How to Avoid Overeating – Harvard

Some 60 percent of us are overweight, 30 percent actually obese and another 10 percent suffers from Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition. The problem is that we are eating badly and not exercising enough, clearly overeating constitutes a major problem for us.

So the issue of Harvard Medical School’s Health Bulletin on “Controlling what – and how much – we eat” seems particularly useful.

Here is what they have to say on overeating, “One expert on nutrition and behavior change has developed a number of behavioral techniques for reducing ingestion of unhealthy calories. Brian Wansink, a Cornell professor and author of Mindless Eating, has identified five situations where people are particularly at risk for ingesting large quantities. He has called them “meal stuffing,” “snack grazing,” “restaurant indulging,” “party binge-ing,” and “desktop or dashboard dining.”

“To reduce meal stuffing, Wansink suggests using a smaller plate, and serving the meal from the stove, not from the dining table. “Our research shows you eat 22 percent less on a 10-inch than on a 12-inch plate.”

To reduce snack grazing, keep the snacks at least six feet away from your desk or from wherever you are sitting. The distance forces you to think before you grab another bite, and Wansink’s research shows that it can translate into a 125-calorie reduction in your daily energy intake (every little bit helps See our blog item on Creeping Weight Gain.)

The same distancing advice applies to party bingeing. You should also put no more than two items on your plate on any trip to the snack table and start with the bulky, low-calorie stuff — the raw vegetables.
“Wansink also advises people not to try more than a couple of his techniques at one time.

“We find that if people can maintain changes for a couple of months, they will then make a second, or third, or fourth change,” he says.

To read further on Snacking, check out my Page – Snacking, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.


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Filed under overeating, Snacking

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