then you do not have to think about it along during the rest of the dinner.
Trap # 3 – TV and a cozy sofa tricks you
Another situation where coziness is at the centre and you can easily be tricked into eating more is when you sit on the couch, wanting to have a cozy time with a hot beverage and a great tv-series.
Research shows over and over again that if you eat in front of the television, you pay less attention to what you put in your mouth. If you sit in front of the TV with a bag of sweets or a bag of chips, you will most often eat from it until it is completely empty, whether it is a bag of 30 grams or 300 grams. Many will have unknowingly made a decision to eat what is in the bag.
If you want to avoid the sofa trap, then you must also make wise choices here even before you sit down. Pour the candy/chips/popcorns into a bowl and break off a few pieces of chocolate in the kitchen instead of taking the whole bag in front of the TV.
Trap # 4 – “ Size Matters” – The portions cheat
All research shows that the larger the portion, the more you eat or drink. If you have drunk half a litre of cola, you will rarely go out and take one more bottle when the first one is emptied. You usually think: “Now that I’ve drunk my coke, I should have no more”. You do the same if you have a can where there is less in it.
The dinner is ready, and you sit hungry at the table. The plate is being filled up with food. After a short time, you actually feel full, but since there is more food on the plate, you end up eating it all.
“Size matters”. If the soup bowl you eat from is larger, there is a tendency for you to eat more. This, of course, also applies to the size of the dinner and lunch plate as well as the size of the glass you drink from.
Larger servings equate to larger portions, and the larger portion you take, the more you tend to eat. Therefore, grab the smallest bowl in the cupboard or the smallest plate in the canteen, and instead take several small servings if you were not satiated by the first portion.
Trap # 5 – Candy shelves are temptations
You are hungry, buying groceries. Finally, at the till ready to pay, but have to queue, oh, oh. And there it is, the smart shop owners know their marketing.. Shelves full of temptations. Chocolates, muffins, candy and chips.
First of all, try to keep your head cool when shopping. Make a list from home, and try to be self-disciplined enough to only buy what’s written on it.
And never go shopping on an empty stomach where your blood sugar is low.
That create more cravings. There is a reason why the grocery stores always put the candy, chocolate and chips near the exit 😉 It’s very tempting to add some extras while you are queuing to pay ie.
And don’t get lured with ‘extra much’ in the chip bag or advantageous co-packs. For example, you can buy both single Daim and double Daim – where there are two pieces in the same package. Psychologically, there is a big difference between opening a brand new package or just eating the other Daim in the double package.
Therefore, feel free to buy the smaller pack sizes, or make sure to put away what you are not going to eat right away.
Good luck, enjoy your food but be aware and use self-discipline 🙂