Sunday, January 20, 2013

6 Steps to Lose weight

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Finishing off a whole pack of chips while engrossed in an interesting show is the perfect example of mindless eating. Distracted by watching TV or a movie, we mindlessly fill our mouths, short-circuiting our fullness signals. We keep on eating unaware of the huge amounts we're putting away. In my opinion this is an oft-overlooked cause of obesity.

(It also illustrates the danger of modern-day snacks- they taste soooo delicious and slip down so effortlessly with their perfect bite-sized morsels and tempting flavours. But that's another story.)

The modern food supply encourages a grazing mentality via fast food drive-ins, vending machines full of snacky-junk food and confectionery counters at every retail outlet. What's more it actually encourages us to eat while doing other tasks.

"Multi-tasking" has long been a business buzz word but is often just a euphemism for eating while doing other things. Whether it's popcorn at the cinema, desktop dining while you work, dashboard dining as you drive or dinner in front of the TV, it all leads us to eat more than we need.

Dr Brian Wansink, author of the book "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" (Bantam Books 2006), says most of us overeat because we are distracted or are surrounded by junk food served in large portion sizes. We eat as if it's our mission to finish everything!

In one famous experiment, Wansink and his researchers offered a free bucket of popcorn to moviegoers in return for answering a few (dummy) questions about the movie once it was over. Half the moviegoers got a medium-size bucket weighing 120g or 4.2 oz, while the other half were given the large-size, bigger-than-your-head, bucket weighing 235g or 8.4oz.

Weighing the leftovers in the buckets after the movie, the researchers reported that the big-bucket group ate 53 per cent more popcorn (an average of 725 more kilojoules or 175 calories) while mindlessly munching. That's roughly the equivalent of 21 more dips into the bucket.

Wansink repeated the experiment with stale, 14 day-old, popcorn and got similar results. After the movie, the researchers asked the moviegoers to describe the popcorn and they weighed how much popcorn was left in the containers.

Even though they described the popcorn as "stale" and "terrible", moviegoers with the larger containers still ate 34 per cent more than those given the medium-sized containers.

Eating with awareness

To help yourself learn to eat with awareness, try these simple first steps to practice eating mindfully and prevent mindless consumption. Your goal is to be conscious of how you're eating and what your stomach registers. When you're in touch with what is going on inside, you'll know the exact moment you are physically satisfied rather than over full or stuffed. It's the best technique for weight control and works regardless of what sort of diet you're on. I follow these steps every day and highly recommend this way of eating!

1. Sit down to eat, even if it's only for a snack. Turn the TV or laptop off and don't read. Let the food be the sole centre of your attention.

2. Drink a full glass of water before each meal

3. Chew each mouthful thoughtfully paying attention to the flavours and textures - some health food advocates have suggested at least 30 times per mouthful *. Put your knife and fork down between bites.

4. If you know you're a fast eater, make a conscious effort to slow down and be the last one finished. 

5. Switch to a salad plate for your meals. This is an easy way to control portions

6. Eat slowly and make the meal last at least 20 minutes.

Making these changes can lead to weight loss ~ We hope they are helpful!

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