Mindless eating can easily lead to overeating. In an experiment, people at a movie theater were served fresh or stale popcorn in different size containers. When they were served stale popcorn in a large container, they ate 61 percent more popcorn than they did when it was in a smaller container while watching the movie and underestimated the amount they ate. The larger the portion size, the less able we are to estimate how many calories we’re eating! Everything that surounds us supports mindless eating such as ads on TV to fast food to favorable unhealthy foods on supermarket shelves. All of these cues make it difficult to find what our bodies truly need to ingest.
We are so caught up in our fast paced society, we are always thinking of the next thing that needs to be done. If we drink a cup of tea, we seem to focus more on the worries and anxieties of the day rather than on living in the moment and enjoying our tea; If we sit with someone we love and instead of focusing on the person and the moment you have with them, we’re distracted by other thoughts in our heads; We walk but are more focused on reviewing the talking points for the next appointment rather than the moment we’re having as we walk. We’re usually somewhere else thinking about the past or the future rather than now.
Where you live and work can have important implications for whether you can eat well and stay active. When healthy choices are not available in the workplace or neighborhood, it makes it harder for us to not eat well. Also, if neighborhoods aren’t safe enough to walk, jog, or ride a bike on it prevents us from being active. As you start to clear your mind of distractions you can start to work on ways around barriers that are keeping you from exercising or eating healthfully. To be successful, it’s very important for you to believe that you can achieve a healthy weight. Believe in yourself that losing weight is possible and that you can do it. It’s not as easy as popping a pill and watching the pounds melt away but it’s a journey worth taking… love yourself and don’t judge yourself harshly, you should be losing weight for yourself, not to please anyone else.
Source: Nhá̂t, Hạnh. Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. New York: HarperOne, 2010. Print.