Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lucille Roberts: Six Psychologically-Based Eating Problems and How You Can Solve Them

As a weight-conscious society, millions of Americans continue to struggle with both overeating and obesity despite their efforts to cut back on calories and lose weight. According to recent studies, however, common problems such as overeating may reside not only in our stomachs, but also deep within our psyche. Researchers on the topic now believe that external signals and cues, as well as poor subconscious eating habits, may add more inches to your waistline than actual physical hunger. Below is a list of solutions to six of the most common psychological eating problems.

Problem #1- Big packages and servings, as well as super-sized meals, train our brains into thinking big portions are normal.

Solution - Cut your portions, eating about a fifth less than you normally would at each meal. This will help you eat less without feeling hungry or deprived. Also, use smaller plates and bowls that discourage overeating.

Problem #2 - Eating in front of the TV encourages snacking, a failure to concentrate on quantities and eating for too long – this is a triple overeating threat.

Solution – Eat at the dinner table and avoid eating in front of the TV, while on the computer or while reading at all costs.

Problem #3 - An underestimated food intake is one of the main causes of overeating and obesity. Normal people underestimate their intake on average by 20% while obese people underestimate by up to 40%.

Solution – Consciously decide how much food you are going to eat before starting a meal. Start a food journal also, as this will help you keep track of your daily caloric intake. Many fast food restaurants now post calorie and fat information so that you can be informed when eating out and make a healthier choice.

Problem #4 - Supermarket deals such as “buy two, get one free” encourage overeating. We typically buy 30-100% more reduced price foods (and eat them, too).

Solution – Avoid keeping supermarket foods stockpiled in your cupboards. Keep snack foods out of sight and out of mind, storing them on top pantry shelves and in the back of your refrigerator.

Problem #5 - Our desire for food diversity encourages overeating in restaurants, often causing us to order more food than we should be eating.

Solution – Avoid ordering an over-sized or multiple course meal when dining out. Instead, make healthier food choices such as an entrĂ©e and a side salad.

Problem #6 - Restaurants and fast food chains that serve healthy-sounding products create a false sense of security, often causing us to overeat because we believe these foods can do no wrong.

Solution – Consumers generally consume up to 50% more when eating low-fat products than they would if the products were not low-fat. They also amplify the health benefits of these types of foods, often taking in more calories than they think. Even with low-fat foods, however, be sure to keep track of how much you are eating – the calories add up fast!

1 comment:

  1. I hardly eat at restaurants. I tend to think that's the recession's taking its toll but hey I have benefited from eating home made meals. I have to maintain my weight, that's below 60kgs and i believe this along with daily exercises has help me.

    I think eating habits work hand in hand with ones life style. for instance people in my country believe going to a Sauna reduces weight. It probably does but right after the sauna, they 'dig' into a large plates of pork and alcohol. This goes on daily. You can later hear them complain about their weight gain.