Mindless Eating – Ph.D. Brian Wansink
Interesting Information, Sustenance

Mindless Eating – Ph.D. Brian Wansink

When you eat, do you eat because you’re hungry or because you’re

– thirsty
– watching something on TV
– reading a book/newspaper/magazine
– out on a date and you’re nervous
– passing that vending machine on the way to your desk
– with friends at a dinner party
– stimulated by the candlelit atmosphere around you
– reminded of a meal due to a particular smell???

All of these reasons, plus many, many more are explored in this book.

Mindless Eating Cover

“Mindless Eating : Why we eat more than we think” is a very interesting read which helped open my eyes to the many bad habits that cue us to eat – when we’re not actually hungry! Did you know we make around 200 decisions a day about eating? Whether it’s deciding what to have for breakfast, if we’ve heard an advert on the radio, seen a billboard, or seen someone walking across the street with a coffee in their hands – these external and internal cues all make us think about food on some kind of level.

Most of the time we eat because we enjoy it. Wansink points out this is why “diets” fail as when people change their diet for weight loss they take away the food they REALLY love, the “comfort” food, leading to abandoning the diet – solution?

Don’t take that food away – but of course decrease the intake OR find a healthy alternative which i’m guaranteed you will find in this day and age.

Visual cues such as your table being cleared at a buffet or the size of your plate in proportion to how much food is on it can mean the difference in overheating or not. We also eat more when there’s more variety which makes fast food places such a dangerous place. Not only do the Golden Arches offer burgers and fries but you’ve also got coffee, cake, cookies and ice cream – all stimulating your sight and smell to eat them – solution?

Choose from the healthier options available or simply leave earlier before you get a chance to eat.

Research proves the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”

A new trend in Australia is to bulk buy. Now we have membership shopping available where it’s even easier to bulk buy. We think we’re getting a bargain but it is more dangerous for our health as the more food we see the more we’re inclined to eat because we want to get our money’s worth. After all we see things as good value the bigger the volume. Then if the food goes off because we’re sick of it we trash it leaving us literally throwing that value into the bin. – solution?

Shop with a list, shop when you’re not hungry and stick to the perimeter of the supermarket (fresh food sections).

Wansink has an idea called the Mindless Margin where if you pause (consciously or mindfully) to think about what you’re eating, use techniques to convince yourself you’ve eaten more or making healthy food easier to access you’ll be able to mindfully change old habits to mindlessly eat your way back to health. After all, cutting out that ONE chocolate bar and ONE can of soft drink a day = about 200+160 Calories less per day. Multiply this by 7 days, then 4 weeks and you have a loss of 10,080 Calories a month. Enough to be able to make physically noticeable weight losses!!!

There are many more of these “Re-Engineering Strategies” to be found within the book that can help you re-think the reasons you reach for food.

I know I’ll be going back to this book after my studies to ensure I can find ways that best suit clients to make positive changes occur. In the meantime, if I’ve sparked your curiosity, read Mindless Eating and you too can learn how to mindlessly eat your way back to health.


Mindless Eating – Ph.D. Brian Wansink, Random House Publishing Group, 2006
Mindless Eating Cover Page – Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.penguin.com.au/

I'm currently studying a Bachelor in Health Science - Nutritional Medicine with a background in dance and fitness. I believe sharing knowledge is the key. I hope my love for food, fitness and well-being along with my studies helps you in finding something useful. Enjoy!

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